How We Work

As the only national philanthropic initiative focused solely on coal community transition, the Just Transition Fund is uniquely positioned to serve as a hub to build, connect, and sustain the transition movement. Based on our experience in the field, we’ve discovered that communities need both investment and technical assistance to advance transition efforts. To help, the Fund awards grants and provides direct transition planning and support, and creates and curates resources for the field as well as holding convenings.


The Just Transition Fund:

Awards grants

The Fund provides a variety of grants to support community-based organizations working on innovative projects in response to the changing coal economy.

Offers technical assistance

In priority places, we help local leaders launch community-driven planning processes and engage all affected stakeholders, especially those who have been historically marginalized. Read more on our technical assistance pages.

Sponsors activities that strengthen the coal community transition field

We hold a national convening for our grantees and partners every other year, with regional and issue briefings in the “off” years. We’ve also developed a Transition Blueprint for coal communities, providing case studies and resources for local leaders. The Fund also sponsors learning tours and exchanges.


Through our technical assistance we:

Provide direct planning support to affected communities.

In key communities, we help community leaders launch community-driven planning processes and engage all affected stakeholders, especially those who have been historically marginalized.

Hold regional and issue-specific convenings.

We hold a national convening for our grantees and partners every other year, with regional and issue briefings in the “off” years. During these events, we highlight the best practices, model programs, and innovative solutions that have emerged in different parts of the country, enabling leaders to learn from each other and more quickly move toward success.

Featured Learning Tour: Heinrich Boll Foundation, 2017

In November 2016, the Just Transition Fund and ten grantees and partners traveled to Germany for a week-long tour, sponsored by the Heinrich Boll Foundation, to learn from German coal communities in transition. In addition to visiting different regions and touring communities at various stages of transition, attendees met with labor leaders, elected officials, nonprofit organizations, and policy experts. Just Transition Fund attendees represented organizations engaged in transition across the United States, including Appalachia, the Great Lakes, and the Powder River Basin.

Perhaps the single most useful thing about the tour was witnessing the transition away from coal—complete with varying concepts, models, successes, and failures—actually playing out in coal communities in Germany.” –Tour attendee

We were able to bring back the experience, knowledge, and the pictures from this tour and share them with leaders working on the ground…” –Tour attendee