Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit


Accounting for the Costs of Equitable Community Engagement

The following resources and case studies provide examples of how practitioners paid for and used community engagement processes while building the economy.

Lessons Learned

  • Effective engagement processes require dedicated funds that can be used in ways that support procedural equity (e.g., providing food and childcare).
  • Running meaningful engagement meetings may require an accessible location for the community, stipends for community members, food and drinks at the sessions, childcare, and interpreters. These and other expenses support participation and create an environment for equitable engagement.
  • Accountability requires funding for sustained engagement processes throughout the planning and implementation phases.


Related Resources

Climate Adaptation Investment and the Community Reinvestment Act

This report was conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Harvard University to explore the connection between climate adaptation and resilience and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which encourages banks to invest in and address the credit needs of low- and moderate-income areas and underserved rural areas. The report points out the critical role that banks can play to facilitate engagement with low- and moderate-income (LMI) and historically marginalized communities in the post-disaster recovery processes. The CRA was enacted in 1977 and, according to the Federal Reserve, “requires the Federal Reserve and other federal banking regulators to encourage financial institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they do business, including LMI neighborhoods.” This study explores models for developing community resilience investments that may qualify for CRA credits, allowing institutions that do not traditionally focus on climate adaptation to incorporate resilience considerations while fulfilling CRA requirements.

Chester, Pennsylvania Green Stormwater Infrastructure Plan and Community-Based Public-Private Partnership

The City of Chester, Pennsylvania introduced the Chester City Green Stormwater Infrastructure Plan in 2017 as a means of addressing consistent stormwater pollution into the Delaware River, Chester Creek, and Ridley Creek watersheds. The City is working to reduce stormwater pollution through a community-based public-private partnership (CBP3) to implement its green infrastructure plan over the next several decades while investing in the city’s economic growth. A unique aspect of a community-based P3 (compared to a traditional P3) is the creation of a community-based advisory board to inform funding and investment decisions based upon community priorities. In an EPA CBP3 Guide for Local Government, EPA notes that community partnerships are the key distinction between a CBP3 and a P3: “A hallmark of the CBP3 approach is the long-term commitment between the public and private partners, as well as the partnership’s relationship with community stakeholders, such as religious and educational institutions and non-profit groups, such as watershed-related stakeholder groups.”

Massachusetts H 4835 - An Act Promoting Climate Change Adaptation, Environmental and Natural Resource Protection and Investment in Recreational Assets and Opportunity

The legislation allocates funding for an education and outreach program about climate change and its effects on low-income, environmental justice, and urban communities to increase participation in the municipal vulnerability preparedness grant program. Allocations are also made for the “acquisition, development, construction and improvement of parks in urban and suburban neighborhoods currently underserved with parks and that are consistent with attainment of environmental equity, including community engagement and planning related to these parks.” The legislation details allocations for many targeted underserved parks. For example, no less than $900,000 will go to the development of Omelia Park in the city of Gardner; and no less than $1,000,000 will be expended for maintenance and improvements to Holyoke Heritage state park in the city of Holyoke.

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