EAG hosts webinar advancing philanthropy and collaboration toward a sustainable future

Last week, in honor of #WorldEnvironmentDay on June 5, your Community Foundation’s Environmental Affinity Group (EAG) hosted a webinar and discussion around the roles of philanthropy and community collaborations to create a sustainable future across Boulder County – and beyond. You can watch and listen to the webinar here.

Briefly introduced by Jeff Hirota, CEO of Community Foundation Boulder County, EAG Steering Committee member Hillary Hall kicked off the Zoom webinar by making the case why now is the time to move on issues of sustainability – from transportation to equity concerns – in a holistic, collaborative approach between environmental philanthropists and our local government.
“This work matters more than ever,” she said, noting the related imperative to make the most of donors’ philanthropic dollars.
Webinar participants were introduced to local donors and advocates who are fighting for and supporting our shared environment; and learned about publicly-led efforts to address environmental sustainability throughout Boulder County, how those programs are funded, and where funding gaps exist.
Panelist Lisa Knoblauch – Sustainability Program Manager for the City of Longmont, who has extensive experience in engaging a wide variety of stakeholders in the community development process, with an emphasis on equity and inclusion in city planning and decision-making – shared the aim of Longmont’s Just Transition Plan to create equitable climate action for frontline communities. Tenets thereof include using racial and economic analysis to drive decisions, and using targeted strategies that create both environmental and economic benefits for all – including those in underserved and underrepresented populations.
According to Lisa, the bottom line is “moving from an extractive economy to regenerative economy.”
Panelist Susie Strife – Director of Sustainability, Climate Action and Resilience for Boulder County – leads our county’s efforts to strengthen its status as a national leader in sustainability. Specifically, she directs and manages all county sustainability efforts, policies, and programs with a special focus on clean energy, finance, and climate action. In this webinar, she described the costs of climate change – in terms of the costs of our roads, bridges, and increased cooling needs –, as wells as climate-specific strategies to reduce these costs. She further outlined sources of greenhouse gases in Boulder County (e.g., commercial/industrial, residential heating and lighting, and transportation).
“It all starts in our homes, businesses, and commutes,” she said. According to Susie, equity-oriented clean energy solution include access to solar and other energy upgrade with the help of advisors who point the way toward rebates; workforce development for unemployed Boulder County residents to create a pipeline of trained professionals in new industries; and local food and agriculture efforts that ensure healthy food access, carbon sequestration, compost facilities, and more.
Rounding out the panel, and speaking to policy and regional partnerships, Jonathan Koehn – Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer for the City of Boulder – described the evolving role of local communities, including “cities needing to work effectively outside their boundaries, and that success comes from forging new and creative partnerships toward progressive policies.


Defining “sustainability”

Boulder County
The use, development, and protection of resources in a way that enables residents to meet their needs and maintain a high quality of life, without compromising the ability of future residents to do the same. Boulder County values balancing a strong economy, protection of the environment, and social equity.
City of BoulderTaking bold, innovative, and collaborative actions to create systemic change that equitably addresses the global climate crisis and ensures quality of life in Boulder and beyond. 
Longmont Sustainability Plan: Meeting all our current needs in a manner that does not prevent future generations from meeting all their needs. On a more functional level, sustainable actions are those that protect and enhance our economic, environmental, and social resources so that future generations will enjoy a quality of life equal to or greater than our own. Sustainability requires that the balance and synergy between environmental, economic, and social factors be considered when making decisions and acting on those decisions.

Additional resources:

Thanks to our planning committee for this event:
Sue Anderson, Dorothy Cohen, and Randy Snodgrass
And thanks to the EAG steering committee:
Sue Anderson, Len Berman, Dorothy Cohen, Jennie Curtis, Steve Emmet-Mattox, Hillary Hall, Kezha Hatier-Riess, Chan Mortimer, John Powers, Randy Snodgrass
Your Community Foundation’s Environmental Affinity Group (EAG) convenes and inspires Boulder County environmental donors, building a connected and engaged community around environmental issues, connecting donors with environmental organizations, and providing opportunities for effective grantmaking. To learn more about the EAG and to get involved, contact Peggy Driscoll, Major Gifts Officer.