Climate Corps Task Force

Agenda Climate Corps Task Force
•    Introductions and Agenda Check    
•    Result of AmeriCorps Spring Competitions (in the climate/environmental portfolio):

The following are AmeriCorps programs in the climate space, these programs are not funded by Climate Corps, but they could be eligible to join the Climate Corps Network. 

NEW Planning Grant: A Climate to Thrive was funded to develop a program that will support communities participating in their Local Leads the Way network. Fellows will build capacity in communities for climate and energy action. 9 months to a year to write program. Supporting other communities and building capacity – small towns often need just one member, not a full team. Rural Maine in this target service area. Local leads the way – open to whole state. Beyond GPCOG service area and Island Institute service area, the rest of Maine is in need of this support. Planning grantees work with Mike Ashmore through the year. Four staff currently in the organization. The organization is very action oriented – for example has program to weatherize homes, also engaged in local advocacy for changing policy. Grant award is for approximately $40,000– they are recruiting for a staff person to conduct planning.

NEW Operational Grant: Downeast Community Partners will expand upon their current Climate Corps grant with an AmeriCorps program focused on weatherization, home repair, and energy education. Current Climate Corps grantee (that is only pilot funding for 1 year). Members will start service first week of July – have some of 4 recruited. They also are grantees of the Governor’s Energy Office Clean Energy Partnership. They have hired a volunteer manager – current point person for this program. In-house staff will deliver training and supervise members. 

Concurrently, DCP will start an AmeriCorps program for a similar but different project. Weatherize homes and energy ed outreach and home repair projects – partner with Seacoast Mission on this area. Home repair makes them eligible for energy efficiency. Will recruit in September. $80K in General Budget for Climate Corps will be rolled into DownEast CAP energy program to support staffing.

GPCOG’s Resilience Corps was funded competitively for another 3 years. Twelve members will support Greater Portland municipalities and their climate resilience projects. Projects driven by the host sites needs – such as serving under the sustainability coordinator of town, doing communications, or coordinating climate action committee. Performance measures are about building capacity not around specific energy measurements. 

National Direct Projects: Campus Compact (National) is building on Maine Energy AmeriCorps Program model and expanding to 3 regions, including Maine. Members will assist residents with weatherization/retrofit/energy efficiency as well as conduct education in community. This will include WindowDresser builds in Maine. Completely independent from Volunteer Maine. Training and assistance is available to all national directs in Maine. Members are invited to Maine conferences so they aren’t isolated.

National Direct: Connection Corps is recruiting several Fellows to support broadband and digital inclusion in Maine. Lead for America. Have 3 host sites: Island Institute, Midcoast Council of Governments, Hancock County Planning Commission. Pay about $30K stipend annually. 
National Direct Planning: American Society of Adaptation Professionals is creating an AmeriCorps program to assist rural areas; will be able to connect small communities with the technical assistance of ASAP. Looking at Maine as a possible location. A lot of educational resources: member connects community to resources available. 

Next step: Formally inviting orgs to join the Maine Climate Corps Network. Opportunity to brand as a Climate Corps Program and uphold criteria: Working toward CAP and striving to pay a living wage. Quarterly meetings. Group identifies what they need. 
From Task Force: Will need advice on supporting and resources from task force. Need training for them. Goal to create a universal curriculum for all Climate Corps members. With many small programs, take burden off all the smaller groups. Maybe a micro-credential developed. Feedback on topics to include, experts. Some funding to develop robust curriculum. Keep them engaged and coordinated on what everyone has achieved. 

UMaine is working on a Climate Ready Community Micro-credential. For early career professionals. Core competencies needed to be developed now. Taking from the Climate Action Plans and others. Include AmeriCorps members as a ready audience for that. Honing on what to focus on for this audience. Skills needed, communications skills, ability to learn more: professional skills needed to work with communities. Those hiring the early career professionals are the best to vet this through. Collaboration opportunity. Kristen Grant’s team will hone the micro-credential program a bit more and then send it to Kirsten Brewer.

Kirsten will share opportunities for Climate member positions – and specifically DownEast CAP positions. Sea Grant has a liaison for students and fellowships. 

•    Next opportunity for AmeriCorps operational grants will be September. This is an opportunity to launch a Climate Corps program. Strong applicants will have volunteer management systems in place, and be ready to recruit and place members by January 2024. 

Discussion: Of the many Climate Corps priorities, “Green Schools” may have the strongest momentum. We’d like to conduct outreach this summer with potential sponsors. 
Explore a Scoping meeting? Nature Based Ed Consortium (fiscal sponsor is Maine Audubon). MEEA – changemakers fellowship. Maine Math & Science Alliance. Possibly Maine Conservation Corps can support member management.
Action Item: Make introductions to Kirsten with partners delivering climate/environmental education in schools. 
•    External Funding: Did submit grant to USFS Urban and Community Forestry Program to fund Youth Climate Corps programs delivering urban/community forestry services. Would run a pass-through sub-grant program to other entities to deploy corps programs for youth under 18. 

Did NOT submit an application to the Northern Border Regional Commission, due to strong focus on economic development and misalignment with our program goals. 

Other Funding opportunities. 
USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training. Funding to support a Maine Service Fellow in a rural community. Ultimately, the host site/community would be supported to apply for a full community facilities grant from USDA. Could be anything from a new school to a fire truck. Could be improving EMS services, could be heating/cooling. What town determines that it needs. Find out in Sep regarding funding decision. $150K over three years. 

Next month: Debrief about last month’s speaker.