The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) announces the call for Climate Economy Resilient Communities participants for 2023. Community leaders and volunteers submit a simple online application by November 7 to be considered. VCRD’s Climate Economy Resilient Communities (formerly known as Climate Economy Model Communities) will support three to five communities per year that are working on local climate action solutions. The change reflects new opportunities to work within more communities and for each to self-identify the area of support needed to move projects forward.  Through this program, VCRD will provide assistance to communities to make strong forward movements toward a community engagement process, communication outreach planning, strategic planning, technical assistance, and/or project implementation.

“Vermont communities are seeking to become more resilient and thrive in a changing climate. VCRD’s re-envisioned Resilient Communities program will provide assistance where it is needed the most to move community-defined climate economy projects to fruition,” says Climate Economy Program Manager, Laura Cavin Bailey. “This adaptable offering of services is modified to fit each community to enable action steps and implementation toward their energy reduction and climate resiliency goals.”

Selected participants for the Resilient Communities program will receive targeted facilitation, strategic planning, or project support through direct partnership with a community committee, organization, or leader working on local climate action solutions through VCRD. Eligible entities include, but are not limited to, Town Energy Committees, Energy Coordinators, other municipal leadership, or Climate Catalysts leading in their community. All projects should result in significant energy reduction, address the needs of low-income household community members, engage partners willing to assist with implementation, and have a place-based community as their focus.

Basic Eligibility Requirements:

  • Tangible direct connection to a place-based community in Vermont
  • Direct connection to an existing group in that community
  • Commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions/energy use

Resilient Community projects should result in significant carbon reduction, address the needs of low-income community members, and engage partners willing to assist with implementation.

Criteria for selecting communities to partner with in 2022/23 will include a mix of the following:

  • Energy burden mitigation
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or increase renewable energy consumption
  • Collaboration, representation, and equitable engagement across diverse stakeholders (including the municipality)
  • Increase human, built, and natural resilience
  • Strengthening the local climate economy – jobs created, revenue, revitalization
  • Appreciation that a vibrant climate economy should directly address the challenges faced by low-income members of the community
  • Interesting problems that can model solutions for other towns
  • Connection to utility efficiency and renewable energy programming and scalable opportunities
  • Leveraging grant funding opportunities

Priority will be given to communities that show a mix of strong collaboration and equitable engagement across diverse stakeholders; increase human, built, and natural resilience; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; strengthen the local climate economy, and can be replicated in other communities across Vermont.

“VCRD was an invaluable resource as we worked to prioritize the actions identified in our Climate Action Plan. They helped us thoughtfully determine the two actions, out of a plan of almost 70, that the six participating towns would collaborate on over the coming year,” says Intermunicipal Regional Energy Coordinator based at the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission, Geoff Martin. “Without their expertise, we would probably still be trying to figure out where to start! Instead, we have begun to confidently move ahead with implementation.”

For more information and steps to apply, visit Requests to apply must be made no later than November 7. For additional questions contact Laura Cavin Bailey, Climate Economy Program Manager, at [email protected] or (802) 223-6091.

The former iteration of the Climate Economy Resilient Communities helped advance climate economy projects in Pownal, Middlebury, Randolph, Swanton, Marshfield/Plainfield, Dorset, and Rochester from 2017-2021.