Justice40 Analysis Screening Tool

Is the Justice40 Screening Tool identifying the most disadvantaged communities?

The White House Justice40 Initiative aims to send 40% of dollars in federal infrastructure and environment programs to under-invested communities. But how do they measure that, how are those communities determined, and who is left out?

Generally, the federal definition of disadvantaged areas matched what we expected, but it left out some areas that were surprising.

To dive in further, CNT created our own national mapping tool, apps.cnt.org/justice40, that shows what’s in the federal definition, and what’s out, and tries to understand why. Using this tool, we found flaws in the federal definition’s construction that that lead to evident gaps: Census tracts that face significant climate, environmental, and economic challenges but are not identified in the tool as disadvantaged areas. A thorough breakdown of the methodological flaws in the definition can be found in CNT’s formal comments.

Justice40 Presentation at Chi Hack Night

Paul Esling and Preeti Shankar demonstrate how CNT's tool lets users test federal criteria on where to spend pollution-fighting funds nationwide at Chi Hack Night in July.

Watch the presentation here.

Further Analysis of the Justice40 Initiative

The Problems With the justice40 Screening Tool, and Some Ideas for How to Improve It

CEJST is a simple map, with big implications – and attention to cumulative burdens matters

CNT shared the web tool we developed for our analysis with our CBO partners and encouraged them to explore their communities and submit their comments to CEQ.

We also shared our methodology with Chi Hack Night in July 2023. In the Chi Hack night presentation, Shankar and Esling shared insights on the data sources and the federal process for defining which communities fit Justice40 criteria. They also discuss ways CNT has partnered with grassroots leaders in Chicago and other places to ensure the tool reflects grassroots’ concerns and needs.

Click here to learn more about CNT's broader engagement efforts with the Justice40 initiative and community-based organizations