The key ingredient in successful projects is an effective and persistent local champion. The Climate Catalysts Leadership Program supports the power of individuals and their communities to achieve transformational climate economy progress.

2023-climate-catalysts-mapThe Fifth cohort of Climate Catalysts Leaders from across the state launched May 22, 2024. Future cohorts will launch in 2025, please join the VCRD mailing list to hear of the next open application period.

Facing the climate challenge means mobilizing at all levels of human organization. Strong and inspirational leaders are key in unifying and sparking collective action. With hundreds of tight-knit communities, Vermont is a place that can model unique, powerful, and replicable local actions for growing the climate economy.

The Climate Catalysts Program brings together new and emerging leaders from Vermont communities for a structured cohort focused on building peer connections, strengthening leadership skills and receiving project development support.

WHO: The cohort will focus on new and emerging leaders from a variety of large and small communities who care deeply and want to take community action to reduce energy use and lessen climate impacts seen around the state. For the fifth class of Climate Catalysts, ideal candidates come from all walks of life and have leadership experience ranging from beginning to lead projects in their communities to none-at-all. Your focus and project may be part of paid work or something you are doing as an elected/appointed leader or as an unaffiliated volunteer. All that we ask is that you attend the sessions outlined below and have a meaningful commitment and time to dedicate to your project.

WHAT: Participants should be interested in or bring a climate project in progress that is both ambitious and achievable. New this year, interested participants may choose to design a group project, or may elect to be paired with flood impacted (or flood susceptible) communities to implement community climate change resilience projects. There will be 4 required in-person sessions with monthly gatherings on Zoom to advance project work, and each participant has the opportunity for regular check-ins with VCRD staff. Learn more about the curriculum and program schedule.

PROJECTS: Possible projects could include a neighbor-to-neighbor weatherization campaign, a community solar project, energy improvements at a school or municipal building, electrification of vehicle fleets, mowers, or heating systems, strengthening downtown, starting an energy committee and developing an energy action plan, hosting an e-bike lending library, promoting biking and walking, modern wood heating projects, hosting a series of workshops, increasing local food production and consumption or whatever else participants imagine that increases community vitality and/or prosperity in the face of climate change.

COST:  There is no cost to participate in the Climate Catalysts Leadership Program thanks to generous grant funding. VCRD strives to make our programs accessible and meet individuals’ needs to enable participation. New this year are stipends starting at $200, with the possibility for further support based on each person’s circumstance. Indicate your interest in the application, and VCRD staff will work with you to distribute the funds if you are selected to participate.

APPLY: The next round of applications will be open in 2025. The application is intended to be relatively simple and quick google form, if you would like support in filling out the application, please contact [email protected]. An informal writing style and/or the use of bullet points is fine.

In early 2020, an inaugural class of 12 local leaders was selected from a pool of 45 applicants. In the fall of 2020, a second class of 15 leaders was chosen, a third class of 16 leaders began in the fall of 2021, and a fourth class of 16 leaders began in January 2023.

To learn more about projects by the Climate Catalysts, click on the icons in the interactive map.

Contact the Climate Economy Program Manager, Laura Cavin Bailey, at [email protected] or (802) 234-1646 with any questions.