Press Release Leaders At Catalyst Conference Take Action to Drive Equitable Climate Investment


Sacramento – During the inaugural SGC Catalyst Conference this week, 300 government, community, Tribal, finance, industry, and advocacy leaders came together to discuss existing solutions and identify actions to catalyze readiness and maximize near and long-term benefits of climate investments in frontline communities.

Governor Gavin Newsom underscored California’s commitment to addressing disparities and driving more equitable outcomes as part of historic state and federal investment. “Through unprecedented state and federal climate investments and a world-leading plan to achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2045, California continues to lead the nation in addressing the climate crisis,” said Governor Newsom in pre-recorded remarks. “Through partnerships and solutions driven by local leaders and communities, our state is committed to broadening reach and access to historic funding opportunities to communities in greatest need.”

As California and the federal government commit to embed equity as part of climate investments, including through President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-16-22, conference partners called for additional solutions and strategies to expand and catalyze funding for California’s underserved communities.

“California has long been a leader in equitable climate investment through programs like Climate Change Investments, which to date has invested over $11 billion into disadvantaged communities statewide,” said Lauren Sanchez, Senior Climate Advisor for Governor Newsom. “Over the last two days, the Catalyst Conference has brought together diverse leaders from across California and the nation to accelerate California’s climate equity agenda, in particular, to identify obstacles and opportunities that will catalyze climate investments where they’re needed most.”

“The partnerships that Conference participants initiated over the last two days will be key to catalyzing equitable climate policy implementation, and we’re excited to advance the ideas and actions the conference has generated,” said Lynn von Koch-Liebert, Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC).

Partnerships to Advance Climate Equity

  • SGC: SGC announced it will distill and continue building momentum around Conference themes and takeaways in publishing Conference Summary Papers and holding regionally based roundtable convenings. Sign up to get involved at
  • The Milken Institute: The Milken Institute announced it will create a California-specific grant matchmaking platform to connect climate infrastructure projects to funding opportunities and technical assistance through its Community Infrastructure Center. This California matchmaking portal will help fill in funding and capacity gaps that frontline communities face in working to achieve climate resilience. Communities can register their projects now at Programming will begin later this Spring.
  • Dream.Org: is launching a pilot program to empower frontline communities to unlock historic amounts of climate funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to ensure that communities most impacted by climate change are the first to benefit from these funds. Based on SGC’s Transformative Climate Communities Program, this pilot will leverage public-private partnerships to direct climate investments to communities that need them most, emulating SGC’s Centering Communities in Place-Based Investment model. Dream.Org will be working with 10 cities and communities across the U.S. including Fresno, Detroit, Savannah, Denver, and others beginning in April 2023.
  • The James Irvine Foundation: The James Irvine Foundation has announced a spring event it will cohost with the Families & Workers Fund, Energy Foundation, and Stanford PACS to convene funders of climate and workforce issues about opportunities to collaborate.
  • Elemental Excelerator: During the Conference, Climate-change-focused nonprofit Elemental Excelerator presented a video documentary on the work of Better Neighborhoods Same Neighbors, a community-led initiative in East Oakland awarded $28.2 million in funding through SGC’s Transformative Climate Communities Program. Elemental Excelerator encourages local leaders and communities to host screening events for "Going Deep," a short film designed to spark discussions and encourage collaboration between organizations and communities nationwide. Learn more about "Going Deep" and how to arrange a screening.
  • California 100: California 100 released the new Beyond Strategic Planning: A Foresight Toolkit for Decision Makers which was co-designed with the School of International Futures to provide agency, department, and organizational leaders with new and innovative methods to implement practical and approachable tools for long-term success. This new toolkit will bring a modern, internationally tested approach to planning, allowing decision makers to be better prepared for their future. Download the toolkit here.
  • Greenlining Institute (GLI): GLI is launching a new initiative, Greenlining the Block, to support the leadership and expertise of communities of color to prepare for and maximize federal, state and local infrastructure investments to drive effective climate action that meets community needs. In its first round, GLI is providing capacity building funding, technical assistance, and peer-to-peer learning to nine community-based organizations across California, Colorado, Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina, and Michigan.
  • The Institute for Local Government (ILG): ILG will be hosting a series of virtual and in-person listening sessions with local government leaders to identify specific opportunities for partnership and collaboration between community leaders and their regional or local governments. Community-led and informed solutions will require creativity, understanding, and alignment. The listening sessions will identify common roadblocks and elevate promising new strategies that can be scaled statewide.

The 2023 SGC Catalyst Conference was hosted in partnership with the Milken Institute and sponsored by the James Irvine Foundation, Dream.Org, the California Endowment, Meta, the Blue Shield of California Foundation, Edison International, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), and ARUP.

Media Contact

Agustin Arreola, 279-386-2183

About the California Strategic Growth Council

The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is a 10-member council comprised of seven state agencies and three public members with the mission to build healthy, thriving, and resilient communities for all. Funded through California’s Cap and Trade system and the California General Fund, SGC’s grant programs, strategic initiatives, and interagency coordination focus on multi-benefit and community-centric solutions at the nexus of climate and equity. Since 2008, SGC has invested over $2.8 billion in projects strengthening communities and addressing climate change.