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April 2019 Newsletter

Greetings RE-AMPers!

Happy Earth Day! This past month has been especially busy and exciting. The Illinois Climate Table held a Downstate Caucus Summit on Equitable Deep Decarbonization. The RE-AMP Network was also recently able to fund several member organizations through the Rapid Response Fund. Read more about the Downstate Caucus Summit, Rapid Response funding, and check out some preliminary results from our Network Survey in the Collective Strategy section below. 2019 Steering Committee elections are underway and candidate applications are now available! See details on how to apply and learn about our five new members who joined recently in our Connections section. You’ll also find an update on our social systems map there as well. Finally, it’s time to register for the Annual Meeting! Find out more details about that and other events in our Capacity Building section.

Have a story to share? Connect with Community Manager, Sarah Ann Shanahan today at


Meet Our Newest Network Members!

Our Streets MPLS (Full)- Ashwat Narayanan,

“We advocate for more livable streets that encourage non-auto trips, that are a key part of reducing carbon emissions from transportation. We want to connect with the other RE-AMP members working on similar issues, while also sharing our expertise.”


University of Northern Iowa, Center for Energy and Environmental Education (Full)- Eric Giddens,

“We work with local governments in Iowa to develop climate action plans. As a part of an institution of higher education, one of our goals is to educate students, many of whom will become leaders in Iowa communities, about the issue of climate change, the urgency of acting, the potential solutions, and the understanding that this work will strengthen our communities. Our values are directly aligned with those of RE-AMP, and our work will be strengthened by being a part of this Network.”


OneMN (Ally)- Brett Buckner, 

“Our communities deserve to be at the table of such an important process. By joining in with this large Network we will be able to expand our network and our ability to move ideas together.”



Nachy Kanfer, Donovan Energy (Individual)-

“I was a member of RE-AMP for over 10 years through my previous employer, Sierra Club. I was active in the Coal Working Group and for several years on the Steering Committee. Now that I’ve left Sierra Club, I want to stay engaged in the Network in order to maintain relationships and stay part of the Midwest climate movement.”


Heather Cusick, Consultant (Individual)-

Before becoming a consultant, Heather was with the Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign. She’s active in electric sector decarbonization with current focus on electric co-ops.

Please take some time to welcome our newest members to the Network!


Steering Committee Candidate Applications Available 

Our 2019 Steering Committee elections are now underway! If you are interested in running for a Steering Committee seat, please submit an online candidate application, available at:

Please note: the deadline to apply is Monday, May 13, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. Central Time. Please refer to the 2019 Elections Guide for detailed information about the elections process and timeline.

The application will ask for the following information:

  • Contact information
  • Candidate statement
  • Individuals from three RE-AMP member organizations who support your candidacy
  • Experiential and demographic information

The candidate statement should include:

  • Why you are interested in serving on the RE-AMP Network Steering Committee
  • Your history of involvement and collaboration in the Network

Candidates must also have an updated profile on the RE-AMP Commons that includes contact information and photo.

The 2019 elections for Steering Committee seats have been scheduled to overlap with the RE-AMP Annual Meeting. Candidates will be announced prior to the Annual Meeting, with online voting ending on June 4, 2019. We strongly encourage all candidates to attend the Annual Meeting, where there will be time to network with fellow RE-AMP members (and ask for their votes)!

2019 RE-AMP Steering Committee Elections Timeline:

  • May 13: Deadline to submit candidate applications
  • May 22: Candidate statements posted to Commons
  • May 24: Balloting open; Ballot link made available to primary contacts at Full Member organizations
  • June 4: Voting closes
  • June 5: Election results announced

Please contact Melissa Gavin, Chief Network Officer, at with any questions about the Steering Committee elections process.


Exploring RE-AMP’s Social Systems Map by Sarah Ann Shanahan, Director of Community Management

We’ve been building out our Network map and this past month we held a town hall to show members ways to use it and to get feedback on their experience so that we can continue to improve it. Just like our shared analysis, this map is an ever changing reflection of what we know about the Network.The map allows us to find characteristics and to see relationships between people and parts of the Network.

Here’s some of the different ways that we can view the Network through our Social Systems Map.

  • Filtering: Lets us see a part of the system by removing stuff from the map that doesn’t have the characteristics we are looking for or the criteria we select. While we filter, we are able to still look at the relationships between people who fit the filters we select. For example, who is working with rural communities or who is working with those communities in Minnesota? We can use the gray buttons on the map to filter for these type of characteristic.

  • Clustering: Lets us see the whole part of the system by looking at the connection of people to parts of the Network but does not look at the relationships between people. For example, what expertise do our member organizations have?

  • Showcasing: Lets us the see the greater whole by highlighting characteristics or criteria we select as well as the relationships between people.

Inspired or intrigued? Contact Community Manager, Sarah Ann Shanahan for more information or to be invited to join the map!


Equity Analysis: Phase One

Many thanks to Alexis Goggans from Be Bold Services for guiding us through the first of a two-phase equity analysis. Many of you took a survey she administered in January, offered your time for an interview, or otherwise contributed. Many others of you joined the two listening sessions she convened where she laid out her recommendations. You can find a recording of one of those sessions on the webinars page on the Commons. All the materials she has prepared so far can be found in our file library. Plan to spend some time thinking through some of these recommendations at this year’s Annual Meeting!

Alexis is now working on the second phase of the analysis, which involves scoping opportunities and challenges of equitably decarbonizing transportation in our region.


Collective Strategy

Downstate Caucus Ramps up for Equitable Deep Decarbonization!

When the RE-AMP Network invited State Tables to submit proposals for holding state-based Equitable Deep Decarbonization Summits, some members of the Illinois Climate Table had an even better idea–hold a summit specific to Downstate Illinois.

The planning committee of Pam Richart (Ecojustice Collaborative), Gregory Norris (ACES 4 Youth), Scott Allen (Citizens Utility Board), and Carol Hays (Strategic Collaboration Group) all wanted to build off previous work in which they had identified seven key strategies, based on the Drawdown research, that have the potential to revitalize their region while meaningfully reducing carbon pollution. Now, they want to center equity before developing strategies to move the work forward.

Some RE-AMP members stepped forward to provide additional funding to sponsor participants or to ensure that an equity training could be held. These groups were Prairie Rivers Network, Elevate Energy, and Faith in Place. Other individual participants chipped in to help cover costs.

They intentionally recruited beyond their existing membership in order to get a greater cross-spectrum of people who call Downstate Illinois home (and though you might get five different answers if you ask five different people what constitutes Downstate Illinois, everyone agrees that it isn’t Chicago!).

The bulk of the first day was spent using social determinants of health as a way to explore how root causes of inequitable structures impact our choices, and how to create pathways that move us toward equity. Before closing for the day, we developed some draft guiding principles to ground decisions about what to work on, who to build power with, and how to create strategies. These principles were:

Guiding principles

We Want                            Rather than

Valor                                      Fear

Hope                                      Stagnation

Mindfulness                         Distractions

Amplify Voice                      Ignore

Humility                               Pride

Fairness                                Exclusion / Privilege

On the second day, we engaged deeply with the seven strategies the caucus had already been developing. These are:

  • Climate and resilience planning
  • Energy efficiency
  • Environmental Justice
  • Energy transformation
  • Organic waste diversion
  • Regenerative agriculture and afforestation
  • Transforming the transportation and mobility system

We first discussed how these are already connected, and then got more specific about how this work couldbe moved forward by members of the group. Plans were made to move forward on the following topics:

  • Afforestation
  • Hemp
  • Community Resilience and Green Infrastructure
  • Organic Waste Diversion and Plastics
  • Biochar and Farming/Regenerative Agriculture
  • Non-regulated utilities; Community Solar; Solar for All; and Workforce Development

Reach out to any member of the planning committee if you want to get involved!



Update from the Steering Committee by Jessica Collingsworth, Union of Concerned Scientists

On the Steering Committee’s March call we discussed the upcoming in-person Steering Committee Meeting on April 8-9 in Chicago where we will check in on the RE-AMP Equity Survey results, discuss the equitable deep decarbonization framework, and other items related to state tables and action teams. It’s a great time for Steering Committee members to get together and dig into the work ahead.

Additionally, on this month’s call, we reviewed the 2019 Network Workplan & Metrics presented by Melissa. We are off to a good 2019, being on track to achieve our goals around the equitable deep decarbonization and elections work and several RE-AMP members have been invited to speak about the work of the network. The Equity Analysis is ongoing and there are listening sessions coming up (3/27 and 4/4) based on survey responses and recommendations.

Sean presented on the 2020 Midwest Elections and what role the RE-AMP Network can play.  April will be for goal-setting for election work. Our guideposts for this work are to tap into a wide range of tactics and strategies and to coordinate regionally around them. There are several different types of activities that can be explored including town halls, education, get out the vote campaigns, media, forums and debates, and canvassing and voter outreach. Desired outcomes of the election work are that equity is reflected in any state energy legislative package, voter rights and access to voting is protected, information is shared across the network on what groups are doing, and several other items.

Lastly, we heard a report out from the Wisconsin Equitable Deep Decarbonization Summit which was held in Madison. The event included good stakeholder analysis to get more clarity around inclusion and who should be involved as well as practical next steps to take to ensure future summits are more diverse.

Lots of exciting work happening within the network, and much more to come in the months ahead including the Annual Meeting in June.


Membership Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s member survey! This year we had 91 individuals who responded which was slightly lower than last year’s (99 individuals responded in 2018). We know there have been a lot of requests for member input this year (e.g. membership renewal, equity survey) so we appreciate your participation very much!

Key Takeaways

  • We’re heading in the right direction. In general, members say RE-AMP is heading in right direction (94%) and members agree with the equity statement the Steering Committee adopted to guide their decision making (86%)
  • RE-AMP’s focus on equity is rippling across the Midwest. Seventy-two percent of survey participants indicated that RE-AMP’s focus on equity is informing their work, changing how they work and what they work on.  
  • An improved North Star Goal. In last year’s survey, 73% of participants reported that they stood squarely behind our goal. This year, nearly 90% of participants reported they stand squarely behind the updated North Star Goal to equitably eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  • RE-AMP’s Equitable Deep Decarbonization framework is galvanizing members. Over 80% of members said that the idea to “include everyone, electrify everything and decarbonize electricity” helps guide their work to be part of the greater whole.
  • Member satisfaction is up. Almost all programs and services increased in satisfaction. This includes the Annual Meeting, Organizing Hub services, webinars, peer learning circles, and capacity trainings. State table satisication dropped by 2% but fewer respondents reported feel like it’s a waste of time.  The number of members who say that “Because of RE-AMP collaboration, advocates are using better strategy” increased from last year (82% in 2019 compared to 70 percent in 2018).
  • What members want to see change: campaign focus and funding. Participants indicated that an increased focus on campaigns would be an improvement they’d like to see at their State Table. Action Team satisfaction increased, but members cited the need for more financial resources for Action Teams.

Staff and Steering Committee are digging deeper into the details to help inform our work going forward. We do know that we’ll continue to deepen our members understanding of equity and to think about ways that we can help our State Tables focus their work.

Congratulations to our ten randomly drawn winners who received either a mug, water bottle, or a scholarship to attend the Annual Meeting!

  • Rachel Myslivy, Climate + Energy Project
  • Thom Cmar, Earthjustice
  • Timothy Den Herder Thomas- Grand Aspirations
  • Liz Kirkwood, For Love of Water (FLOW)
  • Jen Giegerich, Wisconsin Conservation Voters
  • Cheryl Johnson, People for Community Recovery
  • Lola Schoenrich, Great Plains Institute
  • Miguel Yanez, Environmental and Energy Study Institute
  • Brett Benson, MN350
  • Kate Madigan, Michigan Environmental Council

Thank you again to everyone who responded to the survey!


Rapid Response Awards

The Midwest Rapid Response Fund is a pool of quick-response funds administered by the RE-AMP Network.  Eligible applicants are organizational members of the RE-AMP Network implementing RE-AMP’s energy efficiency and clean energy goals and priority strategies.

Here’s a few of the most recent grants awarded!

  • Winnishiek Energy District ($25,000): To support intervention efforts in Alliant Energy’s 2019 rate case, which includes organizing and mobilizing diverse stakeholders to engage in the rate case and working to block or limit a proposed increase on fixed charges and proposed changes to Alliant’s net metering tariff.
  • Institute for Local Self Reliance ($8,000): To develop and share educational materials regarding the positive impact of community solar gardens in Minnesota.
  • Ohio Citizen Action ($25,000): To organize and mobilize Ohioans in opposition to a nuclear bailout effort by First Energy.
  • Iowa Environmental Council ($16,200): To develop and share educational materials regarding the positive impact of net metering in Iowa.

For more information about the fund please visit the Rapid Response Fund page on the Commons.


Capacity Building

Register for the 2019 RE-AMP Annual Meeting:

Rooted and Connected for Equitable Climate Action in the Heartland


June 3-5th

Discovery World

500 N. Harbor Dr.

Milwaukee, WI 53202

Register today!

We’ll be offering a pre-conference equity workshop on June 3rd before we officially welcome attendees to the 2019 Annual Meeting. That day will be spent exploring the relationship between analysis and action and highlight some vexing issues. On June 4th we’ll be diving into the equity analysis and have time for open space before we leave for a tour of Milwaukee. We’ll get to see first hand some of the ways that the city is mitigating climate and hear from local community leaders. We’ll wrap up on June 5th by exploring what role the Network might play in elections and reflecting on what we’ve learned over the past three days.


Registration is free for the first attendee from each member group. Members are welcome to send more than one attendee for an additional charge. Registration is open from April 15-May 5th.

Please see the Annual Meetings page on the Commons for more detailed information on the agenda, lodging, meals, and RE-AMP’s Travel Assistance Policy!


Upcoming Events

State Table Coordinators Leadership Retreat | April 23-25th

Equitable Local 100% Clean & Renewable Energy Action Team | April 29th

Lunch & Learn Network Webinar: Green New Deal | April 29th

RE-AMP Steering Committee Meeting | May 21st

RE-AMP Annual Meeting | June 3-5th


In case you missed the Equity Analysis Listening Session you can catch that and other past webinars on the Commons.

Equity Analysis Listening Session | April 2019 | Video Recording

This is an overview of first phase of an equity analysis of the RE-AMP Network conducted by Alexis Goggans of Be Bold Services. The materials related to this phase of the analysis can be found here.



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