Welcome Annie Howley!

Farallon Strategies is excited to welcome Annie Howley to the team. Annie is a Graduate Project Associate at Farallon Strategies and is passionate about preserving natural resources, encouraging sustainable practices, and supply chain management. Annie has organized numerous electric utility and multi-level government stakeholder meetings and events, written and edited regulatory filings, and developed strong industry relationships across the country. Her experience as an energy markets consultant helping to build resilient, reliable, and efficient electricity grids is now helping clients of Farallon Strategies build climate change resilient communities and coalitions, policies, governance, and stakeholder engagement. Over the past six years, Annie has worked with an international consulting firm supporting electric utilities with their distribution system planning efforts to modernize the electric grid. Prior to that Annie was a key contributor for non-profits working to transform energy policy in California.

Annie is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in International Environmental Policy with Spanish from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. Annie’s Master’s specialization is in Sustainability Management and her focus is the conservation of tropical rainforests, primarily in Central and South America, through both voluntary industry action and collaborative government-private sector initiatives. Most recently, Annie supported the university in developing websites focused on social science research methods and analytical tools. In her spare time, Annie volunteers with the California Academy of Sciences, Big Sur Land Trust, and the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Services.


Welcome Christina Oraftik!

Christina Oraftik is the Project Associate at Farallon Strategies bringing a multidisciplinary background with experience in climate policy, wildfire resilience, and nature-based adaptation solutions both internationally and domestically. Having worked with several Indigenous communities, she has experience in incorporating traditional ecological knowledge frameworks and holistic environmental viewpoints. With skills in research, writing, communication, and a variety of analytical tools, she has experience in taking complex and technical information down to the essential key takeaways suited for a variety of audiences.

Christina started her environmental career at an NGO creating community-based conservation and infrastructure projects on islands throughout the world. Her work included managing a broad array of project types from microloan programs for women protecting mangroves in Sri Lanka to peat moss bog restoration in Ireland. She then returned to school to get her Masters of Arts in International Environmental Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. While pursuing her graduate degree, she was able to work on a variety of local projects and get rooted in California’s environmental policy world. This included projects such as a study on nature-based adaptation for transportation and wetlands, wildfire resilience building, and local environmental education. 

A naturalist at heart, Christina enjoys learning the names and characteristics of all the plants and animals around her. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, climbing, foraging edible and medicinal plants, and finding fun rocks.
We are so excited to have Christina join our team! Please reach out to her and connect on LinkedIn.

Welcome Christina!

Farallon Strategies partners with the Institute for Local Government and The Strategic Growth Council on the Boost Technical Assistance Program

Press Release: California Strategic Growth Council Announces Second Round of BOOST Program to Help Under-Resourced Communities Address Climate Change. This technical assistance program supports under-resourced cities and towns in building capacity, optimizing existing resources, strengthening community partnerships, and transforming their approach to address and fund climate activities.

Sacramento – Today, the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) released an application survey for the BOOST Program, a state-wide program tailored to help California cities and towns advance their climate action, resilience, and equity objectives. The program is administered through a partnership between SGC, the Institute for Local Government (ILG), Climate Resolve, California Coalition for Rural Housing, and Farallon Strategies.

This technical assistance program supports under-resourced cities and towns in building capacity, optimizing existing resources, strengthening community partnerships, and transforming their approach to address and fund climate activities. The 2021 BOOST Program is based on the BOOST Pilot Program which helped 10 cities and two regions build capacity to advance their climate and equity goals. The 18-month pilot was designed to provide flexible and responsive technical assistance to address the varying and evolving capacity challenges of local governments, while also sharing best practices and lessons learned to help inform state programs.

The BOOST Pilot Program proved to be a success in some of California’s under-resourced communities. In the Town of Mammoth Lakes, the BOOST Pilot Program enabled the town to secure a $20 million Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) as well as SB 2 and Local Early Action Plant (LEAP) grant funding to support the development of “The Parcel,” the town’s largest workforce housing project. The development will provide 400 affordable housing units on a 25-acre plot of land in the middle of town. In the City of Arcata, the BOOST Team helped secure more than $14.9 million dollars through five different grant programs to help bring infill affordable housing and critical infrastructure to the Arcata community. This includes one of the first Affordable Housing Sustainable Community (AHSC) grants awarded to a Native American tribe.

The Pilot connected the BOOST Program participants to 59 grant opportunities and provided direct application assistance on 23 grants, leading to over $50 million in new funding. This funding included $43 million in California Climate Investments (CCI) and $6.6 million in SB2/LEAP grants to support planning, affordable housing, equitable transportation, and climate mitigation and resilience projects.

For the upcoming round of the BOOST Program, SGC will select 5-7 disadvantaged and/or low-income communities to receive capacity building support in the form of trainings, partnership development, community engagement planning and implementation support, grant application assistance, and communications support. The application is open to all California cities and towns that are designated as low income and/or disadvantaged communities , with priority given to both rural and non-rural communities with demonstrated staff capacity challenges.

“The BOOST Pilot Program strengthened the ability of local governments to achieve climate and equity goals while providing access to new funding, developing innovative partnerships, and improving community engagement,” said Jessica Buendia, Acting Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council. “We are eager to work with the Institute for Local Government and their project partners to build on the Pilot’s success and witness how more of California’s communities benefit from BOOST’s refined programming.”

“The Institute for Local Government is excited to partner with SGC to continue the BOOST Program,” said Erica L. Manuel, CEO and Executive Director of the Institute for Local Government. “Through the initial BOOST Pilot Program, we helped under-resourced communities access nearly $50 million in state grant funding, create and update climate action and resilience plans, and authentically engage their communities on climate and equity initiatives. We are looking forward to building on what we learned to help even more communities reach their goals and build capacity.”

The application for the BOOST Program will be open until September 10, 2021. Finalists will be contacted for an interview before September 22, 2021. SGC aims to announce the selected communities on or before October 6, 2021. Access the application here.

SGC will host an informational webinar for this opportunity on August 17, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. PDT. The webinar will be recorded and posted to SGC’s YouTube page for those interested but unable to attend. Register here.

To find out more about the successes and lessons learned from the first round of the BOOST Program, visit the Institute for Local Government’s BOOST page.

Media Contact
California Strategic Growth Council:
Luis Jimenez, (916) 695-0049, luis.jimenez@sgc.ca.gov
Institute for Local Government:
Melissa Kuehne, (916) 764-0751, mkuehne@ca-ilg.org

About the California Strategic Growth Council
The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is a cabinet-level body chaired by the Director of the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research tasked with coordinating and working collaboratively with public agencies, communities, and stakeholders to achieve sustainability, equity, economic prosperity, and quality of life for all Californians with a focus on the state’s most disadvantaged communities. SGC implements its mission through four key activities: making investments in infrastructure and conservation programs; conducting outreach and providing technical assistance to support of communities seeking to access these investments; and leading and supporting integrated policy initiatives that align with SGC’s mission. Learn more at sgc.ca.gov.

About the Institute for Local Government
The Institute for Local Government (ILG) is the non-profit training and education affiliate of the League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, and the California Special Districts Association, which represent 1000s of local agencies across the state. ILG helps local officials and staff navigate the constantly changing landscape of their jobs by offering training, technical assistance, written resources, and facilitation services specifically designed for local agencies. From leadership to public engagement to housing and workforce, ILG helps local leaders with a wide range of issues. Visit www.ca-ilg.org to find out more.

About the California Coalition for Rural Housing
Formed in 1976, California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH) is a 501c3 non-profit and is the oldest statewide low-income housing coalition in the country. The CCRH brings 40 years of affordable housing and community development technical assistance, research, and program and policy development, in addition to a rich network of partners throughout the state and across the nation.

About Climate Resolve
Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based 501c3 tax-deductible non-profit organization founded in 2010 that focuses on local solutions to global climate change and works to achieve outcomes that bestow multiple benefits. Climate Resolve works to make California more equitable, just, livable, prosperous, and sustainable today and for generations to come by inspiring people at home, at work and in government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for climate impacts.

About Farallon Strategies
Farallon Strategies (FS) is a catalytic partner to communities and organizations that take bold actions to address climate change and resilience. FS collaborates with stakeholders across the United States to pilot, test, and/or scale initiatives. Our expertise is rooted in our diversity of experiences and passion for creating a better world.

Reimagining planning – the need to prioritize community led climate resilience initiatives

By Carolyn Yvellez and Michael McCormick

​The concept of resilience has gained popularity in the last year as we begin to recover from compounding crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and killing of many others at the hands of police, and the worst wildfire season on record in California. Resilience has historically been defined as the ability to return to normal after a singular disrupting event. However, in this day and age, resilience has taken a new form, and “normal” is harder to define. To effectively respond to these complex yet interrelated crises, this last year has made clear the need to fundamentally shift how we build the core capacity of our communities to respond to acute shocks and long term stress. It is in this context that Farallon Strategies was founded to support a transformation in our communities and regions needed to meet these challenges and leverage the moment to support true systems change. 

Of course, the practice of resilience is not new, especially for low-income communities of color who know no other way but to continuously adapt to hardships and barriers brought about by perpetrated discrimination and institutional racism. The climate adaptation and resilience field, however, is relatively new. It has occupied a niche, but burgeoning space within the urban planning field–planning being the de facto process through which statesregional collaboratives, and local governments opted to address climate impacts. But as it gains popularity and importance, it is worth reflecting on the history and evolution of the planning field, identifying its shortfalls, and ultimately reimagine what the practice of resilience should be moving forward to bring about the transformative change our communities need. 

Climate adaptation and resilience plans too often do not reflect or address the needs of frontline communities. Traditional planning processes often feature a top-down approach to community engagement. In many instances, draft plans are written by the time the community has an opportunity to engage and provide feedback. This challenging dynamic can be destructive to building trust in communities that have already experienced first hand the consequences of planning without community consent. It is time to support a paradigm shift around climate resilience planning to center community priorities by empowering frontline communities to not only participate in, but lead decision-making processes to support the transition from incremental progress to transformational change.

In order to facilitate this shift in climate resiliency planning, practitioners must first acknowledge, as many already already have, the discriminatory history of planning, and its contribution to many of the challenges communities face throughout California. The racist legacy of land dispossessing, redlining, and housing discimination has directly contributed to the heightened vulnerability of low income, communities of color to the impacts of climate change. Previously dispossessed communities face dire climate-warming impacts and redlined communities, to this day, have fewer trees and higher concentrations of impervious pavement (concrete/asphalt) compared to non-redlined communities. And yet, the practice of planning, quite ironically, has assumed the responsibility of (re)building resilient communities in the face of climate change. 

California has been at the forefront of policies designed to combat climate change. However, for some cities and counties, State legislation mandating planning for climate impacts has increased the burden on low-resource communities that still lack basic infrastructure and services, while local governments do not have staff capacity to navigate complex planning processes. Moreover, the push for plan integration has left many local governments scrambling to navigate a complex regulatory environment with ambiguous (and at times conflicting) guidance, resulting in the explosion of the for-profit consulting sector. Consultants, as a result, are tasked with developing not only tools and frameworks to support local planning, but also the plans themselves. The average general plan update cycle for a jurisdiction in California can cost several million dollars–an expense that is rooted in the lack of capacity for local governments to do the work in house, and exacerbating a cycle of outsourcing that leaves communities with a well-polished document, but little direction on how to implement policies and programs. And even more challenging is that jurisdictions doing it well (jurisdictions that have met and exceeded regulatory mandates around climate action and adaptation, and have allocated the funds to hire planning consultants) have not progressed to the implementation phase, often due to lack of governance structures or funding.

Given these realities, resilience practitioners need to categorically rethink the existing planning paradigm wherein cities outsource plan development to consulting firms with little awareness or accountability to the communities impacted by the plans. Equitable planning processes are only made equitable by meeting communities where they are, with timely and meaningful engagement by those with a stake in the plan and capacity to engage. In order to achieve the transformational change that yields resilient, empowered communities, we need to flip the paradigm. This change in approach could be facilitated by defunding the traditional “fee for service”, consultant-led model of delivering template based documents with a focus on statutory compliance and limited regard for community need. This shift would create capacity and provide funding for other levers of change, including community visioning and capacity-building where the consultant’s expertise is given as-needed to the community-led planning process. 

The responsibility of this paradigm shift does not fall solely on consultants. We recognize that planning consultants are typically required to respond to and execute a scope of work that is laid out in a request for proposals (RFP), typically written by local jurisdictions whose priority is to ensure regulatory compliance through standard practices. Firms that propose alternate scopes of work outside of what is specified in the RFP rarely win contracts, much less are invited to interview. This leads to hesitancy by consultants to support an evolution of standard practices, and the simultaneous reinforcement of standard practices that do not meet the needs of our communities. Local jurisdictions must also take responsibility for issuing RFPs with input from the community that reflect community needs and a commitment to an equitable and inclusive planning process. 

Many of our colleagues are locked into these inadequate practices and systems even though they see the change that needs to take place. Farallon Strategies was founded to address the systems change needed to serve our communities better, and bring resources and capacity to communities in support of the paradigm shift we need to build community resilience  in the face of overlapping and worsening shocks and stresses. Farallon Strategies is committed to advancing community-driven planning processes at the regional and local scale by supporting community based organizations and regional collaboratives with technical assistance and facilitation support in an as-needed capacity. We don’t just want to identify the issues facing our areas of practice, Farallon Strategies also supports disruption in standard RFP practices, and is working to support more innovative RFPs and technical assistance alternatives to traditional planning practices.

Farallon Strategies is supporting the Sustainable Economies Law Center in the development of The Oakland People’s Plan proposal for the City of Oakland’s General Plan. Their proposal seeks to turn the planning paradigm on its head. Instead of a planning firm subcontracting to community based organizations (CBOs), the CBOs would lead a truly community-driven planning process, and sub-contract out as necessary the required technical analysis in support of specific general plan elements required by the state. The Oakland People’s Plan (TOPP) offers Oakland an opportunity to center the community in Oakland’s General Plan development. TOPP has no agenda other than to allow the people of Oakland to plan. TOPP intends to make space for infinite possibilities for the General Plan, not control its content. TOPP has obtained informal commitments from planning firms that may become subcontractors, and community groups will determine planning firms’ involvement, not the other way around.

Farallon Strategies, in partnership with Consero Solutions, is also supporting implementation of Yolo County’s Climate Emergency Resolution, which sets an ambitious goal of carbon negative by 2030. We are helping to lift voices into the process and build capacity in the County and community to respond to this potentially transformative effort to stand up a diverse community focused climate action commission, develop and implement an updated climate action plan, and create a more resilient community. We see our role as facilitators and capacity builders supporting partnerships between community leaders, local government, and technical experts helping to plan and implement climate initiatives and solutions that address community needs and priorities. We are serving as an extension of the County team by assisting with the recruitment and hiring of critical staff, bringing forward AmeriCorps CivicSpark members to build capacity to move quickly, supporting the development of an advisory commission, and providing guidance to support inclusive decision-making processes.

In the status quo, private firms are doing the work that responds to standard engagement practices.  In many instances, private firms are serving clients who view responsiveness to request for proposals, statutory compliance, and legal defensibility as the primary drivers of the work, and not community accountability and outcomes of the planning process as the driver. An equity-driven approach to building resilience to climate impacts should seek to dismantle structures that reinforce the status quo planning service delivery methods, which are failing to address the needs in our communities. 

As we reimagine the future of resilience planning, we should think of planning consultants as capacity builders within the resilience movement, not as the resilience movement itself. Consulting firms, as organizations that support technical assistance, capacity-building, and facilitation between the community and local jurisdictions should be a partner in a community-driven resilience movement. There are obviously exceptions to this critique of our industry, but as the resilience community of practice comes of age we must not repeat the planning mistakes of the past. We must consider, not just what seems to be the most technically efficient solution to community challenges, and rather ask the question, in partnership with the communities we serve: “What modes of planning and governance do we want in our communities and how do we expedite implementation and reorient budgets to reflect the urgency of the climate crisis?” There are no easy answers to this question and we also must recognize that equity readiness varies across organizations. Thus this post should not be read as a prescription on the “right” way to plan, but as an invitation to join us and the others working to evolve our practice, and think about what other possibilities exist that empower communities to chart their own future.


Investing in regional resilience

By Michael McCormick

​California is facing a number of worsening impacts of climate change now and into the future. LGC, a Farallon Strategies partner, produced a sign-on letter (below), mirrored by #FaraStrat’s own letter (also below), to support a robust investment in this work in this historic budget. The effort is compatible with a number of other priorities reflected in other comment letters coming from other organizations – some of these and other budget priorities are reflected in LGC’s blog post <here>. ​

​See the LGC letter <here> – and consider signing on via the following link. 

Please sign on to this letter <here>.
​Also see Farallon Strategies’ resilience budget letter as an example of a more personalized letter. Feel free to borrow any content for any of these letters for your organization’s comments.


The state of local climate action planning

By Michael McCormick and Carolyn Yvellez

​The context, opportunity, and need around local climate action is changing. But is local climate planning keeping up? Farallon Strategies staff collaborated with a group of practitioners, convened by City Scale, to answer this question.

The State of U.S. Local Climate Action Planning is a collective statement based on the reflections of a group of climate practitioners that worked, over a series of conversations in 2019, to identify the state of local climate action planning, and how the field can improve to meet aggressive GHG reduction targets while providing community benefit. We found that local climate action planning had reached an inflection point, and progress has become stagnant. In order to achieve the rapid transformational GHG reductions needed, the field must identify lessons learned from the last decade and move beyond traditional climate action planning processes to prioritizing implementation.The work ahead does not live with a single organization or small group of people: we hope these observations support reflection, spark dialogue, and fuel an appetite to work in new direction with new partners. 

This statement was drafted in fall 2019—prior to the emergence of COVID-19, prior to the renewed reckoning with structural racism following the murder of George Floyd, prior to the deeply unequal economic impacts of the pandemic, and prior to the 2020 elections and their aftermath that laid bare the fragility of democratic norms. Personal and community priorities have shifted, a new federal administration is vigorously linking climate change with economic justice, municipal and state budgets are upended, and the global geopolitical order is evolving rapidly.

This is a moment to re-assess, consider where we have been as local climate practitioners, what we have learned, and how we might proceed in the new circumstances ahead. Over the last 18 months, we have heard increasing awareness and discussion around many of the observations outlined in our statement, but even with how much our world has changed in the past 18 months nearly all of our observations remain relevant. 

“The local climate action movement has plateaued…We believe that the next generation of local climate action must be a collective effort, centered around people and values, and focused on opportunities for dramatic systems change.” – The State of U.S. Local Climate Action Planning

In the spirit of collective learning, we share this statement as an expression of the state of the local government climate field in 2019, acknowledging that 2020 brought its own set of unique challenges that will further influence the climate action field moving forward.   

Thank you to City Scale for convening this group of thoughtful and collaborative climate professionals, to the contributors below, and to the vast number of perspectives we brought in through engagement of our networks on this issue since 2019.

​Contributors to this statement include:

  • Michael Armstrong, City Scale
  • Derik Broekhoff, Stockholm Environment Institute
  • Katherine Gajewski, City Scale
  • Miya Kitahara, StopWaste
  • ​Michael McCormick, Farallon Strategies
  • Sarah McKinstry-Wu, Urban Sustainability Directors Network
  • Ariella Maron, City Scale
  • Hoi-Fei Mok, PhD, climate equity specialist
  • Tracy Morgenstern, Urban Sustainability Directors Network
  • Michael Steinhoff, Kim Lundgren Associates
  • Brian Swett, formerly City of Boston

Check out the full report here:  The State of Local Climate Planning

Thoughts from Greenlining Institute’s Annual Summit

Farallon Strategies is thankful to have attended Greenlining’s 28th Annual Economic Summit focused on Meeting the Moment and #Momentum21 to support the work of the California Resilience Partnership. We will continue to bring these important concepts in our work in creating transformational change and advancing equity in work on climate and resilience.

We need to Decarbonize, Democratize, and Decolonize our energy system. -Antonio Diaz

The status quo had nothing going for it, but still some people feel the status quo is all they have. -Angela Glover Blackwell

We should never go back to the status quo that existed before we began to build the new world. -Angela Glover Blackwell

We just want healthy places to live in, good jobs, and respect and dignity. The status quo makes those things look radical. – Michael Tubbs

What’s radical is the notion that white supremacy is a false ideology. – Michael Tubbs

We must move through allyship to ownership. – Angela Glover Blackwell
Transformative solidarity is the creation of a beloved community. – Michael Tubbs

Other takeaways: 

We need rapid and radical decarbonization to meet the challenge of climate change. But decarbonization at all cost is problematic without putting justice at the center. 

Networks and collaboration are essential for trust. Without trust, you don’t get community participation or buy-in to the technologies that need to be widely adopted.

The real urgency of the climate crisis needs to be in achieving justice.

Building resilience is building community power. 

Thank you @Greenlining for inspiring us to imagine communities we want to build together and @CitiesCatalyst and @HiltonFound for the support to attend and participate in this critical discussion. #FaraStrat @farastrat @mmccormickcc


Earth Day must be every day…

Today, April 22, 2021, is Earth Day, a perfect opportunity to celebrate all that we are provided by our planet and remember how we must work every day to protect this “pale blue dot.” For a small mission-driven organization like Farallon Strategies, we work to integrate our values into everything we do with partners, clients, and communities that share our vision for a vibrant future and meaningful life. As an organization, we are focused on transformative change: decarbonization, regional resilience, governance, and through it all – a focus on getting work done on the ground. In our own lives we want to live our company values, and likewise. We built values that bring us together and allow us to connect more deeply to our organization and our work. Importantly, Farallon Strategies recognizes that our commitment to environmental stewardship is rooted in our privilege–not only the privilege of education– understanding how our behaviors affect the Earth and others–but also in our financial ability to act on that knowledge. To bring about the transformational change needed to respond to the climate crisis, Farallon Strategies works to empower communities and individuals, through an environmental justice and social equity lens, and to support long term investments in the capacity and resources needed for us all to rise in standard of living while supporting  a just and resilient future on our Earth. 

Sustainability and resilience

The fight against climate change is more pressing this Earth Day than ever. Farallon Strategies is committed to maintaining its net zero carbon operation. Founded amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Farallon Strategies embraces telework to create a carbon-neutral work environment. Farallon Strategies remote offices are powered by the sun, with materials and supplies all following our strict procurement rules – prioritizing low/no carbon 100% recycled materials, and eliminating the use of disposable materials and office supplies wherever possible. We try not to travel, but when we must we prioritize walking/biking, personal transportation, transit, and then, if we must, driving electric vehicles. Air travel is only for critical situations, as it is one of the largest contributors to emissions for consultants, and one of the hardest to mitigate. As an organization pursuing B-Corp Pending status, we are also tracking our progress and holding ourselves accountable for our actions and commitments. Longer term we strive to be carbon negative – creating an operational and staff environment where we are reducing emissions from our activities vs contributing to the global problem of climate change.

As our organization grows, we commit to maintaining carbon neutrality and striving to go carbon negative longer term. We also commit to pushing for changes in our industry to create more efficient ways of doing things, including telework and remote meetings.  It matters more what we do than what we say, however institutionalized use of fossil fuels makes it difficult for average Americans to transition to a low carbon way of living. Expectations for travel to work events, family events, and vacations make travel one of the most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions for a typical traveler’s annual emissions. Farallon Strategies is committed to supporting the change needed in how society operates to become more efficient and resilient.

Our team is located in areas that allow for greater efficiency (Davis and San Diego) and the communities in which we live and work support sustainability and resilience as part of their culture. Because of commitments at the local, regional, and State level, our commitments are buttressed and supported by other levels of governance. How might our work support all communities in the same way? How might we work together across the landscape of private, public, NGO, and across society to support deeper ambition and stronger implementation? The urgency to act now to address immediate and long term needs drove the reason for the company – we must all work together to hold each other accountable and push for actions that are not just status quo incrementalism, but transformative.

On a more personal note, Farallon Strategies was created with future generations in mind. The founder’s daughter, Farallon, is an avid outdoor enthusiast, bug hunter, and gardener. She loves being outside and creating unique spaces and objects from found materials. Farallon Strategies was named after her so that the mission driven reason for its existence can never be forgotten. 

Farallon Strategies seeks partners and collaborators to create and support the transformative change necessary to support the change we need. Please reach out to Michael McCormick, Founder and President or Carolyn Yvellez, Founding Associate, to check in and identify ways we can work together moving forward. #FaraStrat

Welcome Carolyn Yvellez!

​Joining Farallon Strategies in February 2021 as a Founding Associate, Carolyn Yvellez brings a deep understanding of how climate change and resilience goals and policies are implemented on the ground. She brings advanced analytical proficiency, passion, and knowledge of climate and environmental justice issues to help communities make informed planning decisions and arrive at solutions that promote equity and resilience. 

Carolyn has worked with the team at Farallon Strategies and partners actively over the past few years in other capacities, and developed a focus on helping communities, non-governmental organizations, and government work together more effectively. Carolyn has extensive experience assessing potential climate impacts on people, structures, and natural systems – and developing strategies and tactics to address those impacts. In prior roles, she conducted over 20 climate vulnerability assessments, and wrote and prepared several climate action and adaptation plans, local hazard mitigation plans, general plan safety elements, and environmental justice elements. 

Carolyn works with jurisdictions to develop and pursue policies that promote climate resilience through community-building initiatives including community gardening, community-owned energy, and community land trusts, among others that result in a more sustainable, regenerative economy. 

In her free time, Carolyn enjoys camping, tending to her garden and three chickens, and making pottery. 

Welcome Carolyn!

Launch of the California Resilience Partnership

Farallon Strategies is proud to be part of the California Resilience Partnership (CRP), launched by Resilient Cities Catalyst (RCC) on February 22, 2021. CRP is a multimillion-dollar public-philanthropic effort in coordination with a diverse set of organizations and stakeholders, along with participation by representatives of California State Agencies, to support collaboration on statewide priorities. California’s regions are tackling unprecedented, urgent, and compounding resilience challenges, linked by common drivers including climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, and economic forces. This new, multi-sector model, expanding statewide from pilot work in Los Angeles and San Diego, will develop new partnerships to advance high-impact projects that tackle California’s complex resilience challenges across several regions in the state. 

This new model is designed to attract philanthropic and other funders for high-impact resilience projects. CRP aims to secure at least $30 million from public, private, and philanthropic sources over the next five years to help scale to regions across the state. To date, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has committed nearly $3 million in grant support for the CRP and complementary projects, along with additional support from Alumbra Innovations FoundationThe San Diego Foundation, and Builders Initiative. In addition, a project emerging from CRP pilot work recently secured funding from the California Ocean Protection Council. New and existing grant funding for CRP includes:

  • Hilton Foundation: $1.85 million in total support to RCC to date, including a new gift of $1 million that builds upon prior support.
  • The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC): up to $600,000 grant award secured through Proposition 68 funding, enabling RCC, working with the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative (SDRCC) and the Local Government Commission, to lead a regional coastal resilience strategic planning process. 
  • Alumbra Innovations Foundation and The San Diego Foundation: $180,000 in grants for SDRCC and RCC for the San Diego Region Coastal Exchange, held in the lead-up to the launch of the CRP. The Exchange virtually convened global experts along with key leaders in the region representing diverse community stakeholders. A key output of this collaboration, and example of the kind of resilience project CRP is designed to develop, is the San Diego Future Fund, which aims to address financing obstacles to critical resilience infrastructure. 
  • Builders Initiative: $100,000 planning grant to RCC to support ongoing research, stakeholder engagement, and design for the San Diego Future Fund, as it moves to launch a new innovative financing model for the region while bringing on new financial supporters. 

The Hilton Foundation also made a $500,000 award to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) for efforts that will complement the CRP program. Specifically, this funding will support OPR’s coordinated effort with other State agencies and offices to work with communities recovering from last year’s wildfires while fostering long-term preparedness for future risks, especially for communities most vulnerable to climate impacts. 

An additional complementary $350,000 grant from the Hilton Foundation to The Nature Conservancy will support pilot development for a Resilience Park prototype to protect communities from future wildfires by acting as a buffer while promoting conservation and increasing access to open space. 

In addition to these philanthropic partners, other CRP programmatic and advisory partners include Climate Resolve, the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, the Institute for Local Government, the Local Government Commission, the Greenlining Institute, and the Nonprofit Institute.

“After the Woolsey Fire devastated our local community in 2018, we engaged with local resilience-building efforts; the challenges of this past year serve as a stark reminder of how urgent this work continues to be,” shared Marc Holley, Vice President of Strategy and Programs at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “The California Resilience Partnership is the next step forward in advancing a bold effort to establish the state as a leader in the resilience movement, and making continued progress so we are better prepared to serve our communities in uncertain times will require increased collaboration and intentional effort across a range of stakeholders.”

“Efforts like the California Resilience Partnership model public-private-philanthropic partnerships, which are essential to moving communities in California towards a more resilient and equitable future,” said Nuin-Tara Key, Deputy Director for Climate Resilience and Chair of the Technical Advisory Council for the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.
The CRP is geared toward generating the most relevant and highest impact initiatives and projects and will be advised by an Advisory Board representing leading climate, community, and resilience experts from across the state, including:

  • Rachel Couch, Chair, Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA)
  • Dr. Zachary Green, Professor of Practice and Director of Leadership Development, The Nonprofit Institute; Director, RISE Urban Leadership Fellows
  • Erica L. Manuel, CEO and Executive Director, Institute for Local Government
  • Kate Meis Wright, Executive Director, Local Government Commission
  • Sona Mohnot, Senior Program Manager & Policy Analyst, Environmental Equity, The Greenlining Institute
  • Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director, Climate Resolve
  • Dr. Emily Young, Executive Director, The Nonprofit Institute, University of San Diego

Ex officio member:

  • Robert Miyashiro, Program Officer, International Programs, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

State liaison:

  • Nuin-Tara Key, Deputy Director for Climate Resilience and Chair of the Technical Advisory Council for the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research 

In the coming years, CRP will expand to new regions to support local NGO and government partners in project development and advancing equity, offering technical assistance, crowding in global best practices, and fostering collaborative knowledge exchange among resilience practitioners across California and the globe. Through RCC’s leadership, CRP will: 

  • Create a pipeline of shovel-ready resilience projects to tackle the multi-faceted threats facing California regions, including COVID-19, climate change, and racial injustice. 
  • Build stronger partnerships across government, philanthropy, and local communities, to better engage communities in decision making, particularly historically marginalized communities. 
  • Establish new and strengthen existing capacity for regional planning across the state, with work already underway in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Ventura Counties, with a goal of scaling statewide in the years to come.
CRP partners

“We are excited to launch the CRP today, a flagship initiative at RCC that builds on our past work at 100 Resilient Cities and the Rebuild by Design process in New York City,” said Sam Carter, Founding Principal at Resilient Cities Catalyst. “Rooted in our experience working alongside Los Angeles and San Diego communities on climate resilience projects, we see the potential to scale our city and regional experiences in California and elsewhere to a statewide approach.”

​The CRP builds on pilot projects in the Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego regions from 2019 and 2020. Collaboration among RCC, Climate Resolve, Farallon Strategies, and SDRCC, among other local partners, yielded new approaches and projects to build resilience in the face of stresses like housing affordability, racism, and economic inequity, as well as mounting risks, posed to Californians, such as wildfire and coastal erosion. 

“The California Resilience Partnership will help Los Angeles-area communities prepare for climate change by providing time-tested tools and ideas garnered from lessons learned across the globe,” said Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director of Climate Resolve. “Our relationship has already borne fruit. Our research effort, Lessons from the Woolsey Fire, supported by Resilient Cities Catalyst and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, suggests exciting new policy ideas and initiatives for California.”

“Local communities across the state are already experiencing adverse impacts of a changing climate, including more frequent coastal flooding, extreme heat, and wildfires,” said Dr. Emily Young, Executive Director of The Nonprofit Institute at the University of San Diego and Founding Advisor to SDRCC. “We are excited to participate in the California Resilience Partnership, to mobilize new funding and catalyze innovative projects that work with nature to reduce our region’s vulnerability to the most harmful impacts of climate change.”

Ultimately, CRP aims to amplify and further connect the diverse ecosystem of actors across sectors in California to increase investments in a pipeline of high-impact resilience projects that address multiple complex risks. This unprecedented and complex time requires a comprehensive approach and collaboration across multiple sectors and at different scales. Nonetheless, disruptive moments can create unique and generational

opportunities for positive change. Together, these entities will build a more resilient California, and build scalable lessons for communities across the U.S. and around the world.

About Resilient Cities Catalyst
Resilient Cities Catalyst (RCC) is a nonprofit comprised of urban practitioners and resilience experts with deep experience working in cities and regions around the world. RCC joins with cities and regions worldwide to help them better leverage the experience, resources, and energies of their leaders, managers, communities, companies, and urbanists to realize their collective visions. Founded by executives from 100 Resilient Cities, RCC’s work is anchored in the knowledge gained in the development of the resilience movement. For more info, please visit: www.rcc.city.

About the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
International hotelier Conrad N. Hilton established the grantmaking foundation that bears his name in 1944 to help people living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage worldwide. Today, the work continues, concentrating on efforts to improve early childhood development outcomes, support older youth as they transition from foster care, ensure opportunity youth can access career pathways, prevent homelessness, identify solutions to safe-water access, help integrate refugees into society and lift the work of Catholic sisters. Additionally, following selection by an independent, international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to an organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. The Foundation is one of the world’s largest, with assets recently growing to approximately $7.5 billion. It has awarded grants to date totaling more than $2 billion, $207 million worldwide in 2020. Please visit www.hiltonfoundation.org for more information.

About Farallon Strategies
Farallon Strategies (FS) supports the transformative change needed in organizations, communities, and regions to address the impacts of climate change, and to take the proactive actions required to reduce these impacts. From community resilience to carbon neutrality – big goals require strong actions to ensure success. FS supports the entire process – from vision to implementation – to help communities and organizations achieve their goals. FS clients and partners are public agencies, consulting firms, collaboratives, and non-profit organizations working towards the common goal of a better tomorrow. FS works with people across a broad range of organizations to ensure the best team for each initiative. Please visit www.farallonstrategies.com for more information.