Location: Washington, D.C. | Client: Georgetown Climate Center and District Department of Energy and Environment | Project Date: October 2017 – July 2018
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Georgetown Climate Center (GCC), in partnership with The District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) was seeking to infuse equity into a community engagement process aimed at developing implementation strategies for two of the District’s priority climate initiatives – the Climate Ready DC and Clean Energy DC plans – with a specific focus on the Watts Branch tributary and surrounding neighborhoods in Northeast, D.C. Without a seat at the decision-making table, Ward 7 in Watts Branch has experienced disinvestment, disproportionate environmental impacts and now early stages of gentrification.
Skeo designed and presented an Equity Training for GCC and DOEE to give staff a shared language for engaging with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues as they support the development of a multi-stakeholder Equity Advisory Group (EAG) in the Ward 7 community. Skeo guided the EAG formation strategy, including conducting interviews and supporting the selection process to ensure a broad and diverse representation. Skeo then co-designed the process, parameters and ground rules in collaboration with EAG membership. Skeo facilitated the EAG over a series of eight meetings to build the organizational capacity of the EAG and develop community-based climate and energy equity recommendations through a consensus-based decision-making process. To fully support the EAG, Skeo provided the members equity incentives including dinner at each meeting, childcare and a participation stipend.
Skeo’s facilitation and meeting design support helped to build the organizational capacity necessary for the EAG to develop community-based climate equity recommendations that will guide implementation of the District’s new climate and energy initiatives. This process resulted in unanimous EAG recommendations to guide the District’s new climate and energy initiatives, a new model equity process adopted by the DOEE and significant relationship-building between the District and the residents of Ward 7 that has led to engagement by EAG members in other planning and sustainability efforts.
 These recommendations from the Far Northeast Ward 7 Equity Advisory Group to the District Department of Energy and Environment were supported by Skeo Solutions, Inc. and the Georgetown Climate Center. This project was part of the Partners for Places Equity Pilot Initiative—a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. We would like to thank Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, Prince Charitable Trusts, the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation for their generous support.