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Sign up for an upcoming informational webinar to ask questions live or watch the webinar recording, read through the information on this site, or contact Mackenzie Bolger at email@example.com to discuss any outstanding questions.
How have Fellows supported community resilience projects? Hear from our Partners!
CIVICSPARK AND CLIMATE ACTION CORPS SIDE-BY-SIDE
How CivicSpark Works
CivicSpark places highly motivated emerging leaders with local organizations for 11 months to support research, planning, and implementation projects for community resilience.
CivicSpark Fellows are AmeriCorps Members selected through a competitive national application process. Fellows have at minimum a college degree in a relevant field, as well as workplace and community service experience.
Public agencies, State agencies, Native American Tribes, and Non-Profit Organizations can contract directly with LGC to host CivicSpark Fellows.
Projects must support local public agency resiliency needs around on climate change adaptation or mitigation, affordable housing, energy efficiency, water management or policy, sustainable mobility, or rural broadband.
How the California Climate Action Corps Works
Climate Action Corps is dedicated to mobilizing climate action through community empowerment and engagement.
Climate Action Corps places highly motivated emerging leaders with local organizations for 11 months to support direct climate action and community mobilization.
Climate Action Corps Fellows are AmeriCorps Members selected through a competitive national application process. Fellows have at minimum a college degree in a relevant field, as well as workplace and community service experience.
Public agencies, State agencies, Native American Tribes, and Non-Profit Organizations can contract directly with LGC to host Climate Action Corps Fellows.
Projects must include defined and measurable climate pollution reduction, resiliency benefits, or disaster recovery activities; engagement components to empower community members to take action on climate change issues; and must address local vulnerabilities.
CivicSpark and Climate Action Corps Program Differences at a Glance
|CIVICSPARK||CLIMATE ACTION CORPS|
|FOCUS AREAS||Community Resilience:
|TYPE OF SERVICE||Capacity Building:
*Must identify a local public beneficiary
|HOURS REQUIREMENT||1700+ Total
|HOURS BREAKDOWN||At least 80% Project Service
Up to 20% Other Activities (Fellow Training, Volunteer Engagement, Service Days, etc.)
|At least 80% Project Service (including Volunteer Engagement)
Up to 20% Other Activities (Fellow Training, Service Days, etc.)
|TERM OF SERVICE||11 Months||11 Months|
|BENEFITS||$22,000 Living Stipend over 11 Months||$22,000 Living Stipend over 11 Months|
|ESTIMATED NUMBER OF ALUMNI||Currently 300+ will increase to 380+ in July 2021||60+ in August 2021|
All CivicSpark Fellows provide support to public agencies through 4 core activities:
Tangible and impactful resiliency projects
- Clear, suitable scope of work
- Commitment to implementation
- Strong connection to public agencies need
Commitment to Fellows growth and development
- Direct project oversight
- Dedicated Fellow supervisor
- Determine Fellow’s strengths
- Set professional goals
- Conduct performance assessments
- Provide development opportunities
Example Project Types
CivicSpark addresses emerging environmental and social equity resilience challenges such as
Visit Our Projects page to view a list of current and past CivicSpark projects. The Project Concept Repository is a searchable database that contains examples of successful CivicSpark projects and project ideas. Explore this database for ideas and recommendations about the type of work Fellows typically complete during the service year, and see some of the results of past Fellows’ projects.
CivicSpark and Climate Action Corps are federally-funded AmeriCorps programs that use national service to build local agency capacity to address emerging environmental and/or socio-economic issues. We must follow strict requirements on what partners we can work with and how we define our service to local public agencies.
- Fellows can be placed with local public agencies, NGOs, or State agencies.
- Fellows cannot serve directly with a for-profit organization (however for-profit organizations may sponsor Fellows).
- Fellows must implement at least 2 distinct projects designed to build capacity of eligible local service recipients. Regardless of the project partner, the project scope must have a clearly defined connection to an eligible local public agency, or agencies. (See eligibility criteria below)
- For CivicSpark Service recipients – the target recipient of service – can be local, county, or regional public agencies (e.g., cities, towns, special districts, school districts, MPOs, COGs, etc.) or Federally Recognized Tribes. State agencies, NGOs, and for-profit entities cannot serve as service recipients, however, a state agency or NGO can serve as a project partner and host a Fellow, just not as the service recipient.
- For Climate Action Corps, non-profits can serve as project partner and service recipient.
- Fellows must have a defined scope of work for each project that aligns with our program mission, and that can be completed within the term of service.
- Partners must agree to follow all AmeriCorps requirements and prevent Fellows from participating in prohibited activities.
- Partners must ensure that target public agency service recipients provide required eligibility information and complete a pre- and post-service Capacity Assessment survey.
- Partners must describe how the proposed project activities will build new capacity for the project service recipients.
- Partners will be asked to provide information on geographical region, target audience, project focus, and project outputs.
- Partners must agree to abide by federal AmeriCorps guidelines on prohibited activities and ensure Fellows only engage in allowable activities. See here for more information.
CivicSpark offers a structure of support in which LGC staff work with project partners to coordinate a positive Fellowship experience.
- Site Supervisors (agency staff) provide direct project supervision for Fellows, with support from LGC program staff and Regional Coordinators. Site Supervisors provide overall Fellow supervision as well as some professional development support.
- Regional Coordinators (LGC staff) provide program support and member development training and act as a local liaison to the partner.
- LGC program staff provide additional content expertise, support for partners, and training for Fellows.
- LGC administrative staff support Fellows and Partners by coordinating reporting requirements and other program logistics.
Partners are responsible for securing at least 2 distinct projects that serve defined local public agency service recipients for each Fellow’s project work. Participating public agency service recipients must demonstrate a “capacity need”, measured by meeting at least one of the following criteria:
Absence of an adopted and up-to-date strategy (plan, element or other) that comprehensively addresses the target resiliency issue with appropriate funding, programs, and policies, to implement the strategy. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Climate Mitigation or Adaptation Plan
- Integrated Regional Water Management Plan
- Stormwater Resources Plan
- Groundwater Sustainability Plan
- Housing Needs Assessment
- Regional Transportation Plan; or
A defined resilience capacity gap as evidenced by at least 1 significant program, policy, or planning goal for a specific resilience issue that has not been met, or cannot be met, without resource or system development assistance. Capacity gaps should have defined targets such as:
- Success rates
- Quality of outcomes
- Resource deployment
- Services provided
- People reached
2nd Priority & Climate Action Corps
Jan 18 – Feb 28
March 1 – 30
April 1 – Full
Jan 18 – March 8
March 1 – April 8
w/in 6 weeks of approval
May 1 – May 30
June 1 – June 30
w/in 6 – 10 weeks of approval
Fellow Term of Service
September 14, 2021 – August 12, 2022
CivicSpark is funded in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), and in part by match-funding from our project partners. Participation in this program requires a fiscal contribution based on the amount and type of support provided by the CivicSpark program. CivicSpark rates for project work are:
- All-inclusive (covers workers compensation, liability insurance, workplace costs, Fellow personnel benefits, job travel support, etc.);
- Covers both the CivicSpark Fellow and LGC staff support; and
- Based solely on costs for project work hours, not training time spent by the Fellow. (For additional information, please visit our FAQ page).
|Cost per Fellow||Project Support Provided per Fellow||Additional Benefits per Fellow|
|$29,000 for 1 $28,500 for 2 or more||11 Months and 1,300+ project hours||80 additional project-prep hours 100 volunteer engagement hours|
*This represents the general pricing structure and the floor for pricing, but some variations may exist depending on terms and conditions of specific placements.
Step 1: Submit Online Project Application
Prepare and Submit your application by the Priority Deadline (February 28, 2021) to ensure the highest likelihood that your project will be accepted. Project applications submitted by the Regular Deadline (March 30, 2021) may still receive support. Depending on Priority Deadline interest, we may not have as many options for accepting a proposed project. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after the March 30 Regular deadline but will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. A complete application includes the following:
- Contact information for site supervisor, project lead(s), and contracting lead;
- Concise project summary (including basic scope, desired capacity building outcomes, anticipated deliverables, and preferred Fellow skills);
- Local public agency capacity building projects (at least 2 per Fellow);
- Confirmation that you understand and agree to the program requirements.
We encourage you to prepare your application offline as the online submission cannot be saved. You can download a sample application here. We estimate it should take 30-45 minutes to complete the application form once you have developed your project concept.
Step 2: Application Review & Follow-Up
LGC will review project applications and schedule a call with your project lead contact to:
- Learn more about your needs;
- Confirm local public agency eligibility;
- Ensure there is a clear project scope that is suitable for an AmeriCorps Fellow;
- Determine if CivicSpark is a good fit for your capacity building needs.
The purpose of this step is to ensure your project will deliver results while also meeting our goals as an AmeriCorps program. LGC will then review and consider your project for approval based on our programmatic priorities.
Step 3: Project Approval & Contracting
Approved projects must complete a Service Agreement (contract). The Service Agreement outlines mutual roles and responsibilities between project partners and LGC, as well as payment terms. Service Agreements should be completed by August 21, 2021, to ensure Fellows can start in early September.
Step 4: Candidate Review and Interviewing
After being approved and once we have a pool of qualified applicants, LGC begins to share candidates for consideration that have been pre-screened and have completed an initial interview. The Partner interviews candidates they feel could be a good fit and lets LGC know preferences. LGC makes offers to candidates for the partner.
Step 5: Pre-Service Capacity Assessment
Local public agency beneficiaries must complete a Pre-Service Capacity Assessment survey prior to the start of service. This survey establishes baseline information about the agency’s capacity needs and goals. This information is used by Fellows to complete their Gap Assessments and to evaluate success after project completion. Capacity Assessments should be completed by August 21, 2021, to ensure Fellows have this key resource when they start in early September.
The fellows have been great to work with and I am confident they have great careers ahead of them. The work they are doing for us and the cities of the region is invaluable.
CivicSpark has been an invaluable resource to the County of Santa Barbara, and we’re still experiencing the benefits. Once our ECAP was adopted and the rubber hit the road, our CivicSpark Fellow was able to take on a crucial role in coordinating implementation, and monitoring and reporting.
Our CivicSpark fellows have brought a fresh perspective on how we engage the community in energy planning in the Sierra Nevada, and they are not short on ambition.
The projects our fellow is working on are important for the County’s success in designing and implementing climate action strategies. They are also significant components in broader thinking about long-term sustainability. Without our CivicSpark fellow, these significant pieces of work would be several years out for their completion.
The CivicSpark has been invaluable to the successful launch of our building energy transparency requirement…Collaboration of the CivicSpark Bay Area team has enriched our program through new perspectives and best practices from other cities. It has been a great experience for all involved.
Our CivicSpark members have been very active, enthusiastic, and engaged with our staff and have been a pleasure to work with. Their outreach work and communication has been wonderful.
This program is providing a lot of value for us. When we are required to address the climate action plans, it is a requirement we can’t implement. This is providing us some real action and support and we are seeing progress.