News and analysis
January 05, 2016

Kate Meis: Civic Spark Plug

Courtesy Kate Meis

Kate Meis, 34
Executive Director, Local Government Commission
Sacramento, Calif.

California is in the grip of a record-breaking drought, leaving many in the Golden State wondering how to deal with climate change.

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Kate Meis is coming up with answers, one community at a time. She started CivicSpark, a program that places AmeriCorps members with local governments throughout the state to work on energy projects. In the program’s first year, members helped municipalities work with homeowners and businesses to reduce energy use, promote public transit, and streamline the process for getting permits to install solar-energy systems.

Ms. Meis and her colleagues at the Local Government Commission, a nonprofit in Sacramento, have worked closely with the Corporation for National and Community Service, which has started Resilience AmeriCorps to expand the idea nationally.

For Ms. Meis, local government is the ultimate laboratory. "Working locally, you’re closer to the problems," she says. "You have a scale that’s more conducive to innovative solutions."

Send an email to Nicole Wallace.