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AmeriCorps Week – National Service as a Strategy for Climate Action

This week we’re celebrating AmeriCorps week, and for Farallon Strategies, this is a great time to recognize the amazing momentum around climate and service going on in this country. 

We, like many others, want to pause and recognize the commitment of the millions of Americans who have chosen to serve their country through AmeriCorps service.  We are proud to have and still support some of the 250,000 Americans each year who dedicate their time and passion to “getting things done” for our country. 

AmeriCorps is a particularly powerful tool for climate action and for bringing a divided people together.  Even though momentum in D.C. has stalled for launching the Civilian Climate Corps there’s still a lot going on that is demonstrating the power of service to tackle climate change. There’s many programs that have been working on this front for years from our friends at CivicSpark (now in their 8th year in California and currently expanding to Colorado and Washington, to Minnesota’s Greenest Region Corps, to the well established network of conservation corps who have been on the frontlines of climate action for decades. 

At the same time, this space is booming with innovation and creative ways for Americans’ to get involved in climate service. Not surprisingly, California has a lot going on. Under the #CaliforniansForAll banner, California Volunteers – the Governor’s service and volunteering arm – recently launched the #CaliforniansForAll Youth Jobs Corps and #CaliforniansForAll College Corps. These two programs are designed to offer meaningful service, career opportunities, and reduced college debt to thousands of Californians – including AB540 eligible Dreamers.  But before you shake your heads at dreamy lefty California, we want to be clear that while California may be going big, they are by no means going it alone. A number of states are fielding or expanding climate focused service programs and initiatives. Colorado is supporting a multipronged strategy to address climate change to advance the Governor’s climate goals. Maine just laid out a comprehensive Climate Corps strategy for their legislature. Pennsylvania is embarking on a new Delaware River Climate Corps, the region’s first climate resiliency program that would hire workers from underserved communities and train them in conservation and other green careers. Florida prioritized climate resilience in its latest solicitation for AmeriCorps programs. And this is just a sampling of recent activity, there are so many programs expanding or launching to tackle climate change through service all across the country. 

So climate service has clearly caught the public’s imagination and we’re seeing a ton of momentum across the country, but why is service like this so important to the climate movement?  

The work that these individuals accomplish, the connections they make, the relations they build over the coming years will help America today and help us embrace the future we have created and help us chart a course to a better future. Here at Farallon Strategies, we’re believers in this movement because we’ve had the profound pleasure over the last ten years of supporting the launch and growth of such programs across California and the country. We’ve seen what happens when you open the door and give people an opportunity to make a difference. We’ve seen the benefits for those individuals; the leadership, the professionalism, the growth, the connections they make with each other and with the communities they are serving. We’ve seen how it charts a course for their future that lasts for years. We’ve seen them accelerating their step into leadership positions in the public sector, in nonprofits, the private sector. All the while building a community of practice that understands the urgency and the opportunity before us.

At the same time, we’ve been blown away by the impact it has on the organizations they serve and their communities. Beyond the reports, plans, projects, and programs they build and implement, these individuals bring new energy, vitality, ideas, enthusiasm that also have ripple effects. Their service helps change the way these organizations think about and engage with their communities around climate. It also changes the way they think about the role that young people can play in the work that they’re doing. And it brings a vigor and vitality to this work that is sorely needed. 

So on this AmeriCorps week 2022, let’s celebrate all the amazing people and organizations tapping the power of service to address climate change, but let’s also set our sights on the future because there’s a lot of work to be done. 

There’s work to be done to help shape these programs so that they are effective, that they create real opportunity, that they really build leadership, that they are directing the people and resources to the communities that need them the most and bringing up that leadership from within those communities. What we really want from a Federal Civilian Climate Corps, or any local or state Corps program, is the lasting ripple effect as programs unlock and lift up opportunities from rural to urban communities, from red to blue states and all across the many important sectors like wildfire prevention, flood management, energy conservation, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and more. 

There’s a role to play for a Civilian Climate Corps in all of this but we need to have a plan. We need to bring a lot of people together to think creatively and inspirational about what this can be and then open the doors, turn on the lights, and get to work. 


For more on Farallon Strategies’ work on national service initiatives and fellowship programs, please contact Kif Scheuer at kif@farallonstrategies.com

Cover photo: CivicWell

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Farallon Strategies Selected to Run BayCAN in Partnership with Climate Resilient Communities

Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network (BayCAN) Announces New Team to Manage Network

Farallon Strategies and Climate Resilient Communities Partnership

(March 2, 2022)  The Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network (BayCAN, www.baycanadapt.org) has selected a new team to manage the network. BayCAN is a collaborative network of local government staff and partnering organizations working to help the Bay Area respond effectively and equitably to the impacts of climate change on human health, infrastructure and natural systems.

Farallon Strategies (www.farallonstrategies.com) and Climate Resilient Communities (www.climatercommunities.org) will continue BayCAN’s groundbreaking work in the Bay Area. They will succeed the team of Director Bruce Riordan and Project Manager Yeshe Salz, who have guided BayCAN’s development since its launch in 2018.

“We are thrilled to bring the Farallon and Climate Resilient Communities team on board to continue BayCAN’s good work and expand our programs as the adaptation enterprise advances,” said David Behar, chair of BayCAN’s Steering Committee and the Climate Program Director at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “They understand the value of collaboration, combine strong strategic thinking with skillful on-the-ground implementation, and have an excellent grasp of the content of this work. We believe they are an excellent team, ready to take BayCAN to new roles and to the next level.”

The Farallon Strategies team will be led by Michael McCormick and Carolyn Yvellez, both of whom have a long history supporting regional collaboration on climate adaptation and resilience. The team has worked with BayCAN from the inception of the network and in support of the broader Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation throughout its history of work across California. Climate Resilient Communities, led by Violet Wulf-Saena, will serve as an Equity Partner, advising on network strategy and co-managing BayCAN’s Equity Program. Since 2016 Climate Resilient Communities has been on the ground learning the specific needs of residents in diverse, under-resourced communities in the Bay Area. By building stronger alliances between residents, schools, local government programs and community-based organizations, their work augments Farallon Strategies expertise in local/regional climate policy, collaborative governance and engagement, and organizational leadership.

“Climate Resilient Communities is excited about the opportunity to partner with BayCAN and Farallon Strategies to actively work towards more equitable and resilient communities across the Bay Area,” said Violet Wulf Saena.

BayCAN’s four years of development has featured quarterly, all-region meetings and a series of targeted programs to connect Bay Area leaders to stakeholders across jurisdictions. BayCAN’s collaborative work has initiated the development of cross-agency and cross-jurisdictional partnerships and a community of practice amongst members who share best practices and coordinate regional approaches to equitable climate adaptation throughout the Bay Area. BayCAN projects include local government consultations, an active Equity Working Group and Equity Program, a county government peer-to-peer group, a pilot climate services project focused on extreme heat and storm vulnerabilities, and regular webinars exploring key topics of interest to members. BayCAN currently has 43 local government, non-profit and private sector members, who pay sliding scale dues to support the collaborative, including community-based organization members focused on equity, who are exempted from dues payments consistent with best practices in the field.

“The Farallon Strategies and Climate Resilient Communities team is deeply invested in the success of BayCAN and its ongoing evolution to support more equity focused climate adaptation and community resilience outcomes.” said Michael McCormick with Farallon Strategies. “Our team is honored to have been chosen to staff BayCAN and are excited to work with the network and potential partners towards a more resilient Bay Area.”

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A New Year at Farallon Strategies

The Farallon Strategies team is looking forward to the opportunities that 2022 presents, for both our firm and the state of the practice for climate change and resilience. In 2021, our firm grew from one to six staff, and continued to build on our community of collaborators and partners. We are excited about the potential of our strong partnerships to deliver community benefit projects across the United States, and for our team to collectively and intentionally create the workplace policies and procedures that will set us up for future success. 

Farallon Strategies was founded during the early months of the pandemic to create an alternative path for the creation of a democratically led climate focused private sector firm – to work in a new paradigm, one that mandates action in support of our communities in addition to creating balance in the lives of our team. The design of Farallon Strategies focuses on doing meaningful work, with fantastic clients, with the balance in our lives to address shifting priorities and commitments for our people during this pandemic and beyond. 

Thank you so much to our partners, collaborators, and clients for making 2021 the best first full year of operating we could have hoped for. We look forward to our continued partnership and collaboration in the new year. A number of new projects will launch this year that will continue to support innovation in the private and public sector. A few select projects we are currently working on in 2022 include:

California Resilience Partnership and Statewide Resilience Landscape Analysis

Farallon Strategies is excited to continue working with Resilient Cities Catalyst on program support and multiple projects related to the California Resilience Partnership (CRP). CRP is a public-philanthropic effort in coordination with a diverse set of organizations and stakeholders to support collaboration on statewide resilience priorities. In partnership with RCC, Farallon Strategies is leading an inclusive stakeholder engagement process across the state in order to improve State agencies’ and other grant-making institutions’ understanding of the opportunities to maximize the effectiveness of grants. This effort will result in recommendations on how best to distribute state funding to maximize resilience outcomes as well as recommendations for how communities can prepare to access state funding. 

America’s State Commissions

Farallon Strategies is coordinating a climate action working group for America’s State Commissions, the national association of state service commissions. Prompted by the emerging opportunity to develop climate corps across the United States, the team conducted a survey of climate service needs, built a library of climate service resources, and developed a framework for developing a climate corps. Taken together, these resources are designed to help the community of service commissions, and their constituent AmeriCorps program partners, more effectively and rapidly develop and deploy climate focused AmeriCorps programs in the coming years.

Farallon Strategies is continuing our strategic partnership with CivicWell to support the growth and evolution of their CivicSpark program in California, Colorado, and Washington State. In early 2022, the Farallon team is helping identify key partners for AmeriCorps member placements while also working with the CivicWell team on longer term strategies to strengthen the program and empower it’s capacity to meet the increasing demand for climate service activities across the United States. 

Volunteer Florida – Climate, Health, and Housing Programs

As an outgrowth of our late 2021 support for climate resilience service programming, Farallon Strategies will support the Florida Service Commission – Volunteer Florida – with further strategic engagement to help them lift up and activate service solutions in the public health and housing arenas. 

Strategic Growth Council’s BOOST Program 

Farallon Strategies is continuing our partnership with the California Strategic Growth Council, the Institute for Local Government, and other program partners in providing technical assistance that builds capacity to advance climate and equity goals of seven under-resourced cities across California through 2023. We are working with the project team to deliver work plans for each of the seven cities, and serve as advisors to the cities on new mandates on adaptation (SB 379) and environmental justice (SB 1000) compliance and plan integration.    

Santa Clara County Climate Resilience Strategy

Farallon Strategies is building on our partnership with BluePoint Planning to support the development of a Climate Resilience Strategy and a countywide climate collaborative for Santa Clara County. Farallon Strategies is focused on the development of the Collaborative and activating partners and stakeholders to maximize the impact and longevity of the project. Working closely with the County, we are supporting the development of a governance model that centers equity and ensures community based organizations have not only a voice, but influence, in decision making processes of the Collaborative.  

PG&E Climate Vulnerability Assessment Public Engagement Plan

In partnership with BluePoint Planning, our team is working to support the development and implementation of PG&E’s Public Engagement Plan to inform their climate vulnerability assessment. This work involves developing a framework and governance to support broad based outreach to engage disadvantaged communities throughout the Bay Area. Farallon Strategies is focused on the development of a sustained partnership model that features ongoing support of community based organizations to maximize the impact and longevity of community collaborations to support future engagement efforts in the Bay Area and beyond. 

Yolo County Climate Action Commission and Climate Action Plan

Farallon Strategies is working with Consero Strategies to support Yolo County in initiating their Climate Action Commission, including the recruitment of commissioners and the preparation of a governance charter. In addition, we are supporting the development and implementation of “early actions” that are no-regret actions that can be implemented in the near term and are grounded in existing policy and plans in order to demonstrate immediate impact to Yolo County communities most impacted by climate change and COVID-19. Farallon Strategies is also researching best practices to inform the development of a scope of work that will need to meet the County’s 2030 carbon neutrality goals. 

Our team is actively supporting a number of other initiatives that we’ll bring forward throughout the year as blogs and social media posts – please sign up below for our email list and follow us on LinkedIn to stay connected and hear about new projects and initiatives.

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California Strategic Growth Council and Institute for Local Government Announce Second Round of BOOST Program to Help Under-Resourced Communities Address Climate Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Download PDFs of this announcement (English / Español)


Sacramento – Today, the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) announced the recipients of 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. Through BOOST, SGC, ILG and the project team are partnering with seven cities and towns to provide tailored support with advancing climate action through Spring 2023. Selected jurisdictions vary in size, geography, and demographics and are selected based on their status as low-income or disadvantaged communities, limited local government staff capacity, and demonstrated desire to work on climate-related issues. The communities include the cities of Barstow, La Puente, Maywood, McFarland, Needles, Rialto, and South San Francisco.

These communities will receive capacity building support in the form of trainings, partnership development, community engagement planning and implementation support, grant application assistance, and communications assistance. Each BOOST community will work closely with SGC, ILG and the project team to create a workplan tailored to each community’s specific needs.

“The first round of BOOST supported local governments with the tools and resources necessary to advance their climate and equity goals, develop strong partnerships, and access new funding,” said Lynn von Koch-Liebert, Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council. “SGC is thrilled to be working with the Institute for Local Government to build on the pilot’s success and continue supporting California’s under-resourced communities through technical assistance and capacity building support.”

The 2021 BOOST Program is based on the BOOST Pilot Program which ran from 2019-2020 and 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 pilot connected the original BOOST Program participants to 59 grant opportunities and provided direct application assistance on 23 grants, leading to over $50 million in new funding. Funding provided included $43 million in California Climate Investments (CCI) and $6.6 million in Senate Bill 2/Local Early Action Plan (LEAP) grants to support planning, affordable housing, equitable transportation, and climate mitigation and resilience projects.

“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.”

Find out more about the BOOST Program at www.ca-ilg.org/BOOST.


About the BOOST Participants

City of Barstow: www.ca-ilg.org/Barstow

City of La Puente: www.ca-ilg.org/LaPuente

City of Maywood: www.ca-ilg.org/Maywood

City of McFarland: www.ca-ilg.org/McFarland

City of Needles: www.ca-ilg.org/Needles

City of Rialto: www.ca-ilg.org/Rialto

City of South San Francisco: www.ca-ilg.org/SouthSanFrancisco

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. www.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 sustainability and workforce, ILG helps local government 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, the 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. Their expertise is rooted in their diversity of experiences and passion for creating a better world.

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Welcome Kif Scheuer!

Kif Scheuer, PhD is a Strategy and Project Lead at Farallon Strategies, LLC. Kif is a solutions oriented environmental professional with over two decades of experience engaging local government and community stakeholders while catalyzing leadership and public service through creative program design, effective project implementation, deep relationship building, and compelling public advocacy and education. Drawing on an academic background in environmental psychology and building science, Kif has been fortunate to play an instrumental role in the launch, implementation, and growth of three national service programs, the California Adaptation Forum, and a statewide and national network of adaptation collaborators,  among other accomplishments. His depth of experience at the intersection of community and climate resilience and leadership development gives him a unique expertise in capacity building, stakeholder engagement, and strategy development. A long-time collaborator and thought partner of the Farallon Strategies team, Kif is excited for the opportunity to more directly extend the breadth and depth of the firm’s services and capacities. 

 

Prior to joining Farallon Strategies, Kif served as the Climate Action Corps Director with California Volunteers, a part of the Governor’s Office, where he led the startup of the first State funded climate service program. From 2013-2020, Kif served as a Director with the Local Government Commission where he spearheaded the launch and growth of the award-winning CivicSpark Fellowship, a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program. During his time at the Local Government Commission, Kif also directed the 2014, 16, and 18 California Adaptation Forums, and coordinated the Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation. Prior to the Local Government Commission, Kif worked at Strategic Energy Innovations, where he also led the launch and operation of a national service program – Climate Corps Bay Area while also directing a range of climate planning projects for local governments in California. Kif has contributed to the public dialogue on climate and resilience through conferences, publications, and advisory roles including California’s 4th climate assessment, the California Adaptation Forum, Drawdown Marin, American Planning Association California Chapter Annual Conference, New Partners for Smart Growth, and Voices for California Service.  We are so excited to have Kif on our team. Please reach out to him and connect on LinkedIn.