Justice 50

Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels

Justice50 adapts the federal Justice40 program to the need in Ithaca. In both, the level of investment in certain communities is based on financial requirements and historic injustice.


The City failed to establish Justice 50 Implementation Guidelines in 2023 despite a draft being completed and presented to the Sustainability and Climate Justice Commission in September 2023. The guidelines will determine how the City will ensure that 50% of IGND investment is directed to Climate Justice Communities. This work is critical to the overall success of the Ithaca Green New Deal and must be addressed immediately. This may continue to be challenging. The new City leadership structure may necessitate a budget restructure. We are concerned that three of the four elements of the Community section of the Scorecard are now Stalled (Justice50, Democratic Engagement, and Workforce Development). 

Climate Justice Community Definition


Climate Justice (CJ) means that all people should receive fair treatment and equitable benefits from environmental protections. Because benefits have not been equally and fairly distributed in the past, a transformative effort is now necessary to prioritize populations that are and have been historically marginalized. As a first step, the City will need to define the criteria that identify a Climate Justice Community or family. 

What criteria are we using to measure progress?
  • By May 2022: The City will create, and adhere to, detailed definitions of Climate Justice Communities in the implementation and disbursement of investments under the IGND.
  • Ongoing: In addition to the federal and New York State recommendations for defining CJ communities, the IGND definition will consider median income, home ownership, financial inclusion and unemployment benefits.

Justice 50 Implementation Guidelines


Under Justice 50, the City has committed to address the historical marginalization of Climate Justice communities. The City recognizes that actions taken as part of the IGND in Climate Justice Communities (e.g. retrofitting buildings) will require more than double the expense necessary in other parts of the community. In response, the City will allocate at least 50 percent of the overall climate and clean energy investments made under the IGND to Climate Justice communities. 

What criteria are we using to measure progress?
  • Ongoing: The City has committed to direct a minimum of 50% of IGND funds invested to Climate Justice communities.
  • By August 2022: The City will determine a methodology to ensure all IGND programs and tasks apply the lens of Climate Justice, distribute benefits accordingly and, establish a tracking mechanism
  • By August 2022: The City will determine standards for contractors and subcontractors to apply Climate Justice to the work they do on behalf of the IGND.