Experience the methodology and find out how to apply to participate in CAPECA at the Introductory Workshop • More info about the intro workshop in the last section below

Join Us!

CAPECA is a year-long training program for placed-based teams of community members and researchers in California to work together for a just and survivable future.

Community-Academic Partnerships to Advance Equity-Focused Climate Action is a pilot that aims to augment the training of ten Californian place-based teams of community leaders and university researchers from the UC and CSU who work together to ask and answer key research questions that inform climate planning and action in their place. We call the project CAPECA for short.

CAPECA harnesses a team of popular education-based curriculum designers and facilitators who train and walk alongside low-income communities and communities of color throughout California to support community-driven climate resilience planning. The training is rooted in the principles and practices of participatory action research, popular education, and social equity.

CAPECA goals include:

  1. Honoring existing expertise and building capacity of community-based leaders who are rooted in impacted communities that are directly affected by local, city, or municipal climate planning;

  2. Connecting community-driven climate justice and resilience efforts with university researchers and students, and strengthening those partnerships;

  3. Supporting community-based facilitators and organizers to learn and co-create together with UC and CSU students and faculty various methods to establish community-driven analysis, strategies, and knowledge that enable community members to participate meaningfully as leaders and not as token community representatives in research project design and throughout project execution;

  4. Surfacing and giving voice to the priorities, visions, goals and strategies of impacted communities as they relate to equity-focused climate action; and

  5. Supporting the UC and CSU students, faculty and community leaders to expand what issues are included in “climate” and “climate justice” research and action, who gets to participate, and how.

Desired Outcomes:

CAPECA aims to enable:

  • Up to 10 place-based community-academic partnerships in California with

    • team-developed principles for collaboration and

    • tools and preparation to

      • Co-create local, equity-focused, community-driven participatory action research processes for climate action (i.e., tools and preparation for collaborative research design, data collection, analysis, and action strategy); and

      • Pursue relevant equity-focused state and federal climate action research funding opportunities;

  • A learning community of UC and CSU faculty and students trained in CAPECA research methodologies;

  • Preparation and identification of a sub-cohort of community leaders, faculty, and advanced students eligible for subsequent TBD CAPECA trainers’ training to promulgate CAPECA’s approach among additional colleagues and students in subsequent climate research contexts; and

  • A training manual and roadmap for CAPECA training replication, highlighting stories of transformation, best practices, and lessons learned for rapid dissemination through relevant channels across the state.

CAPECA is sponsored by the University of California's Carbon Neutrality Initiative through the UC President’s Global Climate Leadership Council.

Communities across California increasingly experience the impacts of the climate crisis. In response, cities, counties, and universities are accelerating the development and revision of climate and climate resilience action plans. However, too often these processes leave out the vital knowledge, priorities, visions, and leadership of the people who bear the brunt of climate impacts locally, and who often know the most about what is needed. "Key to closing equity gaps and resolving climate vulnerability is direct participation by impacted communities in the development and implementation of solutions and policy decisions that directly impact them. This level of participation can unleash much needed capacity, but also requires initial capacity investments across multiple sectors to strengthen our local democracies through systems changes and culture shifts."*

While excellent training resources focused on such shifts already exist in community-based settings, there is a need for additional and comparable state-wide training resources to support community-based organizations in climate-impacted communities across California to partner effectively with universities. When effective, such partnerships can advance the research needed to support communities in galvanizing action for relevant climate solutions. CAPECA aims to help fill this gap.

CAPECA bridges between community and academic partners by drawing upon frameworks and tools from various community-based training settings (including Facilitating Power's Spectrum of Community Engagement to Ownership*; Vision Power Solutions; and the Coliberate participatory action research curriculum from Partners for Collaborative Change). This bridge is buttressed by alignment with university-based capacity building initiatives (including the UC-wide Student Leadership Institute for Climate Resilience and the UC-wide DEIJ-focused Climate Resilience Planning Framework) and with various national and state entities that innovate in this space (including National Association of Climate Resilience Planners, California Governor's Office of Planning and Research, Climate Innovation, Full Spectrum Capital Partners, and the University of California's Center for Climate Justice).

CAPECA works with place-based teams in California. CAPECA seeks teams composed of representatives from the community (leaders or staff in community groups, organizations, or hubs), facilitators or intermediaries that work within the community, and lastly, university-based researchers or facilitators from UC and CSU campuses. We welcome participation from already formed community-academic partnerships as well as those in beginning and formative stages. We also welcome individuals who meet the below criteria and who are open to building relationships towards a potential place-based community-academic partnership.

This training is for you if you…

  • Work within one or more community-based group/organization/hub rooted in a community with limited resources and experiencing direct climate impacts AND you

  • Realize that you have a role to play in climate planning so that your community is not left behind (climate planning can include, e.g., issues of housing, food access, land use, health, water);

  • Your community has opportunities for grassroots equity and justice work that could be parallel, in resistance, or connected to city planning;

  • Have the ability to anchor your community as a leader/facilitator who can be held accountable; and

  • You have a positive track record in your community.

  • Work as a facilitator or intermediary to a group that fits the criteria above AND you

  • Have relevant skills;

  • Are open to self-reflection and learning; and

  • Utilize an equity lens in your work, particularly in analysis.

  • Work as a university-based researcher or facilitator (note: students are eligible but must be partnered with a faculty or post-doctoral scholar mentor) AND you

  • Have relevant skills;

  • Are open to self-reflection and learning;

  • Utilize an equity lens in your work, particularly in analysis (note: if you have low equity experience, you must partner with someone with greater experience);

  • Are available for the entire project (through March 2023);

  • Are affiliated with a University of California or California State University campus; and

  • Can receive the academic credit or job requirements you may seek without needing particular research or publication outcomes.


CAPECA begins in April 2022 and lasts through March 2023. Notable dates include:

  • Introductory Workshop (virtual): February 11, 2022 , 10:00 am - 12:00 pm Pacific

  • Deeper Orientation for University Partners (virtual): March 17, 2022, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm Pacific

  • Year-long Cohort Application Due: April 1, 2022

  • Deeper Orientation for Cohort to Core Concepts and Storytelling (virtual): April 29, 2022, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm Pacific

  • Cohort Kickoff Workshop & Training (in person): June 17 - 18, 2022

  • Cohort trainings on participatory action research methods and community-driven climate resilience planning and action (virtual and in person): July 2022 - February 2023

  • Coaching and site visits with CAPECA trainers (virtual and in person): August 2022 - February 2023

  • And more!

Introductory Workshop

CAPECA launches with a two-hour Introductory Workshop by Zoom on Friday, February 11, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm Pacific. Through this participatory workshop, the CAPECA team will engage participants to elicit core principles of equitable community-university collaboration and set the stage for more.

If you are considering participating in the CAPECA year-long cohort, the introductory workshop is a great opportunity to learn more about the motivations behind the training series and what to expect moving forward. You are welcome to register for the Introductory Workshop as an individual or as a part of a place-based team. Before registering, please review the participation criteria in the "Who?" section above. We particularly encourage and welcome the participation of community members who are rooted in California communities with limited resources and who are experiencing direct climate impacts.

Year-long CAPECA Cohort

After the Introductory Workshop, CAPECA will seek applications from place-based teams to become part of the year-long CAPECA cohort. Teams should be composed of a mix of up to five community-based and academic members (please review the participation criteria in the "Who?" section above). Between February 14 - March 31, 2022, CAPECA project team members will be available to work with interested applicants who seek guidance and support in mobilizing a team in time for the April 1, 2022, cohort application deadline. By April 15, 2022, we aim to begin working intensively with up to 10 place-based teams for the year-long training series. CAPECA can provide up to $2,000 per place-based team to help support community member participation in the year-long CAPECA activities.

Spanish language translation and interpretation are available. Tradicción e interpretación en español disponibles. For all other languages, please contact the CAPECA Project Team.

CAPECA Project Team

  • Adriana Aldana, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, CSU Dominguez Hills

  • Rosa Gonzalez, Principal, Facilitating Power; Visiting Community Scholar, UC Irvine Community Resilience (co-creator of NACRP framework and Vision, Power, Solutions curriculum)

  • Alana LeBron, Assistant Professor, Public Health and Chicano/Latino Studies, UC Irvine

  • Gregory Lopez, Project Manager, UC Irvine Community Resilience

  • Abby Reyes, Director, UC Irvine Community Resilience

  • Levana Saxon, co-founder, Partners for Collaborative Change (co-creator of Coliberate curriculum)

  • Aryeh Shell, Principal, Thrive Consulting; Lead Training Partner, UC Irvine Community Resilience (co-creator of SLICR curriculum and UC DEIJ-focused Climate Resilience Planning Framework)

  • Wendy Ruiz, undergraduate student assistant, UCI Community Resilience

Reach the CAPECA Project Team at communityresilience@uci.edu.

CAPECA Advisory Team

  • Adriana Aldana, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, CSU Dominguez Hills

  • Eric Chu, Assistant Professor, Community & Regional Development, Department of Human Ecology; Co-director, Climate Adaptation Research Center, UC Davis

  • Taj James, Co-founder, Full Spectrum Capital Partners

  • Nuin-Tara Key, Deputy Director for Climate Resilience, CA Governor's Office of Planning and Research

  • Fatima T. Malik, Founder and Lead Organizer, Del Paso Heights Growers' Alliance; 2021-22 Partners Advancing Climate Equity (PACE) Leader

  • Colin Miller, Senior Associate, Environmental / Justice Solutions

  • Matthew St. Clair, Chief Sustainability Officer, UC Office of the President

Project Partners

Project Sponsors

  • UCI Carbon Neutrality Initiative: Advising the UC on achieving carbon neutrality by 2025 while also providing guidance for furthering other longstanding sustainability goals.

  • UCI Community Resilience: Based at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), Community Resilience is a unit within the UCI Office of Sustainability. Community Resilience brings together teams of faculty, students, staff, and community collaborators to address environmental, health, and social justice challenges by fostering community-driven and equity-focused solutions.