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Posted - 01/08/2019
2018 ITP Grant Partner Gathering Reflection
IMG_3924.jpgWe did it! Our 8th Annual ITP Grant Partner Gathering wrapped up on October 31st with great reviews, warm connections and some potential new collaborations.  As our own Kelly McVicker shared during her engaging Kombucha Fermentation exercise, the creation of new cultures created by a diverse mix of ingredients and people proved a powerful metaphor for the two-and-a-half-day retreat.

Once again held at the beautiful Westerbeke Ranch, the days were interspersed with presentations from grant partners, allies and special guests including Ras k'Dee, who opened the Gathering with a powerful Pomo Blessing. Our commitment to creating a group "pause-like" experience included a Forest Therapy Walk, morning movement sessions, wine and cheese gatherings each evening, and being enveloped in the warm ambiance of the Westerbeke Ranch. 

While important, these activities served as a backdrop for the main event, which was hearing from grant partners and allies.  Presentations were as diverse as our participants, and ranged from discussions on carbon neutral dining to built environments that create community and power themselves, from youth climate activists to a digital platform that helps people report, monitor and communicate about complex local environmental problems. New grant partners joined return grant partners to share progress and connect around new ideas, solutions and opportunities related to their work.

This cross-collaboration and fertilization of new ideas and new connections is at the heart of ITP.  Hosting an annual 'collective pause' is our way of doubling-down on grant partners to help give them the opportunity to forge new partnerships, enhance their efforts, and test out new ideas in a safe and welcoming environment.

Based upon feedback from participants, we are making good on that promise! Overall, participants rated their experience as excellent (61%). or  above average (23%).   Perhaps not surprisingly, the top takeaways from the Gathering included 1), meeting new colleagues, 2), getting re-energized, and 3) learning about other grant partner projects. And once again, one of the greatest values of the experience included taking part in information discussions, so a big reminder to add even more time for this in 2019. In addition, inviting subject matter experts (aka - 'Allies') to participate continues to add value and depth to discussions, and we are thankful for their continued commitment to our climate changemakers.

But perhaps our favorite statistics is that over 94% of respondents said they planned to follow up with grant partners, thus ensuring that our desire to cross-fertilize this work is happening.

We are so grateful to all the grant partners and allies that help make the Gathering a success.   Each year we build upon the prior year's Gathering, and we will continue to do so in 2019.  We are confident that with the amazing people we gather with each year we'll continue to do our best to help these dedicated, inspiring and talented climate trailblazers in our network do more good!