Make a Difference in Local Communities While Launching Your Career in Sustainability!


CivicSpark is a Governor’s Initiative AmeriCorps program dedicated to building capacity for local governments to address climate change and water management issues. CivicSpark is managed by the Local Government Commission in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research.

The CivicSpark Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for recent college graduates to gain valuable experience in the sustainability and water fields, professional and technical skills, and a strong statewide network of sustainability professionals, all while having a lasting impact on local communities. Fellows implement critical projects throughout California to address the state’s most pressing climate change and water management issues.

The program offers two tracks: the CivicSpark Climate Fellowship (50 fellows) and the CivicSpark Water Fellowship (20 fellows). All Fellows will spend 1700 hours over 11 months working full time with their host agency. The eight regions being served by CivicSpark include Southern California/Los Angeles, San Diego, Central Coast, San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento, Sierra Nevada, San Francisco Bay Area, and North Coast.

Our Model

Gap Assessments

Fellows interview staff and review key documents to finalize the project scope.

Service Projects

Based on the Gap Assessment results, Fellows implement a specific capacity-building project.

Volunteer Engagement

In parallel with their project, Fellows support increased volunteerism in the region.

Transitioning Expertise

Fellows provide training to staff and/or share results with key stakeholders to sustain progress.

“I would consider CivicSpark just the program I needed to jump-start my career and provide me with more possibilities for my future. Beyond the professional development, I have also gained friendships, knowledge and expertise

as well as a great community with the Sonoma County Energy and Sustainability Division.”

Laura Lum, 2015-16 Climate Fellow

2017-18 Service Year Calendar
April 24, 2017 September 11, 2017
Fellow applications for the 2017-18 service year open! The service year begins with an orientation for the 2017-18
Positions are filled on a rolling basis with preference given to CivicSpark Fellow cohort.
early applicants. Late-September 2017
May 26, 2017 Local projects get underway!
Initial priority deadline for Fellow applications. Mid-August 2018
June 30, 2017 Projects wrap up and the 2017-18 CivicSpark cohort
Final priority deadline for Fellow applications. graduates!

Project Examples

Climate Change

Climate Action Plan Implementation: Implementing Climate Action Plan measures in Emeryville, Hayward, Santa Monica, Piedmont, Union City, Walnut Creek, the Sierra Nevada, Los Angeles County, Merced County, San Luis Obispo County, and Santa Barbara County.

Accelerating Clean Energy Opportunities: Scoping 117 municipal buildings for zero-net energy retrofits in Oakland, and implementing Building Energy Savings Ordinances (BESO) in Berkeley and Piedmont.

Water Management

Disadvantaged Communities Involvement Program (DACI): Completing a strengths and needs assessment to better allocate funding and resources in support of overburdened communities in Riverside County.

Water/Energy Nexus: Identifying and implementing water and energy saving projects in San Mateo County schools and public buildings through an auditing program.

“I personally feel that CivicSpark has opened an endless collection of doors into many different sectors of society – certainly within the climate change, environmental and sustainability industries, but also with a variety of social justice movements that are connected in so many ways to the work that we are doing. I truly feel like we are strengthening communities – not single-handedly, but as a collective group of passionate people working to get things done.”

Kriselda Bautista, 2014-15 Climate Fellow




»      $16,000 + Living Allowance (before taxes) spread evenly over 11 months

»      $5,815 Segal Education Award upon completion

»      SNAP (Food Stamps) for eligible participants

»      Forbearance on existing qualifying student loans and payment of interest accrued during service term

»      Health insurance

»      Childcare assistance for qualifying Fellows, paid to an eligible provider of your choice

»      Significant professional development training

»      Network development with regional and statewide contacts in the climate change and water management industries

»      Connection to a network of hundreds of thousands of AmeriCorps alums


»      A 4-year degree from an accredited college or university

»      Ability to pass FBI, CA DOJ, out-of-state (if applicable), and NSOPR background checks prior to service

»      Commitment to the full term of service (11 months)

»      Be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States of America

»      Capability to work in a professional office setting

»      Strong communication (both verbal and written) and teamwork skills

»      Water Fellows: background knowledge of water- related sciences (coursework or project/professional experience), water policy, or water management

Additional preferred qualifications are listed on our website.


Kristen Wraith

CivicSpark Project Manager Local Government Commission | 916-448-1198 x309


This is an equal opportunity position and we prefer to place a candidate who already lives in the community to be served.

As an AmeriCorps program, CivicSpark is administered by CaliforniaVolunteers, and funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.