Climate Economy Model Communities Program – Frequently Asked Questions – Updated March 15

1. Can more than one town join together in one application?

Possibly. VCRD finds organizing at the town level to be most effective when engaging a community. If there is another governance structure or a track-record of joining across town lines on successful initiatives, a unified application covering more than one municipality will be considered. It is also important to note that 2017 is the first of three years for this program. Eligibility parameters will be revisited in advance of a solicitation for applications for the 2018 program.

2. What will VCRD, the municipality, the steering committee, and partners be responsible for?

Click here for a chart that describes in more detail the roles of VCRD, partners, the steering committee, and the municipality. Please note: we ask that the municipality facilitate and cover the cost of one mailing to all residents to kick-off the process and invite participants. We also ask that the steering committee, in coordination with the municipality, organize and/or provide for the community meal for the kick-off event.  This can be done with support from the municipality, a host institution or sponsoring organization, with local catering, and/or by hosting a potluck-style meal.

3. Will VCRD bring financial resources to those communities selected to participate in the Model Communities Program?

VCRD will not be directly providing financial resources. When a community demonstrates leadership by coming together and rallying behind an initiative, support and resources tend to follow.  VCRD has a strong track record of assisting communities in unifying, choosing priorities, and developing plans and identifying resources to implement those priorities.  
A community’s success when working with VCRD is often the result of a variety of factors. Because VCRD facilitates a process that is inclusive and involves all sectors of a community, initiatives that emerge from the process have the widespread community support that is important for engaging potential funders. VCRD also brings in statewide experts and partners, some who administer financial resources and as members of a resource team can connect community task forces with the technical assistance and financial support necessary to complete a project. Unique to the Climate Economy Model Community Program, utility partners and Efficiency Vermont will also be working with the community to identify targeted offerings for homes and businesses. A variety of financing tools and incentives will be available in association with those efforts.

4. Can initiatives supported through the Model Communities Program be ongoing, or must they be new?

Continuing with a pre-existing initiative demonstrates dedication to seeing projects through and that the community has previously engaged around Climate Economy issues. It will be important that any such effort rise to the top and continue to hold its place as a community priority. An applicant should consider explaining how participation in the Model Communities Program will take this initiative to the next level.

5. Will there be a report or publication at the end of the Program?

Yes, VCRD will collaborate with partners to issue a report detailing the process, community discussion and forums, priorities, action plans and outcomes/projected outcomes as the program comes to a close in the community.

6. Must all initiatives finish within one year from the beginning of this process?

No. There will be substantial momentum generated for community initiatives as a result of the Climate Economy Model Communities Program. While initiatives may take more than a year to bring to fruition, it will be important to capitalize on the initial enthusiasm for a project by acting with urgency to move it forward. It will also be important to have a realistic plan and timeline for completion of an initiative and to have the support in place to continue work beyond the one-year mark.

7. What if the timing of the program doesn’t work well with the seasonal nature of some activities or the presence of 2nd home owners in a community?

VCRD will work in succession in the two communities selected to participate in the program in 2017. For the first community, the initial intensive 4-month facilitation process will happen in the late spring through the summer. For the second community, the process will take place from September through the end of 2017.  There will likely be greater flexibility around the timing of the program for communities selected to participate in 2018.