The City of Cincinnati recognizes the urgent need to address escalating threats from climate change-induced extreme weather events like flooding, landslides, and sewer backups. The FUSE Executive Fellow will engage stakeholders, develop a strategic plan, and prioritize environmental justice and equitable distribution to mitigate storm impacts.
Fellowship Dates: October 23, 2023 – October 21, 2024
Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
The City of Cincinnati recognizes the urgent need to address the increasing risks posed by extreme weather events, such as overland/flash flooding, landslides, and sewer backups, which have become more frequent and severe due to climate change. Climate change and the havoc that it is delivering to our infrastructure costs cities millions upon millions of dollars each year, not to mention the inequitable distribution of harm it causes to the collective and individual health of the underserved community. Meeting this challenge falls to the leadership of our cities to change their approach to policies and practices, harnessing the power of the opportunities that are inherent in this unique and unprecedented point in time.
The City of Cincinnati and FUSE collaboration aims to achieve goals outlined in the 2023 Green Cincinnati Plan Priority Actions. These goals include promoting collaborative understanding, implementing strategic actions, and showcasing tangible progress. The priority actions in focus include incentivizing green infrastructure projects in vulnerable communities, restructuring sewer rates equitably, and transforming the city into a “sponge city” with diverse green elements. This includes green roofs, bioswales, wetlands, and more. These changes will reduce sewer backups, overflows, and flash flooding. The city will prioritize projects in affected areas and collaborate with communities to address property damage. Through these comprehensive measures, the City of Cincinnati aims to enhance resilience and mitigate the impact of climate-related challenges. By incorporating green infrastructure and fostering partnerships, the city strives to create a more sustainable and resilient environment for all its residents.
This project aims to develop a coalition of partners focused on climate resilience and adaptation, with an emphasis on planning and funding targeted solutions that remedy environmental injustices. Equity is often not prioritized in community-based climate resilience and adaptation responses. Through this partnership with FUSE, Cincinnati aims to take the opportunity to shift this practice to distinctly focus on mitigating environmental injustices. There are countless opportunities to optimize the power of this moment to center equity and inclusion, bringing in members of our communities who’ve been left out of urban planning and response mitigation efforts in the past, and with them will come innovative ideas about how to do better by climate adaptation and resilience.
The City of Cincinnati will partner with FUSE Corps to develop a plan to transition sewer infrastructure further toward climate resilience and adaptation needs. The FUSE Executive Fellow will coordinate a listening tour with communicate stakeholders; conduct a landscape analysis to assess current needs, programming gaps, and best practices; create a diverse coalition ranging across agencies and community organizations to ensure that ownership of this effort outlives their Executive Fellow tenure; and coordinate funding submissions to attract the significant resources needed.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.
Starting in October 2023, the FUSE Executive Fellow will collaborate with city, community, and private stakeholders to research, recommend, and implement a climate adaptation strategy for Cincinnati. The focus will be on metropolitan sewer infrastructure to mitigate existing impacts on vulnerable residents and enhance preparedness for future extreme weather events. This initiative aims to strengthen Cincinnati’s climate resilience efforts across departments and communities, starting with the sewer system.
The Executive Fellow will start by analyzing current climate risk and vulnerability assessments, with a specific focus on sewage infrastructure. They will also conduct a listening tour to gather diverse perspectives on the issue. Next, the Fellow will form a coalition to develop a comprehensive plan aimed at securing funding through partnerships. This plan will include recommendations considering regional plans and policies that have an impact on climate adaptation-related infrastructure, programs, and incentives. In the development of strategies, the Executive Fellow will prioritize vulnerable communities, particularly those at high risk and historically marginalized, ensuring their needs are addressed. Additionally, the Fellow will research successful programs from across the nation and worldwide, identifying sector-specific best practices and lessons learned that can be applied to the project.
The FUSE Executive Fellow will engage government agencies, community organizations, and residents to understand storm-related impacts better. Recognizing that the communities of Cincinnati possess valuable expertise from their own experiences, the Fellow will build upon existing knowledge to drive meaningful solutions.
The Executive Fellow will establish a sustainable cross-organizational coalition by leveraging their expertise in coalition building. This coalition will have a structured leadership and participation framework to ensure long-term effectiveness. The Fellow will coordinate the submission of at least three joint applications for federal or state funding based on mutually agreed priorities.
Ultimately, this collaborative effort will support the city’s objective of enhancing climate resilience, addressing disparities, and promoting environmental justice for historically marginalized communities.
By October 2024, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Climate Adaptation Strategy and Implementation: The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop and implement a climate adaptation strategy for Cincinnati, focusing on sewer infrastructure. This strategy will address current impacts and prepare for future extreme weather events.
- Risk Assessment and Insights: The Fellow will conduct a climate risk and vulnerability assessment, specifically analyzing the vulnerabilities and challenges related to sewer infrastructure. This assessment will provide valuable insights for informed decision-making.
- Stakeholder Perspectives Report: Through a comprehensive listening tour, the Fellow will gather input from stakeholders and generate a report highlighting key issues, concerns, and suggestions.
- Project Supervisor – Howard Miller, Senior Environmental Specialist; City of Cincinnati
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in analytic capacities, diverse coalition building, government/community relations, and a start-up mentality are strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
- Communicates effectively verbally and in writing and excels in active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision-making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, particularly community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.