Eastern Environmental Law Center


50 Park Place
Suite 1025
Newark, NJ 07102
County: Essex


Mr. Aaron Kleinbaum, Esq.

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

General operating support to provide essential legal services to New Jersey?s environmental sector to address environmental justice, climate change/clean energy, land use, and water quality issues.

Organization Background

EELC is New Jersey's sole public interest environmental law center founded in 1993 to support Rutgers Law School's Environmental Law Clinic. In 2008, EELC became an independent nonprofit law center working on behalf of organizations and community groups to resolve environmental challenges threatening natural resources and communities. EELC provides essential legal services and advocacy at no or low cost to over 35 local, state and national nonprofit organizations including: Greater Newark Conservancy, Raritan Headwaters Association, Environment NJ, Ironbound Community Corporation, Environmental Defense Fund, Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, NJ Conservation Foundation, NJ Environmental Justice Alliance, NJ Highlands Coalition, Save Barnegat Bay, American Littoral Society, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, and Sierra Club.

Recently, EELC has focused on two strategic areas--Clean Energy and Environmental Justice--to optimize resources and maximize impact. EELC's focus is in alignment with NJ's most pressing environmental issues--including those that disproportionately impact New Jersey's most vulnerable residents and the communities in which they live. The center's work focused on developing sustainable energy resources and protecting sensitive and overburdened communities in NJ, specifically concentrating on: 1) developing innovative legal theories to lessen dependency on non-renewable fuel infrastructure projects and slow climate change, and 2) supporting environmental justice communities in the Newark area in their fight for environmental equity, sustainable development and resiliency.

In August, EELC experienced Executive Director leadership transition with the retirement of Hilary Semel. With the full support of the board and without missing a beat, Aaron Kleinbaum, EELC's former Legal Director, was hired as her successor. Aaron has been with EELC for over 4 years, has strong relationships with board members, partners and many funders, and has extensive environmental law experience. Under his leadership, EELC will retain its focus on Clean Energy and Environmental Justice. EELC seeks strengthen the capacity of the center through the development of its leadership, addition of a full-time attorney and a sustained focus on communications, development and the diversification of funding. The stabilization of the Clean Energy and Environmental Justice programs will enable EELC to capitalize on its successes and strengthen its other strategic initiatives: Land Use, Conservation/Open Space and Water Quality programming to protect critical areas.

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