Geos Institute helps communities build resilience in the face of climate change
Climate Ready America

Climate Innovation Center – Pilot Program

We are no longer accepting proposals for the 2022 pilot program. 

  • About the Pilot Program

    The Geos Institute is taking the first steps in the development of the Climate Ready America system. These steps are to select five states or statewide organizations to pilot Climate Innovation Centers and to develop a single, nationwide Support Team to assist those pilots. This phase will show proof of concept and provide the learning necessary to determine how states with different circumstances can be served by the same system. 
     
    We are planning rapid nationwide expansion of the Climate Ready America system, which involves immediately applying what is learned in this pilot phase to the next round of pilots and then to building out to the remaining states (and possibly territories) over the next five years. It is an ambitious plan because the challenge of climate change requires that level of ambition.

    What are Climate Innovation Centers?

    The primary service delivery element of the Climate Ready America system is the Climate Innovation Center (CIC), a one-stop shop for local governments to act on climate – both mitigation and adaptation. While the CICs will have standard functions, each will be customized to meet the specific needs of the communities within their state. Each state needs its own as CICs will incorporate and strengthen existing programs, while filling gaps in climate services.  
     
    Where possible, the CIC will be embedded within the state government. However, our Landscape Analysis made it clear that this will not be possible in some states. In those circumstances, existing civic or academic organizations could host the CIC. Existing climate actors in each state will come together to lead the development of their CIC – choosing where and how to set it up, how to invest funding, and how to maintain and grow the offerings of the CIC over time.   
     
    Each CIC will receive science, technical, equity, and management support from Regional Support Teams which, in turn, will be connected to federal agencies and academic institutions. This will allow the CICs to most effectively direct expertise, resources, and funding to communities.  

    What do Climate Innovation Centers do?

    Climate Innovation Centers will: 

    • Provide a networking hub for climate efforts across the state  
    • Identify and work to fill climate service gaps 
    • Support implementation by connecting communities with funding opportunities, strengthening their capacity to apply for funding, and to manage projects 
    • Bring mitigation, adaptation, and equity efforts into alignment   
    • Facilitate training for climate resilience skillsets: mitigation, adaptation, social equity, and change management  
    • Provide tools and capacity assistance for small, underfunded, and underserved communities, including connecting local governments with extension and national service programs 
    • Facilitate region-scale planning efforts  
    • Support cohorts of communities in developing and implementing climate resilience plans 
    • Maintain a website with resource links and a Help Desk for personalized support 
    • Identify and secure additional sources of federal and philanthropic funding for Climate Innovation Centers programs and the communities they support 
    • Gather and report data from local governments and their partners to track outcomes, develop best practices, assist state policy development, prioritize funding needs, and facilitate national reporting for global climate commitments 
    • Establish virtuous cycles where positive outcomes attract support, keeping the program growing of its own momentum, until all communities are supported. 

    What is the support structure for Climate Innovation Centers?

    Climate Innovation Centers are envisioned to have several structures to support effective operation and collaboration.

    1. Host – an organization or entity that can provide foundational infrastructure of statewide presence, climate service experience, and trust within the state. As stated above, this entity can be either within or outside the state government. If no such entity exists, it can be created as part of the pilot. 
    2. Leadership Circle – the leadership body in each state that directs the development of the CIC. Leadership Circles bring together leaders from different disciplines and expertise, including but not limited to climate mitigation, adaptation, and equity.   The host organization will have an important role to play in the Leadership Circle, but it is the Circle that will determine the direction of the CIC.  
    3. Partnering Organizations – a network of important partnerships that bring essential voices to the table to assist communities in their climate change efforts. Potential partners include organizations, such as state agencies, philanthropies, business and economic leaders, nonprofits, youth groups, cultural representatives, etc.   The Host and Leadership Circle will build these partnerships as part of building the CIC, if they don’t already exist. 

    Funding 

    Several funding pathways have been identified and will be pursued aggressively once the pilots have been identified. Additionally, pilot states will be asked to assist with funding requests for philanthropic and congressional funding.  There is no expectation that they would move forward with the development of a Climate Innovation Center until resources are secured.   

    Ongoing Support  

    The goal is to have a Climate Innovation Center in every state, so states that are not selected in this first round of pilots will remain part of the system. Learnings, tools, and best practices from the pilots will be shared with these states as they prepare for future opportunities to be funded through the Climate Ready America system.   

    Submit a Proposal

    The Geos Institute is no longer accepting pilot proposals from state governments and state-wide organizations across the US that are interested in developing pilot Climate Innovation Centers.  Click the links at the top of this page to read about our Selection Criteria and Instructions for Submitting a Proposal.

    All submissions were due by April 15, 2022.
     

  • Selection Criteria

    Climate Ready America will engage with entities in 5 states to develop pilot Climate Innovation Centers. The pilot phase is designed to help us discover what is necessary for the Climate Ready America concept to work under diverse circumstances. Therefore, we will select a diverse set of initial states that differ from each other based on the following characteristics: 

    • Geography – coastal and inland 
    • Political affiliations  
    • Level of maturity of existing climate work  
    • Degree of success with mitigation, adaptation, and/or equity programs 
    • Population – urban and rural 

    In addition, we require that participating states adopt, and adhere to, the 10 Principles identified in the Call for a Nationwide System of Climate Services.  Before submitting your Proposal form, please ensure that your organization can actively embrace these principles for a system of climate support services: 

    • Addresses both mitigation and adaptation in a comprehensive approach to climate resilience   
    • Centers the needs of frontline communities and the imperative of building equity and environmental justice   
    • Preserves and strengthens the resilience of ecological systems   
    • Ensures credible climate science and modeling information is accessible to all communities   
    • Directly funds and enables community-based planning and implementation to build local adaptive capacity   
    • Catalyzes the development of the climate resilience workforce to create jobs and foster climate smart economies   
    • Leverages and supports existing organizations and networks, including academic, private sector, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations   
    • Utilizes a whole of society approach across federal, state, Tribal, and local jurisdictions   
    • Employs institutional mechanisms that ensure long-term sustainability of the system   
    • Responds to the needs of the public and communities across their state  

    To have your organization considered as a possible Climate Ready America pilot, please submit a proposal.

  • Proposal Instructions

    The Geos Institute’s Climate Ready America team invites organizations to submit a proposal to be selected as a pilot for a state-level Climate Innovation Center. The pilot Climate Innovation Centers will help us learn what works in different circumstances, so we can support climate services across all 50 states through the Climate Ready America program over time.

    The purpose of this proposal is to help us understand your interest in developing a Climate Innovation Center for your state and what tools, resources, and support you would need to do so.

    Who should submit a proposal?

    We are accepting proposals from state governments and state-wide organizations across the US to develop Climate Innovation Centers. To learn more about Climate Innovation Centers, please review the information about the Pilot Program.

    What should the proposal cover?

    In this proposal, we invite you to describe the current status of climate services in your state and how you would organize a Climate Innovation Center. We expect each Climate Innovation Center to be unique to its state and are open to different ideas about how the Center in your state could be organized. In the proposal, tell us what you think would work best, given your state’s circumstances.

    Please submit a maximum 2-page proposal that describes your vision for a Climate Innovation Center designed to meet the needs of communities in your state.

    In your proposal, please address the following:

    1. Tell us about climate services in your state overall, as they are today. For instance, if a community decides to take action on climate adaptation or mitigation, who do they turn to for help and what help is available from government, academic, nonprofit, or for-profit organizations? Are organizations already collaborating to provide these services? If so, which organizations are involved? Are the services offered in your state focused on adaptation, mitigation, equity, or some combination? Are there service gaps that you are aware of?
    2. Describe your vision for a Climate Innovation Center in your state. What organizations would be involved? Where would it be housed or would a new entity be created to host it? What would be the initial priorities of your Center given the list of services of a fully built out Climate Innovation Center? You can reference that list of services here.
    3. Provide contact information for one person who will act as the primary communicator for your group: name, position, email, phone number. 

    Contact us

    We are ready to help if you want to discuss ideas and proposal content. We suggest you organize a meeting of interested individuals or groups in your state, and we can brainstorm with that group about what might be the best arrangement in your circumstances. Contact Kim Adams to set up a meeting (kim@geosinstitute.org).

  • Submit a Proposal

    All submissions were due by April 15, 2022.

    Announcements of the pilot program cohort will be made soon.


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