The Transformative Power of Partnership- Part II
Author’s note: This is the second blog in a series we’re writing on the Transformative Power of Partnership, highlighting the lessons learned and successes The Greenlining Institute, Forth, and TEEM have had advancing equitable clean mobility together. To learn more about Greenlining and Forth’s partnership on TEEM, check out our first blog in this series.
We are just days away from Forth’s Roadmap Conference, a national event that will bring together communities across the country to discuss clean mobility options including electric, smart, and shared mobility. The Towards Equitable Electric Mobility (TEEM) community of practice is a proud contributor to the conference. The Greenlining Institute and Forth launched the Towards Equitable Electric Mobility Community of Practice in 2020. TEEM is a peer-to-peer community of advocates that share policy goals, build capacity, and develop a mutual commitment towards advancing racial equity in electric mobility and climate change goals. The cohort includes organizations from Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Members of the TEEM cohort will be featured throughout the Roadmap Conference, speaking to the intersections of transportation electrification and equity at the Win Federal Funding for Electric Mobility in Your Community Workshop and on panels, including Community Perspectives on Transportation Electrification.
Building off momentum from the last Annual Convening, in 2023 TEEM cohort members developed and began to implement strategies to advance equitable electric mobility. The deep partnerships that have been cultivated through TEEM have paved the way for creative approaches to mobility that are responsive to the unique local contexts and opportunities within TEEM states. Ultimately, these partnerships have enabled TEEM’s cohort members to have a greater impact in their work.
Recent wins TEEM cohort members have secured include:
- Colorado: The Colorado cohort recently welcomed Northeast Transportation Connections (NETC) to the TEEM Colorado cohort. NETC is an equity focused transportation management association focused on improving air quality and reducing congestion. The cohort will work with NETC to identify geographic focus and project scope for their state strategy.
- Illinois: The Illinois cohort is working to take advantage of federal funding to increase access to charging infrastructure in charging deserts. Together, the cohort aims to work with municipalities, transportation departments, and community based organizations on proposals that will bring charging infrastructure, including community-owned charging, into underserved neighborhoods.
- Michigan: The Michigan cohort is working on a community values-based framework centering equity, justice, sustainability, and accountability as a lens through which to evaluate state infrastructure spending. The cohort will use this framework to analyze proposed and actual state spending of transportation, climate, and electrification investments, and will develop recommendations based on their findings.
- North Carolina: The North Carolina cohort is working on a statewide storytelling campaign and convening. The storytelling campaign will capture the impact of local efforts and share lessons learned from efforts across the state to advocate for equitable clean mobility. The cohort is excited to foster partnerships, sharing of best practices, and replication of projects in communities across North Carolina.
- Virginia: The Virginia cohort is building a campaign focused on increasing access to electric transportation and infrastructure through education and targeted funding. This project aims to provide communities and local governments the information they need to request and access federal funding (Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) to support equitable electric transportation.
“You have to cultivate relationships with people who can see more than you and who can see differently than you, so that together your co-imagination becomes something that actually works for everyone”– Adrienne Marie Brown
Map of the TEEM Community of Practice Cohort States For a full list of the cohort organizations, click here.
As the TEEM state cohorts secure important local and state level policy and program wins, the next step is to build on these diverse strategies and partnerships to develop the TEEM National Agenda for Equitable Electric Mobility. In April, the TEEM National cohort submitted a comment letter to the EPA Environmental & Climate Justice Block Grant Program’s Request for Information. In the letter, TEEM urged the EPA to require multi-stakeholder collaboration and prioritize projects that share decision-making power with impacted communities. TEEM also recommended the program include steps to empower multiple types of partnerships, such as coalitions and collaboratives of organizations, with peer learning opportunities and technical assistance from frontline-serving intermediaries.
Over the past two and a half years participating in TEEM, Greenlining and Forth have learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to form, sustain, and grow a thriving community of practice. As part of TEEM’s 2022 evaluation process, we sought to understand how to better operationalize equity across the community of practice. Through this evaluation we learned valuable lessons on what it takes to center grassroots organizations in equity work: including the importance of intentionally making time for relationship building, providing funding and hiring support to smaller equity groups so they can staff up to meaningfully engage, and how transparency and open dialogue around differences can help build momentum and shift power towards frontline communities.
“I think I’ve built new and deeper relationships, and prioritized equity in the work I do and how I think about building coalitions, policy etc. in a way that I may not have without activities I’m a part of like TEEM.”-Member of TEEM
Another lesson we’ve learned is that as we cultivate relationships, develop shared knowledge, and work towards our collective goals, we also improve our individual and communal effectiveness as advocates. TEEM has grown its network of partners, both in the cohort and externally, and has come a long way in building significant influence on local, state, and national transportation and climate policy. In order for TEEM to have this influence and fulfill its mission, we’re going to need continued investment and collaboration from our existing funders and partners. We’re also going to need to foster new relationships with grassroots advocates, government, philanthropy, and industry.
Organizations across the country have a huge opportunity to leverage historic levels of federal and state funding to meaningfully deliver the economic, environmental, and health benefits of clean transportation for communities that are most affected by pollution and poverty. We’re excited for TEEM to continue to evolve and grow as we work with other collaboratives, coalitions, and communities of practice along this journey.
If you’d like to learn more about TEEM, please reach out to Isa Gaillard or Alexa Diaz. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you.
Isa Gaillard is a Senior Program Manager at the Greenlining Institute. Follow him on LinkedIn.