California Launches “Partners Advancing Climate Equity” to Aid Underserved Communities


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Program Helps Frontline Communities  Build Capacity to Address Climate Crisis

Twenty-two leaders representing diverse California communities will spend 2021 as part of the inaugural cohort of the California Strategic Growth Council’s Partners Advancing Climate Equity Program, designed to help communities most impacted by climate change mount an effective, community-driven response. The program was spurred by legislation cosponsored by The Greenlining Institute.

Frontline communities, including low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous peoples, tribal nations and immigrant communities, suffer first and worst from climate impacts. These communities typically have the least capacity or resources necessary to advance local climate action. PACE addresses the need to invest in local leadership and bottoms-up community development, supporting communities to identify their own needs and visions, develop partnerships, build skills, access capacity building and technical assistance resources, develop projects for grant funding and more.

“Greenlining is thrilled to see the PACE program as an outcome of SB 1072, a law we worked hard to pass and a critical step in the right direction of investing directly in community capacity,” said Greenlining Environmental Equity Senior Program Manager Emi Wang. “Too often the communities hit first and worst by climate change have been least able to mount an effective response or even tap into state funding, because they just haven’t had the resources to do it. PACE gives these frontline communities a fair chance.”

Partners Advancing Climate Equity aims to address this gap by building the capacity and technical assistance infrastructure needed in California’s most impacted communities. It will help fill the need for increased training, resources and capacity to strengthen cross-sector partnerships, create data-driven community needs assessments and navigate complex state funding programs, policies and decision-making processes. Administered by SGC, Partners Advancing Climate Equity aims to increase the capacity of local leaders from across California to advance community-driven, equitable climate solutions at the pace and scale demanded by climate change and ongoing racial,social, and environmental inequity.

Partners Advancing Climate Equity program emerged out of SB 1072, 2018 legislation authored by Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and cosponsored by The Greenlining Institute and the Trust for Public Land. SB 1072 sought to level the playing field so that our most under-resourced communities can effectively pursue local climate action.

The Partners Advancing Climate Equity program consists of two phases: a peer-to-peer learning cohort and place-based technical assistance to support local capacity building around community-identified initiatives. SGC is offering the program in partnership with the Local Government Commission, Climate Resolve, Urban Permaculture Institute, The Greenlining Institute, and Movement Strategy Center. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice Grant enables SGC to provide participants with up to $8,000 to support their participation in the program.

The members of the inaugural cohort will work on an array of issues at the intersection of climate and equity, including affordable housing, air quality, youth and resident empowerment, water and wildfire resilience, and urban greening. The cohort primarily comprises individuals working in partnership with broad coalitions or at nonprofit organizations that prioritize and uplift resident-led initiatives.

Recognizing the variety of challenges faced by frontline communities throughout California, the Partners Advancing Climate Equity team prioritized regional diversity within the inaugural cohort. Its members represent coastal and inland Southern California, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast, the Sacramento region, the Bay Area, and throughout the North Coast and Sierras. In addition, five members of the PACE cohort represent Tribal governments or indigenous-serving organizations.

The program curriculum advances four primary objectives:

  • Leveraging available resources to advance local climate resilience and social equity priorities;
  • Forming and sustaining cross-sector partnerships that enhance collective impact;
  • Creating data-driven, community-led needs assessments and action plans; and
  • Navigating state funding programs, policies, and resources

During their participation in the program, members of the cohort will develop community-informed needs assessments with a focus on tangible strategies to build long-term capacity with partners.

Follow this link to learn more about the Partners Advancing Climate Equity program and meet the 22 members of the cohort.

To learn more about The Greenlining Institute, visit


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