Summer Smart - Climate Smart Missoula

Year Complete: 2017
Grant Amount: $45,000
Local Government: City of Missoula, MT
Local Foundation: Missoula Community Foundation

Project Purpose

To prepare the community to thrive amid increasing summer wildfire smoke and heat by helping Missoulians to be physically, mentally, and economically healthy and resilient.

Key Lessons Learned

Lessons learned about tools and tactics through the project that other sustainability directors could use to advance their work.

Tackling climate change can be overwhelming.  By focusing on a short time period (e.g., summer) and by engaging with health professionals in particular, the topic was approachable and offered clear co-benefits. For new community efforts, a Community Readiness Assessment or similar tool is helpful to launch on the right footing, especially with a new group in the lead.

Invest in creative tools and steer away from text heavy educational materials. To capture targeted community attention, explore animated videos (even if pricey), interactive mapping websites (fairly user-friendly), art shows, infographics, and even goofy images of pets! Partners requested to host much of this in one go-to place so that colleagues can use it with their clients, patients, and members. This program benefited from directly working with younger community members: AmeriCorps service members and high school and college student volunteers and interns.

Lessons for developing a collaborative process between a local government sustainability director and local place-based foundation(s).

Funders were compelled by the need for the fund match, and the project itself resonated because it was local, timely, and targeted.  Funders and partners seemed to “get it” and were uniformly interested in ways to partner. They wanted to reach those in need with what they had to offer. Sustaining funding and partner interest will be an ongoing endeavor.

Additional Information and Resources

The work of the Summer Smart program, particularly with mitigating the effects of wildfires, is successful and ongoing.  Read more about their efforts here.