Today, the Institute for Local Government (ILG) in partnership with the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) released a report detailing the outcomes of the BOOST Pilot Program designed to help California local governments better advance climate change and equity goals. The report includes successes and key learnings from the 18-month program.
Local governments face myriad challenges and often struggle to provide critical local services while also exploring innovative programs to advance sustainability and climate action. ILG and SGC created BOOST to meet this need by providing flexible and responsive technical assistance to address the varying and evolving capacity challenges of municipal agencies, while also sharing best practices and lessons learned with the participants.
Ten California cities and two regions participated in BOOST and developed customized work plans based on each community’s self-identified needs. The communities included the cities of Arcata, Arvin, Bakersfield, East Palo Alto, El Centro, Mammoth Lakes, Paramount, Salinas, San Diego and Ventura and regions in the San Joaquin and Coachella Valleys.
The BOOST Pilot Program helped communities:
• Build awareness of funding opportunities to address climate action;
• Organize projects to be best positioned to meet its goals;
• Optimize existing resources and build more capacity;
• Strengthen relationships with key stakeholders and identify new opportunities for regional engagement and collaboration; and
• Transform their approach to addressing climate action.
BOOST provided peer-learning opportunities for the cohort while also giving valuable information to State agencies to help inform future State programs for local governments.
ILG provided a wide range of technical assistance and capacity-building services to the BOOST participants and even adjusted the work plans during the pandemic to ensure that no communities were left behind.
“Through BOOST we were able to partner with 12 incredible communities and help them explore strategic planning, authentic public engagement, climate action, partnership development and more,” said Erica L. Manuel, ILG’s CEO & Executive Director. “Together, we re-imagined projects and we secured critical funding for housing, transportation and infrastructure improvements. Because of BOOST, we were able to focus on resilience and equity, which will help these jurisdictions build stronger foundations and more vibrant, healthy and sustainable communities in the future.”
Local government funding is always a challenge. One major success of the BOOST Program was the amount of grant funding participants received as a result of applications developed with BOOST’s support. ILG provided grant-writing assistance for 59 grant applications, which resulted in nearly $50 million in funding, including $42 million in California Climate Investments (CCI) funding and $6.6 million in SB2/Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) grants to support planning, affordable housing, equitable transportation, and climate mitigation and resilience projects. ILG also facilitated important discussions between local agency partners, State agency staff and technical assistance providers working on 12 grant programs from five different state agencies.
In addition to grant support, ILG provided strategic counsel, secured resources and identified expert consultants to help develop six Climate Action and/or Resiliency Plans, including the first-ever plans developed for the cities of Paramount, Ventura, Bakersfield and Salinas, and updates for San Diego and East Palo Alto.
BOOST also highlighted the value of strategic partnerships. ILG’s support helped strengthen BOOST community planning projects by facilitating discussions and building relationships with community-based organizations and advocates that provided valuable input about equitable planning and addressing the needs of vulnerable populations.
“The success of the BOOST pilot demonstrates that customized technical assistance and capacity building directly support communities’ ability to access critically needed funding for meaningful climate action,” said Louise Bedsworth, Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council. “We commend the Institute for Local Government for helping BOOST participants leverage the State’s onemillion-dollar investment to bring nearly $50 million in grants to support planning, projects, and programs that contribute to healthy, thriving, resilience communities.”
The BOOST Pilot Program was funded through a $1 million appropriation by the California Legislature in the Budget Act of 2018 (SB 856) from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which is administered through California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health outcomes, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
Find out more about the BOOST Program at www.ca-ilg.org/BOOST.
About the Institute for Local Government
The Institute for Local Government (ILG) is the non-profit training and education affiliate of the League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties and the California Special Districts Association, which represent thousands of local agencies across the state. ILG helps local officials and staff navigate the constantly changing landscape of their jobs by offering training, technical assistance, written resources and facilitation services specifically designed for local agencies. From leadership to public engagement to housing and workforce, ILG helps local leaders with a wide range of issues. Visit www.cailg.org to find out more.
About the California Strategic Growth Council
The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is a cabinet-level body chaired by the Director of the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research tasked with coordinating and working collaboratively with public agencies, communities, and stakeholders to achieve sustainability, equity, economic prosperity, and quality of life for all Californians with a focus on the state’s most disadvantaged communities. SGC implements its mission through four key activities: making investments in infrastructure and conservation programs; conducting outreach and providing technical assistance to support of communities seeking to access these investments; and leading and supporting integrated policy initiatives that align with SGC’s mission. www.sgc.ca.gov.