City of Austin

At a Glance


Government/Public Administration

Project Types

Clean and Renewable Energy, Climate Justice/Energy Equity




Austin, TX


Elena Ortiz identified next steps and funding mechanisms to successfully implement the City of Austin’s Climate Equity Plan.


To address the climate emergency, the City of Austin is proposing the goal of achieving net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. The Office of Sustainability is finalizing its Climate Equity Plan, a set of bold strategies to meet this goal by mitigating emissions and centering the needs of communities most burdened by climate impacts due to systemic inequity. The City brought on Elena Ortiz to identify priority strategies that could be implemented immediately and provide guidance on how to diversify funding sources for the plan’s initiatives. 


Through her work with the City of Austin, Ortiz connected with internal stakeholders to develop an implementation plan and conducted independent research:

  • Out of 20 staff-identified priority strategies, Ortiz identified a shortlist of initiatives that can be strategically prioritized for implementation over the next 1-2 years. She met with key City staff to identify areas of strategic alignment. Then, she created an implementation plan that included actionable next steps with funding sources.
  • Ortiz also developed longer-term implementation recommendations for inclusive decision-making structures and accountability so that the City can meet its climate equity goals.
  • Ortiz identified diverse funding sources to support climate equity action. This included creating a resource list of philanthropic programs and municipal policy mechanisms that support climate work.
  • Ortiz met with municipal climate leaders across the country to gain insight into effective climate plan implementation.

Potential Impact

Ortiz’s work will be used by the Office of Sustainability and City stakeholders to advance the implementation of the Climate Equity Plan after its adoption. The shortlist of initiatives for immediate action will allow the City to focus on near-term projects, quickly begin achieving plan goals, and accelerate internal momentum for climate work. The City can also pursue the diverse funding opportunities she identified to ensure fiscal sustainability. Ortiz’s recommended decision-making structure and community partners will help the City center the needs and grow the leadership of residents who are currently or have been historically impacted by the effects of our changing climate.

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