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Paying for Community Expertise

NYSERDA is paying community stakeholders for their contributions to program planning.

The lived experiences and expertise of historically marginalized communities need to be front and center in the development of programs and policies that impact their daily lives. This includes low-income communities, communities facing disproportionate pollution and public health vulnerabilities, hard to reach, underserved rural communities, communities of color, Indigenous Nations, and other areas of the State with high levels of poverty and limited access to resources. NYSERDA is working to broaden our reach and hear from those on the frontlines of the climate crisis. We recognize that community stakeholders need to be compensated for their valuable time and contributions when informing NYSERDA’s policies and programs.

In response, NYSERDA has established two ways for community-based organizations serving or representing disadvantaged communities to be paid for time dedicated to informing NYSERDA initiatives. One of the ways described below—specifically, the Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) Stakeholder Reimbursement—is available to support participation by individuals as well.

Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) Stakeholder Services Pool (RFQL 4922)

NYSERDA issued a Request for Qualifications Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., which is currently closed, to establish a group, or “pool,” of qualified community-based organizations (CBOs) that represent New York State’s disadvantaged communities. A range of CBOs were eligible to apply, including grassroots advocacy organizations, faith-based groups, environmental and climate justice organizations, as well as individual nonprofits, coalitions, and for-profit firms based in and with a substantial connection to those residing in New York State’s Disadvantaged Communities.

How the DAC Stakeholder Services Pool Works How the Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) Stakeholder Services Pool works How the Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) Stakeholder Services Pool works


Organizations qualified under this RFQL are available to work with NYSERDA staff through a variety of paid services. CBOs will assist with helping NYSERDA address DAC barriers to participation and inform how DACs can receive a greater share of the benefits from clean energy investments and programs. This includes providing advice and input on programs and policies, facilitating community outreach and engagement, and participating in working groups organized by NYSERDA around various issues and program areas. These could include, but are not limited to, solar energy, workforce development, affordable housing decarbonization, clean transportation, and large-scale renewable deployment. Assistance may also be requested to design new programs or improve Authority-wide initiatives.

Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) Stakeholder Reimbursement

Reimbursement (payment) is available to individuals and community-based organizations invited by NYSERDA to participate in meetings or other immediate, short-term, or ad hoc needs and services. The reimbursement is payment for contributing ideas and perspectives to inform NYSERDA and related program and policy planning based on the lived experiences of individuals or knowledge held by organizations that are based in or serve DACs.

How the DAC Honorarium Works How the Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) Honorarium works How the Disadvantaged Communities (DAC) Honorarium works

To be eligible for reimbursement, organizations or individuals must meet one of the following criteria listed below and participate in the entire Stakeholder Session.

1. The organization that person represents is a community-based organization that principally serves (greater than half of those served) and/or is based in a disadvantaged community. This organization has an understanding of strategies and solutions to overcoming barriers to disadvantaged communities accessing clean energy; knowledge of barriers related to low-income, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, affordable housing, environmental justice, underserved rural communities, and other areas with high levels of poverty and limited access to resources.


2. The individual is based in NYS and has expertise in clean energy equity and/or climate justice issues which may include but is not limited to experience in providing services to and implementing clean energy projects in disadvantaged communities, including: lived experience related to energy issues; engaging with and providing services to disadvantaged communities related to housing and advocacy, transportation, workforce, Minority/Woman-Owned Business Enterprise, and other related services.


3. The individual is outside of NYS with unique or unparalleled subject matter expertise in energy equity subject matter research. This expertise may be judged on the amount of time the individual has been involved in the field, recognition by other organizations, involvement with companies which have benefitted from this subject matter expertise, and involvement with professional societies, including environmental and climate justice organizations.

Reimbursement is based upon the length of the session held, using the following rate structure: