Friday, November 11, 2022

Community-based knowledge and expertise is critical to shape and drive the evolution of housing and neighborhoods throughout California toward a better future. At Build It Green, we connect, convene, and catalyze action.  We believe in bringing people to the table whose identities and lived experiences are essential to understanding what’s at stake and what is needed. And we know that in order to create the future to which Californians aspire — we must listen to and learn from those most impacted by housing inequities. 

Our approach to working with community leaders is driven by our commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Sometimes, that means pausing to reflect on our practices to see where there are gaps and opportunities to create more equity and inclusion in our work. In doing that, we recognized that, while we are an organization that values community-based knowledge and expertise, up until now we haven’t had an official policy for compensating community members for the expertise and perspective they provide to our work.

As we seek to engage communities more, and to put our own equity commitment into practice,  we have developed an honoraria policy to compensate community leaders for their time and expertise. We recognize that an honoraria policy is just one step in the journey toward equitable engagement, but we believe it’s an important one.  

Our approach to offering honoraria will be based on trust and relationship building. It will apply to requests for event speakers or panelists, feedback and/or insight on a program, participation in working  groups, and more. Our hope is that by compensating community members for their time and expertise, more people will be able to participate and share their ideas and lived experiences. 

Every Californian deserves to live in a safe, affordable home in a resilient and thriving neighborhood. We recognize that we need bold and innovative change to make this vision a reality. And that’s just one of the many reasons we know we need more community partnerships and community-led solutions. 

We are learning from what many organizations have been doing for a long time. We are grateful to organizations that are modeling equitable partnerships and have offered training and resources to help shift the narrative to a more equitable future. These include NAACP’s Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector, Nonprofit Housing Northern California, and the Othering & Belonging Institute to name just a few. 

We look forward to continuing on this journey and to all that we will learn and gain from community members and partners along the way.