Equity in Practice

Applying Equity to Our Work

SSDN Members' Equity Statement

SSDN members know inequities in our systems and policies limit positive outcomes and quality of life for all of us. Members are committed to establishing and advancing equitable communities for all, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, economic status or any other status. Additionally, members also know that race and ethnicity are the primary predictors of a person’s outcomes across all social indicators and societal systems. Therefore, the network prioritizes racial and ethnic equity to dismantle the policies and systems that have created and sustained these inequities. When we achieve racial and ethnic equity, we believe that all people in the region will benefit.

Additionally, SSDN members recognize that those who contribute the least to climate change are those that are most vulnerable to the threats caused by a changing climate. Therefore, SSDN members have a unique responsibility in their roles to address climate equity, which involves addressing:

Responsibilities for greenhouse gas emissions contributions and generators;

Disproportionate distribution of climate change burdens and vulnerabilities; and

Just distribution of the benefits of climate protection efforts.

This requires climate strategies that deal with the systems that contribute to climate change, the conditions that perpetuate existing inequities, and the effects of climate change and their distribution. SSDN members believe that the actions local governments take to adapt to or mitigate climate change must provide benefits across the community, and at the very least not cause more harm to those in their communities who have been or will be most affected by climate change.

No matter where members are in their efforts, they are committed to challenging the ways in which racism, inequality, and privilege intersect with their work to address climate change.


Achieving our vision for community-driven climate work in the Southeast

December 2, 2022

by Meg Jamison, Executive Director In 2017, when SSDN set out to equip local governments to execute on a new program focus, we could not have known the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic would impose on our work – nor could we have imagined the creative ways our grantees and partners would overcome those challenges.…

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Community partnerships power the City of Durham’s successful energy efficiency and home repair program

October 20, 2022

On a hot and humid afternoon in the summer of 2019, a severe thunderstorm hit Durham, North Carolina.   Heavy winds lashed the area, felling large trees that blocked roads and damaged homes. The storm dropped vast amounts of rain that left many residential yards looking more like swamps than places for kids to play and…

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Equipping vulnerable communities to navigate extreme weather, health disruptions, and other emergencies with Resilience Hubs

August 3, 2022

As the impacts of climate change mount, heightened weather and health disruptions are posed to local governments, organizations, and communities to navigate: heat waves, polar vortexes, storms… and pandemics, just to name a few.  In 2019 and preceding years, Fulton County, Georgia, was dealing with several of these disruptions, and realized they needed to enhance…

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Strong partnerships with community organizations, local governments, key to Keep Safe Miami resilience program

July 19, 2022

Resilience is a journey, and the sustainability staff at the City of Miami are determined to reach their destination. The ever-progressing impacts of climate change across south Florida don’t make the road easy, particularly for those living in the area’s affordable housing communities. But working alongside strong community partners like Enterprise Community Partners, and others,…

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SSDN Communities Make Strides in Participatory Engagement, Supported by 2021 Community Collaboration Catalyst MicroGrant Award

June 29, 2022

With support from The Kresge Foundation, SSDN launched its new Community Collaboration Catalyst Micro Grant Program in 2021. This program provided small grants to local government and community partnerships for the purposes of supporting equity-centered community leadership and engagement in local climate and resilience planning and program development. Grantees tested innovative approaches to engagement for…

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Knoxville’s long term commitment to energy efficiency and developing equity partnerships pays dividends for struggling residents

March 18, 2022

As any local government official knows well, strong community partnerships aren’t developed overnight. Establishing ties that yield meaningful impacts takes time to cultivate and a commitment to shared goals.  The City of Knoxville knows a thing or two about what it takes to form a solid partnership and, through their long term commitment to equity-centered…

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Town of Cary, NC Supports the Walnut Creek Watershed

February 3, 2022

In 2018, SSDN awarded the Town of Cary a grant through its Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund program, supported by Kresge Foundation and The Kendeda Fund. This award catalyzed the Town’s investment in watershed protection and restoration, and bolstered its leadership as the headwaters of Walnut Creek, the critical watershed in the Research/Triangle area of North…

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Nashville’s Partnership with Goodwill Industries Leads to Green Jobs for the City

May 20, 2021

Resilience is the result of sustainability being the driving force of a community’s growth. With this in mind, SSDN’s Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund (SSCF) provides governments in the Southeast with the financial capacity to foster tangible, resilient growth in their communities. Equipped with a $300,000 grant from SSDN, Tennessee homeowners are now able to rely…

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A Green Lining to New Orleans Storm Clouds: How a new nonprofit coalition is teaching neighbors how they can create solutions for flooding in their community

May 15, 2020

A new nonprofit coalition called Umbrella is teaching neighbors in New Orleans Hoffman Triangle how they can create solutions for flooding in their community

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Connections Create a More Sustainable Tennessee Valley

April 3, 2019

Tennessee and Alabama local governments are building relationships with TVA to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and work toward alternative power sources.

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