ioby is always looking to partner with other organizations innovating in the civic leadership world. Today, we’re proud to announce our new partnership with Sustainable CT, leading innovation in sustainability and equity work inside government.
Sustainable CT runs a voluntary certification program for municipalities in Connecticut and has been operational since 2016. The model is not unique to Connecticut: similar programs have been in place in New Jersey for 10 years and in Maryland for 8 years. We’ve been familiar with it for a long time at ioby through our work supporting Sustainable Jersey City, and lifted up their work on green infrastructure.
So, when we had the opportunity to explore an innovative new partnership with Sustainable CT, it was easy for us to imagine how we might work together. Even so, the depth of the partnership we have today was beyond the scope of our imagination and we couldn’t be more excited.
The Sustainable CT partnership with ioby is the brainchild of Lynn Stoddard at Sustainable CT, Bryan Garcia from CT Green Bank and Michelle Knapik at the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation. The goal was to create a flexible source of funding for community sustainability projects in Connecticut that also earn municipalities points towards Sustainable CT certification.
In partnership with ioby, donors can contribute to sustainability projects in Connecticut, and have their gifts matched dollar for dollar up to $25,000, thanks to funding from the Smart Seed Fund and the Tremaine Foundation.
This is awesome because it means that projects that funding for sustainability projects in Connecticut, like community gardens and bike paths, will get their funding faster and be able to build public support for their projects at the same time. Funding is important, but we know from large scale capital projects that we’ve supported in the past like the Hampline in Memphis that public support gained through crowdfunding can often be even more useful to project leaders than the actual funding. And with projects like the Firefly Trail in Georgia, whose crowdfunding campaign led directly to $16 million in state transportation funding, the smaller campaign built momentum for the public investment.
And because this sustainability certification program is a national framework and part of the Sustainable States Network, we have an opportunity to test this model with trusted partners in Connecticut, and possibly replicate it.
But what I am most excited about in this partnership is to learn with Sustainable CT about how they approach equity and inclusion. Like ioby, Sustainable CT believes equity is a critical part of a more sustainable future, so they’ve made addressing equity a required part of the process for any town seeking certification. They provide workshops and coaching to help towns evaluate what equity looks like in their community and to bring more voices to the table. To become certified, municipalities are required to document and describe their equity journeys—how they reached more deeply into their communities, what they learned, and how they changed their policies and practices as a result of their learning.
As we’re working through ioby’s own framework for racial equity, we couldn’t ask for a better partner to learn with. And in the process, we have a chance to support our collective goals to make sustainability work more equitable and inclusive through providing a flexible funding source available to all residents of a community.
See you around the neighborhood!
CEO & co-founder