OAEC is proud to partner with the Women’s Earth Alliance US Grassroots Accelerator for Women Environmental Leaders in helping to develop the first ever accelerator program here in the USA.
In recognition of the central role that women play in environmental and climate movements and the resources they acutely need to grow their impact, the U.S. Grassroots Accelerator for Women Environmental Leaders supports women leaders from the U.S. and U.S. Territories with skills, tools, and networks critical to transforming pressing environmental and climate challenges into scalable solutions for all. As part of a 4-month incubator, participants further their work on a community-based environmental project for which they are in a leadership position. The accelerator is a collaboration with Women’s Earth Alliance and the Sierra Club who are working together to engage their local chapters and use their far reaching platforms to resource innovative grassroots projects led by women. The twenty one women were selected for the program by application and represent a wide breadth of both demographics and project issue areas. Read about the participants and their projects here.
While the majority of the 4-month training is on-line, participants had a valuable chance to make it real by gathering at OAEC to connect in person October 13-17, 2019. Participants spent the week sharing knowledge and best practices amongst themselves on subjects ranging anywhere from political campaigning and fundraising to hands-on experiential learning in earth-tending practices. There was also a focus on leadership development skills in project evaluation, data collection and assessment. One of the training days was dedicated to communications where participants produced on-line media content for their projects and got to practice and refine their fundraising pitches. Above all, the most valuable outcome of the gathering was the opportunity for deep networking, brainstorming, encouragement, and heart connection amongst the participants that they can draw from as their projects move forward.
The 2019 gathering culminated in an evening fundraising event in OAEC’s Oak Hall where participants had a chance to give their pitch in front of a large group of collaborators, advisors and potential funders from around the Bay Area. Participants also gave a presentation on the Sunday following the gathering at the Bioneers Conference.
OAEC’s Kendall Dunnigan is part of the design team for the accelerator and brings her unique expertise in curriculum development, ecology and regenerative agriculture to this incredible team of organizers, which also includes Pandora Thomas, Corrina Gould, Niria Alicia and the WEA staff. Kendall also served as host for the week-long immersive gathering at OAEC and gave presentations on water conservation and soil building pictured here giving a tour of OAEC’s composting toilets.
The next accelerator will start in early 2020. There are still a few openings. OAEC will serve as host for the in-person gathering in 2020 and will continue to provide on-going program and teaching support as the accelerator continues to be improved and eventually scaled-up to serve more women environmental leaders and their communities.