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The Community Leaders Fellowship Program is a six session bi-weekly virtual program Wednesday, April 6 – Wednesday, June 15, for emerging community leaders to increase their understanding of water policy, advocacy, equity, organizing, and communications while expanding their networks.

Local leaders will build their capacity to affect the implementation of the combined sewer overflow (CSO) Long Term Control Plans and longer-term decisions related to climate change, flooding, and infrastructure and gain permanent skills and relationships that endure beyond this project. Potential for in-person events in addition to these sessions based on interest and availability.

This program will be facilitated by experts in water policy, environmental justice, climate change, data, community organizing, and policy. Check back here for guest speakers.

The program is free and participants will receive a $600 stipend, please note stipends are dependent on attending the sessions. Participants who complete the program will receive a letter for certification. Space is limited so apply soon.

Session One: Communicating Your Story Effectively 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 6:30 – 8:00pm

Community members will share their stormwater stories and learn how to communicate these stories to different audiences including the press, decision-makers, and the public. 

Session Two: Racial Equity and Water Systems 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022 6:30 – 8:00pm

Community members will discuss how structural racism plays out in New Jersey’s water system and policies. Participants will learn how to advance racial equity in water policy and investments.

Session Three: Water Policy and Community Organizing

Wednesday May 4, 2022 6:30 – 8:00pm

Community leaders will learn about municipal ordinances that could be strengthened or introduced and that may reduce flooding and combined sewer overflows. They will learn about the city departments, boards, and commissions that make decisions that influence water policy. 

Session Four: Using Data for Community Change

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 6:30 – 8:00pm

Participants will learn how to use Jersey WaterCheck, the New Jersey Water Risk and Equity Map, and other resources to identify their communities’ needs and make the case for targeting infrastructure investments to the areas with the highest need.

Session Five: Zoning and Planning for Stormwater

Wednesday, June 1, 2022 6:30 – 8:00pm

Participants will learn how zoning and planning impacts flooding. They will identify the opportunities—or lack of opportunities—for public engagement in land use decision-making and the effectiveness of municipal communications or outreach to the public regarding key land use decisions that impact flooding and combined sewer overflows.  

Session Six: Leading In with Climate Change

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 6:30 – 8:00pm

Community members will learn how climate change is impacting frontline communities and learn about the tools and resources available to ensure that investments in wastewater infrastructure boost resilience.

Potential for additional in-person gatherings depending on participants’ availability and comfort level, as well as an added session on capacity building.