Yesterday, the Institute for Local Government (ILG) released a report together with the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) highlighting the transformative impact of state investments in capacity building and technical assistance. The report details the outcomes of the second round of the BOOST program, which over the last 18 months has helped a cohort of seven cities to leverage $500,000 in capacity-building resources to secure an additional $25 million in state and federal grants.
The BOOST program was launched by SGC in 2019 to help under-resourced local governments on the frontlines of climate change build resilience and accelerate climate action by providing intensive tools, trainings and direct assistance to access grant programs. With unprecedented funding made available through California’s $48 billion climate budget and billions more through the federal government, the BOOST program creates a pathway for under-resourced local governments to access available funding opportunities. Since the inception of the program, BOOST has provided $1.5 million in targeted support to local jurisdictions, with these investments helping cohort cities to secure $75 million in additional public and philanthropic investment.
“SGC’s capacity building programs are showing incredible promise in helping under-resourced communities leverage historic funding opportunities,” said Lynn von Koch-Liebert, executive director of the California Strategic Growth Council. “As the BOOST report today shows, capacity building and technical assistance investments can unlock up to seven times the investment in state, federal and philanthropic dollars – catalyzing climate resilience and spurring transformation in the communities most in need.”
The second cohort of BOOST launched in 2022 with seven cities selected as part of the 18-month program, including Barstow, La Puente, Maywood, McFarland, Needles, Rialto and South San Francisco. Over this period, the BOOST project team provided a wide range of technical assistance and capacity-building services to the cities and created individualized work plans to ensure that the assistance was responsive to local priorities. In total, ILG and the BOOST project team, including technical assistance providers around California, provided grant-writing research and support for 60 grant opportunities, resulting in nearly $25 million in grant awards for planning, affordable housing, equitable transportation, and climate resilience and action projects. The BOOST team also facilitated important discussions between local agency partners, state agency staff and technical assistance providers.
“The City of Needles faces unique challenges because of our geography,” said Patrick Martinez, assistant city manager for the City of Needles. “The BOOST program has provided our city with an opportunity to be heard at the state level. It’s given us the expertise to achieve our goals of obtaining grants and developing policies to address our complex climate challenges.”
“Participating in BOOST is one of the best things the city has done to advance its sustainability and equity goals,” said South San Francisco Vice Mayor Mark Nagales. “The BOOST team provides invaluable guidance and technical assistance and we’re fortunate they helped us secure over $3.2 million in grant funding to advance our climate action goals.”
In addition to grant support, the report highlights the ways in which the BOOST program team provided strategic counsel, secured resources, and identified expert consultants to help ensure participating cities’ compliance with state mandates, including helping to develop a Housing Element, an Environmental Justice Element and a Safety Element, complex documents that the municipalities would not otherwise have had the capacity to complete. Additionally, BOOST provided local government training on topics including conducting authentic community engagement and developing strategic partnerships, ultimately facilitating 20 community conversations or engagement events and three community surveys.
“There’s a misconception that lower-capacity cities don’t care about climate issues. But all seven of our BOOST communities were eager to explore solutions to achieve their important climate, infrastructure and engagement goals,” said Erica L. Manuel, ILG’s CEO & Executive Director. “Together, we assessed gaps, identified viable projects and secured critical funding for housing, transportation and infrastructure improvements that can really move the needle towards climate resilience in communities that need it the most. We were proud to be able to offer flexible support for our BOOST cities to get started and keep going.”
The BOOST Round 2 technical assistance team was led by ILG, with support from California Coalition for Rural Housing, Climate Resolve, and Farallon Strategies.
“BOOST is a special program that gives a voice to often forgotten communities and helps them build the foundation for sustainable funding, better resilience, and meaningful equity,” said Manuel. “Expanding this program with support from state, federal and philanthropic partners will be key to building vibrant, healthy and sustainable communities in the future.”
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.ca-ilg.org to find out more.
About the California Strategic Growth Council
The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is a 10-member council comprised of seven state agencies and three public members with the mission to build healthy, thriving, and resilient communities for all. Funded through California’s Cap and Trade system and the California General Fund, SGC’s grant programs, strategic initiatives, and interagency coordination focus on multi-benefit and community-centric solutions at the nexus of climate and equity. Since 2008, SGC has invested over $3.5 billion in projects strengthening communities and addressing climate change across California. Visit www.sgc.ca.gov to find out more.
About the BOOST Program
ILG and SGC created BOOST to help under resourced and low-capacity communities better address climate goals. BOOST provides 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. The BOOST Program is based on the BOOST Pilot Program developed by ILG and SGC in 2019, which connected 12 cities and regions to 59 different grant opportunities and led to more than $50 million in new funding. BOOST Round 2 supported seven cities and the program team included the Institute for Local Government, California Coalition for Rural Housing, Climate Resolve and Farallon Strategies.