Climate Communities Network: Request for Member Applications

The Climate Communities Network 2023 application opportunity is now closed.

Applications were accepted May 11 through July 7, 2023, for community leaders to join as Members. Join our listserv to stay tuned for updates about selection and future application periods. Please browse below for detailed information on eligibility, application process, and other specifications.


Many communities in the U.S. do not have fair access to the resources and infrastructure needed to keep people and neighborhoods healthy and well (see Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity). Oftentimes, these communities are not being considered or engaged as equal partners in the decisions that affect community health and well-being, particularly in the context of the worsening climate crisis. The impacts of climate change (e.g., extreme temperatures, more damaging storms, rising sea levels), coupled with unfair social and economic factors such as racism and poverty, compound health inequities in this country. In response to this, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) is launching the Climate Communities Network (CCN) as part of its existing Grand Challenge on Climate Change, Human Health, and Equity (Climate Grand Challenge).

The CCN will endeavor to work together with community leaders (“Members”) who work for community-based organizations in U.S. communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change and climate-related health inequities because of ongoing disinvestment and disregard. The CCN will elevate community expertise, experience, and efforts to address the structural drivers of climate-related health inequities in Member communities. Alongside CCN Strategic Partners, who will be invited representatives from government, philanthropy, academia, and industry, CCN Members will influence and work across the Climate Grand Challenge to catalyze innovation, inform policy, drive funding, and co-design solutions. The CCN will have two initial main goals:

  • Inform the strategic direction and outcomes of the Climate Grand Challenge.
  • Work collaboratively to identify and develop solutions to climate-related health inequities.

CCN Members will represent their organization and serve as liaisons to the community their organization serves.

The NAM previously requested applications for CCN Membership from May 11 to July 7, 2023. The 2023 request for applications is now closed. 

For additional background information, see the Climate Communities Listening Session.

Membership Information

Member Qualifications

To be eligible to apply to be a Member, the following qualifications must be met:

  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Applicants must work for a community-based organization* in a U.S. state or territory. The organization should be physically located within the community* it serves, and only one applicant per organization may apply.
  • The organization must serve a community that is disproportionately impacted by climate change and climate-related health inequities. Learn more about the NAM’s review process for this qualification >>
  • The organization must be engaged in or planning to engage in work in the community that is related to climate change and that promotes health equity. Climate change and health equity must be relevant to the organization’s mission and portfolio, but they do not need to be the sole or main focus of the organization.

The following qualifications are highly preferred, but not required:

  • Applicant lives in the same community their organization serves.
  • Applicant and their organization have experience planning and implementing community-led solutions.
  • Applicant and their organization have experience working with diverse community partners.
  • Applicant and their organization have the capacity to effectively communicate with community members.

*Definitions provided below

Key Definitions

Community-based organization: For the purposes of the CCN, we are defining community-based organization broadly to encompass organizations that are focused on partnering with and making an impact within a local community, such as a community-oriented 501©(3) nonprofit, community-focused direct service provider, federally qualified health center, local community health center, tribal health organization, local faith-based organization, or locally-focused college or university center/hub. Applicants working for national-, regional-, or state-level organizations, or chapters of such organizations, are not eligible for this opportunity.

Community: For the purposes of the CCN, we are defining a community as a group of people living within a specific, localized geography, such as a census tract, county, city, village, town, neighborhood, or tribal community.

NAM's Commitment to Members

The NAM is committed to co-creating opportunities for Members to:

  • Build relationships and form a community of practice for learning, networking, and mutual collaboration & support with fellow CCN Members and CCN Strategic Partners, Climate Grand Challenge colleagues, NAM staff, and other experts/peers committed to addressing climate change and health equity.
  • Amplify their community’s/organization’s expertise & experience, strengths, needs, and achievements.
  • Elevate their community’s/organization’s efforts to address climate-related health inequities.
  • Access partnerships and tools to advance or scale community-driven solutions to address climate-related health inequities at the local level.
  • Inform climate-related policy, funding, research, capacity building, and other interventions identified by communities and aligned with community priorities, including the efforts of national initiatives.
  • Influence the direction and outcomes of the Climate Grand Challenge as equal partners.

Once selected, Members will be paid an honorarium for their work.

Expectations for Members

We currently expect that Members will:

  • Attend and actively engage in at least six virtual CCN meetings over 12 months.
  • Attend and actively engage in one in-person convening in Washington, DC per year (sponsored by the NAM).
  • Serve as liaisons between their organizations/communities, the CCN, and the Climate Grand Challenge to facilitate multi-directional communication and learning.
  • Co-develop and implement a work plan to advance community and CCN goals.
  • Participate in evaluation activities to assess the CCN’s impact.

Application Information

Application Support

If completing the online application is not accessible or feasible, an applicant may request additional assistance (e.g., Spanish translation). Please email or call 202-334-2543 to provide more detail and share what kind of support you will need to complete the application.

Key Dates

Please note that this timeline is subject to change. Applicants who have been selected as CCN Members will receive the most updated timeline information upon notification of their acceptance.

  • May 11, 2023: Member applications open.
  • July 7, 2023: Member applications close.
  • Summer 2023: Selected Members are notified and onboarding begins.
Application Process

To apply to be a CCN Member, please complete the online application. Applicants will be asked to share information about the following:

  • Personal and demographic information
  • Organization information
  • Organization and community context
  • Individual experience

Applications closed on July 7, 2023 at 11:59PM ET. Selected CCN Members will be notified in Summer 2023. Selected CCN Members will be required to submit an organizational endorsement form to fully confirm their participation in the CCN. Please note that the NAM will not be able to provide feedback about individual applications.

Review Process

We are striving to bring together a group of up to 15 Members who collectively reflect the diversity of identities and experiences of those who are among the most affected by climate-related health inequities in the U.S. Therefore, we will be looking to bring together Members who are diverse along multiple aspects of identity, including but not limited to age and race/ethnicity.

All complete applications will be reviewed by a team of National Academies staff. Some reviewers will be staff directly engaged in the work of the CCN, and all staff reviewers will have expertise in health equity, climate change, environmental justice, and/or community engagement.

Applications to the CCN will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  1. Relevance to CCN Goals: How relevant the organization’s mission and vision are to the goals of the CCN. The CCN has two initial main goals:
    • Inform the strategic direction and outcomes of the NAM Climate Grand Challenge.
    • Work collaboratively to identify and develop solutions to climate-related health inequities.
  2. Alignment with CCN Scope: How well the organization’s strengths, needs, and interests align with the scope of the CCN, which includes advancing work related to policy, funding, research and data, and capacity building.
  3. Organizational Commitment: To what degree the organization has demonstrated a commitment to advancing health equity in the community it serves, particularly at the intersection of community engagement and climate change.

The review process will prioritize applicants whose organizations serve communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change and climate-related health inequities, guided by preliminary research findings from a regional assessment of U.S. areas.

Any Questions?

As a first step, please review these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). If you have additional questions not addressed in the FAQs, please email or call 202-334-2543.

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