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Climate Civics

 

Tacoma Climate Leadership Cohort

 

Program Overview

Tacoma Climate StrikeJoin the next generation of Tacoma climate justice leaders in this first-ever cohort!


Inspired by community input and the 2030 Tacoma Climate Action Plan, cohort members will engage with community organizations, City staff, and elected officials, and take climate action! Made up of frontline community members*, cohort members will learn about local climate change impacts, emissions sources, and solutions as well as civic engagement strategies and tools to navigate local public decision-making processes. The program is meant to foster relationships, support individual development, and connect community issues, services, and efforts.

*Frontline community members include those that have been historically underrepresented, underserved, or made vulnerable, including to the first and worst climate impacts. Individuals' backgrounds may include:

  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)
  •  Speak English as a second language 
  • Living with a low household income  
  • Ages 16-26 
  • LGBTQIA+  
  • Living with three or more generations in one home 
  • Living with more than one family in one home 
  • Living with a disability 
  • Immigrant  
  • Experiencing homelessness  
  • Completed formal education up to a high school/GED level 
  • Other 

Curriculum*

  • Introduction to the City of Tacoma
  • Tacoma  climate change impacts, emissions sources, and solutions
  • Sustainable and equitable community transportation
  • Housing Justice, including affordability, supply, choice, health, community identity, and climate
  • Civic action, including strategies, tools, and planning
  • Other

*Subject to change

Participation Requirements

Active participation ensures a meaningful and impactful experience for each individual and the cohort. For that reason, cohort members are held to a strict attendance policy. Prepare for and expect to participate in the full program schedule:

  • 1 Open House to learn more about the program

  • 1 weekend retreat

  • 12-15 hours of participation and trainings

  • Preparation "homework" between training sessions

  • 1-2 hands-on service activities

  • 1 project demonstrating skills and knowledge learned

  • 1 graduation ceremony

A schedule of activities will be distributed to selected cohort members.

 

Cohort Member Qualifications & Expectations:

We are looking for cohort members who are willing to:   

  • Be strongly connected to the Tacoma-Pierce County community  
  • Prepare for and complete all assignments and activities  
  • Demonstrate a partnership- and community-building mindset, with examples of leadership and community service or a strong commitment to future service 
  • Engage respectfully and constructively with others  
  • Embrace an anti-racist approach to community problem solving 
  • Be eager to learn about local community issues and civic engagement strategies 
  • Reflect on and share their own perspectives, purpose, strengths, and growth areas 
  • Be action-oriented, working to improve our community 
  • Network with fellow cohort members and community organizations 
  • Communicate with Tacoma Tree Foundation about any questions about the program 
  • Accept the idea of “non-closure,” including that learning about complex topics like climate change, social justice, and civic engagement is a lifelong experience and will not be completed in a short training series 
  • Build new relationships and have fun! 

Cost to Participate

While many leadership training programs charge participants hundreds of dollars, the City wishes to prioritize accessibility to participation in this program. Cohort members are responsible to complete all requirements and contribute to their community through the knowledge and training they receive. This program is meant to develop and equip emerging community leaders to serve Tacoma and better the lives of their neighbors by engaging with important community issues and decisions.

 

To reduce barriers and costs to participate, cohort members are offered a stipend upon completion of their responsibilities.

Staff Contact

Lowell Wyse, lowell@tacomatreefoundation.org, (253) 800-9363

Luis Zepeda, lzchavez@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 213-2443

  

Frequently Asked Questions

What community priorities and engagement/planning processes guide this program?

The 2020-2021 update to Tacoma’s climate action plan embodies input from over 1,000 community members, the collective knowledge of City and local organization staff, and community priorities embedded in established plans and policies, some of which are listed below. Contributors to the 2030 Tacoma Climate Action Plan include individuals, community groups, nonprofit organizations, other local governments, and businesses.

 

What is meant by “frontline” communities and community members?

Frontline community members include those that have been historically underrepresented, underserved, or made vulnerable, including to the first and worst climate impacts. Frontline community members may have one or more of the following backgrounds:

  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)  
  • Speak English as a second language 
  • Living with a low household income  
  • Ages 16-26 
  • LGBTQIA+  
  • Living with three or more generations in one home 
  • Living with more than one family in one home 
  • Living with a disability 
  • Immigrant  
  • Experiencing homelessness  
  • Completed formal education up to a high school/GED level 
  • Other 

Who is eligible to participate in the cohort?

You are eligible to apply and participate if you demonstrate yourself to be a member of the Tacoma community as well as a frontline community member (see description above).

How is the curriculum developed?

Content will be based on community input during and beyond the climate action planning process between 2020-2021, the latest facts and science, the expertise of program partners, and the input and interests of cohort members. Planned curriculum is subject to change:

  • Introduction to the City of Tacoma
  • Tacoma climate change impacts, emissions sources, and solutions
  • Sustainable and equitable community transportation
  • Housing justice, including affordability, supply, choice, health, community identity, and climate
  •  Civic action, including strategies, tools, and planning 
  • Other

What if I am unexpectedly unable to make it to one or more of the cohort’s activities?

Emergencies and other demands that require our attention happen. With good reason, one absence from a training or other cohort activity may be excused where other make-up work is completed satisfactorily. Active participation by all members ensures a meaningful and impactful experience for each individual and the cohort as a whole. For that reason, cohort members are held to a strict attendance policy. Applicants to the cohort should plan for full participation when they apply.

Will materials be available in languages other than English?

The City of Tacoma will provide translation and interpretation services as needed to deliver oral and written materials equitably.

What benefits or other support is offered to cohort members?

Cohort coordinators will work together to offer support for members to participate.

 

In addition, coordinators are prepared to provide:

  • Translation/interpretation services
  • Food to support activities
  • 1-1 and small group support as needed
  • Connections to mentorship and other learning opportunities 

What COVID-19 pandemic health safety guidelines and requirements must be followed?

This pilot program will follow state and local health regulations and be mindful of other safety
guidelines. Updated resources for information include:

Who else is involved in piloting this program? What are their roles and responsibilities?

Grantee: the applicant to this program grant is responsible to develop and then coordinate all major
activities with the City of Tacoma Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability; coordinate training 
and demonstration project implementation with support from partners or speakers; and educate, train, 
and support cohort members as outlined throughout this document

Cohort members:
are community members who are selected through a competitive application process to participate in program trainings, networking, and demonstration projects; they are responsible to complete homework, attend trainings, participate in graduation, participate in possible hands-on learning or service projects, and plan, implement, and report on their demonstration projects

Training partners or speakers: are organizational staff or community members who are responsible to 
join pre-training preparation meeting (networking), coordinate by phone and email, prepare 
presentation and participation, deliver presentation and participate in training, and follow-up with 
participants and the grantee; they may support cohort member demonstration project planning and 
implementation

City of Tacoma Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability:
City staff are responsible to 
coordinate program planning and implementation with the grantee, including all major activities, such 
as activity and timeline planning; participant (partner, speaker, and cohort member) recruitment; 
curriculum, agenda, and material development; communication, collaboration, and networking; 
training; budget management; program tracking, evaluation, and reporting; and other administrative 
activities.

How can selected cohort members give their feedback to guide how training is implemented?

Cohort members will be given regular opportunities for feedback, at times anonymously, to inform training content, practices, and partnerships as well as demonstration project work. Cohort members should understand the shared program planning role of the Coordinator and the Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability in delivering their feedback. Cohort members are encouraged to approach staff they prefer to engage with to deliver their feedback, whether in a virtual setting or not. In addition, the Cohort can organize feedback or requests as a group.