7. Secure initial funding


While a lot of collaboration can be achieved without additional funding, a little funding can go a long way to get a collaborative started. Effective regional adaptation collaboration takes a lot of effort. In addition to funding for regular convenings, day-to-day operations might include drafting collaborative deliverables and coordinating executive committee, member, and work group logistics.

Although a regional adaptation collaborative can help create momentum to add value for members and attract funding, it can be a challenge to strike a balance between creating funding opportunities for collaborative members and creating funding for a collaborative itself. Funders might want to fund a region (i.e. a county or an air or water quality management district) directly. It is important to keep the operations of the collaborative as nimble, efficient and focused on serving its members as possible to maximize impact. Also, ongoing communication among participants is key to ensure that a collaborative organization both helps to attract new resources as well as leverages the resources of any one member agency to help others where possible.

Charging dues, writing grants, and encouraging resource sharing by participants are all ways to support a regional adaptation collaborative. Based on the experience of the ARCCA regions, initial funding might need to come from collaborative members or a sympathetic philanthropic agency, in order to kick-start your local climate action work and help you to gain authority and legitimacy as a regional climate adaptation practitioner.

As individual member organizations are not likely to have dedicated time in their workload to support the collaborative on a regular basis, staffing these activities will facilitate more meaningful participation by members, and promote stability even as membership evolves. Securing funding upfront for this position allows this staff to focus on the management of the collaborative, including the pursuit of additional funding to move the collaborative forward on specific project and outreach efforts.

Having an agreed upon governance structure and at least a part-time staff person can help to navigate and negotiate these funding conversations.

Tools & Resources

Case Study: ARCCA Member Funding Models
Lists of Potential Funding Sources Funding Resiliency for Regions
Carbon Neutral Community Opportunities Infographic
Case Study: ARCCA Member Funding Models

Each region in ARCCA is funded in slightly different ways, with slightly different challenges

Capital Regional Climate Readiness Collaborative (CRC)

CRC received seed funding for structural management and coordination through an existing grant with the Local Government Commission from the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. Soon thereafter, CRC received additional seed funding from Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, while other members provided in-kind support. CRC intends to charges membership dues as follows: foundation members pay $10,000, private organizations pay up to $5000 (depending on the numbers of employees), local and regional agencies pay up to $3,000 (depending on population size), and non-profit organizations and universities pay up to $1,000 (depending on the number of employees). In-kind services in lieu of annual dues may also be accepted, in some cases. These dues will help create a stable funding stream and let staff support the growth and development of the collaborative.

Los Angeles Regional Collaborative (LARC)

LARC was established as a membership organization in 2007 to share information, foster partnerships, and develop system-wide strategies to address climate change through sustainable communities in Los Angeles County.

The Regents of the University of California are the Collaborative’s legal and fiscal sponsor. The Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES) serves as the Regents’ liaison on a day-to-day basis.

There is a separate budget for each grant or other source of funds. Because LARC is an entity of the University of California, there is an overhead rate charged for each source of funds.

  1. Federal funding for research performed on campus is charged a standard fifty-four percent (54%) overhead rate.
  2. Federal funding for research projects not performed on campus is charged a thirty-seven percent (37%) overhead rate.
  3. Foundation grants are charged the overhead rate that the Foundation allows. For example, the Haynes Foundation allows an eighteen percent (18%) overhead rate.
  4. State and local funding is charged variable overhead rates. State funds are typically charged a twenty-five (25%) overhead rate.
  5. Gift funding is charged a six percent (6%) overhead rate. Philanthropic gifts are included in this rate.

LARC, in consultation with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (Metro), received funds through the Strategic Growth Council Sustainable Communities Planning Grant and Incentives Program to perform regional climate action work. These funds assist in supporting staff for the LARC over the three-year grant timeframe.

The LARC General Budget includes LARC Membership dues. This budget is considered a gift account by the University of California. Therefore, funds in this account are subject to a six percent (6%) overhead rate. LARC charges membership dues as follows: dues for government, non-governmental organizations, and for-profit entities start at $1,000; dues for large regional governmental agencies, utilities, and for profit entities start at $10,000; small businesses are eligible to remit their annual dues as a combination of monetary support and in-kind support, totaling a minimum of $1,000, with monetary support no less than $500; academia and non-governmental organizations may offer in-kind support.

Bay Area Climate and Energy Resilience Project (BACERP)

BACERP received two Kresge Foundation grants, as well as funding from the Bay Area Joint Policy Committee. While the Joint Policy Committee provided the basis staffing for BACERP, the initial funding from the Kresge Foundation allowed BACERP to contract for key reports on equity, governance, and accessing science information, as well as conducting stakeholder workshops for 100+ people. The second Kresge grant provided a second staff person which enabled BACERP to do in-depth project inventories in each of nine counties and an extensive set of interviews with climate stakeholders on their needs. Doubling the staff for the grand period (8 months) make the project much more visible in the region.

San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative

San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative is funded through collaboration of agencies that receive funding through Local Government Partnerships with San Diego Gas & Electric. Additionally, funding has been provided from The San Diego Foundation, especially through their partnerships other foundations such as the Kresge Foundation and Qualcomm Foundation. With such seed funding, a part-time manager of the Collaborative was hired in 2013 and is helping secure both ongoing operational funding as well as support Collaborative members’ joint or individual proposals for various adaptation projects.

Lists of Potential Funding Sources Funding Resiliency for Regions

Different funding sources approach funding resiliency activities differently. Below are examples of how some funders approach resiliency funding:

  • NOAA Climate Funding Opportunities
    NOAA has compiled a list of Climate Funding Opportunities. The document provides a snapshot of currently available, climate-related funding opportunities (as of July 2014). The next version of this document will likely be available in Winter 2015.
  • Cool California Funding Wizard
    An online database of sustainability funding opportunities
  • The Kresge Foundation
    “For us, resilience means not just withstanding stresses but the capacity to prosper under a wide range of climate-influenced circumstances. Resilience in the long term is possible only if society reduces greenhouse gas emissions and avoids the worst impacts of climate change.”
  • The Rockefeller Foundation“Resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities and systems to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of stress and shocks, and even transform when conditions require it.Building resilience is about making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events—both natural and manmade—and able to bounce back more quickly and emerge stronger from these shocks and stresses.Humans are not born with resilience—we learn it, adapt it, and improve upon it. The same is true for organizations, systems and societies.”
  • Partners for Places by The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities
    Partners for Places is a successful matching grant program that creates opportunities for cities and counties in the United States and Canada to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents. Through these projects, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our urban areas more prosperous, livable, and vibrant.The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) joined together to launch Partners for Places.
Carbon Neutral Community Opportunities Infographic

This infographic provides an overview of programs and funding opportunities in California supported by cap and trade auction proceeds.