The City of Oakland is dedicated to becoming a leader in responding to the climate crisis through ambitious policy and racially equitable implementation plans. The FUSE Executive Fellow will partner with FUSE Corps to identify and assess feasibility of establishing Resilience Hubs in Oakland’s frontline communities, helping residents mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis in ways that improve racial equity across the city.
Fellowship Dates: October 24, 2022 – October 23, 2023
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE Corps is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
Like many cities across America, the City of Oakland, CA is experiencing climate change in the form of historic droughts, record-breaking heat, and devastating wildfires that have taken lives, displaced community members, and stressed infrastructure. Oakland’s frontline communities have done the least to create the climate crisis, yet they are bearing the greatest burden of its impacts (e.g., African American, Latino, children, and elderly populations experience higher mortality rates during Oakland’s extreme heat events). These communities face intersecting disparities, including racial discrimination, poverty, disability, housing insecurity, linguistic isolation, poor air quality, and more, which magnify climate threats. As a result, they are often the least able to adapt, resist, or recover from climate impacts.
Oakland is committed to addressing these disparities and becoming a leader in responding to the climate crisis through ambitious policy and racially equitable implementation planning. In 2020, the city approved a new Equitable Climate Action Plan (ECAP) to build climate resilience and accomplish a just transition to a low-carbon economy through an equity- and community-driven approach. One of the ECAP’s first priorities is to improve community resilience by creating ‘Resilience Hubs’- physical spaces with supportive infrastructure and resources to help people prepare for, reliably serve as places of refuge, and facilitate faster recovery during adverse events such as smoke days, extreme heat, and power outages. These facilities will respond to hyper-local, neighborhood-based priorities and climate hazards as well as support community-building and every-day resilience during normal times.
Oakland will partner with FUSE Corps to identify and assess the feasibility of establishing Resilience Hubs in frontline communities, helping residents mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis in ways that improve racial equity across the city. The FUSE Executive Fellow will: engage with stakeholders to gain an understanding of community resilience needs; act as a liaison between city departments and community stakeholders; and assess and recommend plans for pilot resilience hub facilities. This work will help support the city’s goal of ensuring that all of Oakland’s communities are resilient to the foreseeable impacts of climate change by 2030.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.
Beginning in October 2022, the FUSE Executive Fellow will work with city and community stakeholders to research and plan the development of trusted community-serving resilience hub facilities that support residents year-round and provide resource distribution and onsite services before, during, and after a climate hazard event. Ultimately, this will alleviate racial disparities and the disproportionate impacts of the climate crisis and its root causes on frontline communities in Oakland, ensuring their full representation in the development and implementation of resilience hubs.
The Executive Fellow will begin by conducting a listening tour with relevant stakeholders including Oakland Public Works – Environmental Services Division, Capital Improvements Program Advisory Committee, Planning and Building Department, Office of Emergency Services (OFD), Office of Sustainability and Resilience, and other local Executive Fellows to understand the landscape regarding current climate resilience facilities in Oakland. They will also closely engage with community members to understand the type of activities, resources, services, and functionality that high-risk, historically disinvested communities are interested in having at resilience hubs. Beyond trust and relationship building, the Executive Fellow will also lead educational workshops to improve community knowledge on the needs and purpose of resilience hubs as well as the goals of ECAP.
The Executive Fellow will center frontline communities in this listening tour to prioritize establishing resilience hubs, providing resilience resources, and establishing partnerships with community groups in the most climate vulnerable communities in Oakland. This will largely include the flatlands and the Interstate 880 corridor, where generations of industry have left these communities with the worst air and soil pollution, traffic congestion, and diesel particulate exposure, and the least access to nature and healthy food.
The Executive Fellow will then work to identify the best hub facility locations for priority neighborhoods, analyze buildings for potential improvements, and organize and present information to city planners, including formal recommendations for resilience hubs. This will include extensively assessing the viability and potential impact of two pre-existing proposed sites for immediate development.
As a corollary to the resilience hubs, the Executive Fellow will also support the development and launch of Community Emergency Hubs. Based on the model created in the City of Seattle, these Hubs serve as a physical location for community members to gather after a disaster, provide an analog communications system to maximize distribution of local resources and assets, and provide a link between neighborhoods and the City’s central emergency services functions. The Executive Fellow will support the Oakland Fire Department in identifying potential locations for these hubs (which may overlap with facilities for Resilience Hubs), support establishment of such Hubs as part of a network for frontline communities of Oakland, and assist with integrating the Hubs into the City’s disaster response and recovery documents.
The Executive Fellow will then work to identify long term funding opportunities to ensure program sustainability. This will include evaluating currently available funding opportunities to identify gaps that should be filled with supplemental funding for resilience hub design and construction. This will include identifying and writing proposals for potential grant funding from federal, state, and private sources such as the Strategic Growth Council.
By October 2023, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Conduct a thorough review of the current landscape- Conduct a listening tour to become familiar with the Resilience Hub ECAP plan and departmental needs/opinions; participate in meetings with all relevant stakeholders including city departments and community members to better understand their perspectives, priorities, and concerns with regard to community resilience hubs, ensuring community needs and equity for historically disinvested priority neighborhoods is centered in all work; host community knowledge workshops to build relationships and trust with potential facility users
- Create Resilience Hub development recommendations – Conduct site identification/assessment, capital planning, and planning and building activities to make formal recommendations for pilot resilience hub sites; identify funding opportunities for long-term program operation and expansion; work with leadership across agencies and departments to procure supplementary funding through successful grant proposals
- Complete Community Emergency Hub efforts – Assist OFD in the identification, review, and establishment of public facilities as Community Emergency Hubs; assist in incorporating Hub locations and functions in the City’s disaster response and recovery documents; support or conduct community workshops in support of Community Emergency Hubs
- Executive Sponsor – Joe DeVries, Chief Resilience Officer and Deputy City Administrator, City Administrator’s Office
- Project Supervisor – Daniel Hamilton, Sustainability and Resilience Director, City Administrator’s Office
- Project Advisor – Jessica Feil, Manager, Office of Emergency Services, Oakland Fire Department
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in stakeholder facilitation and engagement, and architecture, construction management, and/or engineering is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
- Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.