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CivicSpark Fellow Brings New Clean Energy Projects to BOOST Communities

Case Story

ILG celebrates Hannah Schanzer and the completion of her CivicSpark Fellowship. In fall 2019, Hannah came in like a firecracker, bringing her electric energy, leadership and passion for climate justice and sustainability to her service term. In partnership with ILG and the BOOST communities of Arvin and Paramount, her term at the California Energy Commission has yielded lasting capacity, new programming, and innovative resources that will serve disadvantaged communities, local governments, and the state government for years to come. In just a short time, she has catalyzed climate action in two disadvantaged communities and built creative connections between the Energy Commission’s research programs and the energy projects and policy goals of the local governments she served.

In Arvin, the ILG team collaborated with Hannah to help this small city make huge strides to address challenges related to air quality and clean energy. She paved the way for a future Arvin Clean Energy Fair (post-COVID-19), brought free solar installations to low-income community members through a new partnership with GRID Alternatives, and expanded clean transportation opportunities in the community by piloting a clean mobility needs assessment. “Hannah has been wonderful,” says Christine Viterelli, Grant Writer for the City of Arvin. “I went from being just one person to having a team behind me and that made an impact on getting things done. I couldn’t have done it by myself.”

Hannah elevated the City of Paramount’s commitments to sustainability by developing a new environmental portal to engage with community members on clean energy rebates, incentives, and resources.

Her biggest lesson learned from working with communities in different regions was that there are no one size fits all solutions. “Though both are under-resourced communities with some of the highest levels of pollution in the state, Paramount and Arvin are incredibly different in terms of their geography, prominent industries, local history, and relationships to residents and community groups,” says Hannah. “A clean energy project that is successful in Los Angeles may not yield the same positive results in the Central Valley. Taking the time to listen to the community, especially the most vulnerable residents, build relationships, and center community feedback into program design, is an essential part of climate action.”

ILG is grateful to the Energy Commission for their collaboration and commitment to building the capacity of disadvantaged communities to take on climate and energy projects. This partnership laid the groundwork for a new full-time Fellowship opportunity in the City of Arvin for the 2020-2021 service term.

ILG is thankful for the dedication Hannah brought to her Fellowship and is excited to see the next chapter in her career in climate and energy. Hannah will always be an honorary member of team ILG!

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