Let's Talk About Heat Challenge

Funding Agency:
Environmental Protection Agency

Extreme heat, when temperatures are much hotter than average over consecutive days, is an increasing problem for all parts of the United States. Steadily increasing temperatures due to climate change are intensifying already higher temperatures in heat island areas, where buildings, roads, and other infrastructure absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes. Warmer temperatures in heat island areas can also lead to increases in air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, including higher concentrations of ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter. Ozone can also be transported long distances by wind, so even rural areas can experience high ozone levels. Extreme heat is affecting rural, suburban, and urban areas now and will continue into the future.  

Communities need help developing clear messages about the risks of extreme heat and actions people can take to stay safe and build cooler communities for the long-term. Extreme heat is linked to an increased risk of illness and death and has disproportionate impacts on people who are underserved and overburdened. People of color and people with lower incomes often live in neighborhoods with fewer trees and less greenery, which makes these areas hotter than wealthier areas of the same city. Similarly, many underserved and overburdened people in both rural and urban communities are working outside for hours at a time, increasing their exposure to heat stressors.

To help address this need, EPA and co-sponsors have launched the Let's Talk About Heat Challenge, a national competition to identify innovative and effective communication strategies that inform people of the risks of extreme heat and offer ways to keep safe during the hottest days. The challenge was developed in support of the National Climate Task Force's Extreme Heat Interagency Working Group, which is being led by EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with support from the White House.

Winning solutions will include identification of and engagement with people known to be most susceptible to extreme heat risks, including but not limited to underserved and overburdened communities. Winners will share suitable messages, strategies used to reach target audiences with those messages, and proposed measures of effectiveness. Communication methods might include social media, billboards, graphics, public service announcements and other forms of communication. The challenge sponsors hope to identify ways to monitor the effectiveness of these heat risk campaigns and messages and share the best practices with communities across the nation. 

Submissions Due: July 22, 2022

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

EPA is seeking participants from communities of any size and including all 50 states, U.S. territories, and Tribal communities. Eligible participants include state, regional, Tribal, and local governments, as well as nonprofits and community-based organizations such as faith-based, environmental, public health, or environmental justice organizations that have developed effective communication strategies. Individuals and groups are also eligible to participate. Submissions will be accepted in any language, not just English. 

Amount Description

The challenge will award up to 10 prizes from a total prize pool of $120,000.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

July 22, 2022