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2013localsolutionsjudges 2013localsolutionsjudges

Jul 2, 2013
10:49

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This is a well done proposal, thoughtful and high quality! Project management will be complex; consider this carefully & describe how the project would be managed. The cities that are mentioned in the proposal are already full of early adopters. How would you engage them? What specific outcomes could be expected from the $10K contest winnings? What are your plans for obtaining additional funding?

Pia Jensen

Jul 11, 2013
01:43

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for references, you might take a look at what cities/citizens are doing currently regarding sustainability, I especially like the Austin TX Rethink program http://austintexas.gov/department/sustainability other possible sources for refs: Arcata CA Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary - Sewage Treatment http://www.humboldt.edu/arcatamarsh/ Urban Farming meetups http://www.urban-farming.meetup.com/cities/us/ca/cotati/ Climate Action Sustainable urban planning http://www.climateactionprogramme.org/climate-leader-interviews/sustainable_urban_planning National League of Cities http://www.citiesspeak.org/category/sustainability/ Detroit Climate Justice Alliance http://www.critical-moment.org/2013/06/28/detroit-climate-justice-alliance/ Premiere Northwest Biocarbon Summit a silo-busting event http://www.climatesolutions.org/cs-journal/premiere-northwest-biocarbon-summit-a-silo-busting-event Salt Lake City and Asheville win honours for local climate change efforts http://www.cities-today.com/2013/06/salt-lake-city-and-asheville-win-honours-for-local-climate-change-efforts/

David Gershon

Jul 11, 2013
02:42

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Thank you for your feedback. Cool City Challenge’s project management is based on processes, systems, training and coaching methodologies Empowerment Institute has successfully developed and deployed in many cities previously. We will be carefully recruiting local project management teams and actively training and supporting them over the full three years of this initiative. The main and important distinction with this initiative in comparison to previous work we have done with cities is the amount of behavior change, scale of participation and in-depth research that the Cool City Challenge is designed to achieve. To help with this we have put together a world-class team described in the proposal. We will also be building a robust information and project management software platform for both the project managers and program participants. Automating the information and project management is an essential component to managing an initiative at this level of scale. The cities were selected because they were early adopters and seeking out this type of solution to help them accomplish their ambitious carbon reduction goals that can only be achieved with citizen engagement and behavior change. Empowerment Institute spent a year doing due diligence through meeting with local government officials, community-based organization leaders, and key local organizers who would help to manage this on the ground. Only after we were satisfied that the political will and local support were in place did we invite the qualified cities to provide a letter of intent. We now have letters of intent from each of the five candidate cites. These can be found on our website at www.coolcitychallenge.org. When the financing is in place for Phase 1 we will request proposals from each city formally describing the local support and commitment that are in place to help execute this. Based on these proposals we will select the final three cities. Beyond government and community organization support, we have found many citizens, certainly the early adopters, are very eager to lead the charge on a potentially game changing climate change solution. As a consequence many have stepped forward to volunteer their services should their city be selected. A number of them have also participated in our Low Carbon Diet EcoTeam program and wish to volunteer in starting EcoTeams as well. Finally the Cool City Challenge is designed as a friendly competition among early adopter cities, early adopter blocks within these cities, and early adopter citizens to achieve ambitious carbon reduction goals. So we hope to fully tap into the early adopter nature of these cities and their citizens through what some call co-opetition. The Cool City Challenge is in the financing stage so should we win the $10K prize it would be used for out of pocket fundraising expenses and to pay team members who are volunteering their time to get this off the ground. The PR that goes along with the money would also be enormously helpful. Our greatest need at the moment is getting this initiative in front of funders. Once they learn about it they are quite interested, but it takes time to raise the profile of an initiative and networking is a very slow and laborious process. So whatever visibility we can get from the recognition this contest might provide would be most helpful. We are in active fundraising mode with a small team who are reaching out to foundations, philanthropists, CA state agencies responsible for investing the one billion dollars a year of cap-and trade funding in carbon reduction initiatives, US DOE and EPA who are looking for innovative solutions to help President Obama achieve his ambitious carbon goals, and sponsorships with companies who have a track record on climate change mitigation leadership and have a strong corporate citizenship ethos. We will also be seeking out a technology partner to assist us in building of the information management system. David Gershon CEO, Empowerment Institute Managing Director, Cool City Challenge

Karen Nasmith

Jul 15, 2013
02:34

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We just wanted to let you know that we think you've done such critical and valuable work for local level climate change action. We are familiar with the work you've done in the US, and look forward to collaborating with you one day!

David Gershon

Jul 15, 2013
02:04

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Thanks. And likewise.

2013localsolutionsjudges 2013localsolutionsjudges

Jul 29, 2013
02:05

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The large 8 million dollar budget makes this project overly ambitious for a contest focused on local, neighborhood-based efforts.

David Gershon

Jul 29, 2013
04:35

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The budget is based on designing a model that can be scaled citywide and then nationally and globally.If we can do this we believe this social innovation could move the dial on the climate change action paralysis facing the world. It is this ambition, BHAG if you will, that requires this size budget. We have already proven this model on thousands of blocks around the world and it is currently being implemented in many cities. Taking it to scale is the holy grail we seek. Once the model is built at scale it will be quite cost effective for cities and all the neighborhood groups in the city to implement it as much of it is based on trained block based volunteer leaders. Another point about the budget. While we list the total four year project budget it is designed to work in phases and project elements with discreet budgets for each one. It can also be tested in one city at a time to reduce the costs further. We have also built a variety of financing and implementation scenarios into our thinking based on raising different amounts of money. Our bottom line operating framework is to be flexible in putting this together allowing for the team's creativity and ingenuity to emerge while at the same being clear about what we believe, based on our past experience, needs to be in place to ensure the integrity of the model and it's ability to scale.
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