Press Release The Strategic Growth Council to Host the Catalyst Conference to Accelerate Progress on Equitable Investment into California Communities


SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) announced today it will host the Catalyst Conference, themed Progress in Place, in Sacramento for the second year in a row.

With historic investment through the Inflation Reduction Act and California’s $48 billion Climate Budget, “Progress in Place: From Power Building to Project Implementation,” builds on last year’s efforts to promote community and local capacity, while anticipating challenges associated with project development and implementation. The event’s forthcoming agenda will reflect both the urgency to make place-based investments that center and support disinvested communities and the speed at which federal and state funds are being deployed. The 2024 event will convene the frontline leaders, researchers, funders, and government partners currently leading this work to learn from one another, prioritize areas of future focus, advance projects, and celebrate transformation already underway.

“We are thrilled to host the Catalyst Conference for the second time. We saw incredible participation and outcomes last year and look forward to using this space to continue understanding how we as government and funders can continue to adapt our approaches to meet the challenges California faces in bringing projects to fruition,” said Lynn von Koch-Liebert, Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council. “We also want to thank the 2024 Steering Committee members who will guide the Conference, as well as the first set of sponsors who have pledged resources to make this convening possible.”

“We are pleased to partner again with SGC to help accelerate the development of a robust portfolio of climate equity projects to help underserved regions across the State create good jobs and reduce greenhouse gases,” said Matt Horton, Senior Advisor at the Milken Institute. “We believe that the partnership with the Strategic Growth Council can scale bottom-up development and deployment of projects and innovative partnerships across the U.S.”

Sponsors committed for the 2024 Catalyst Conference so far include Wells Fargo & Company, JPMorgan Chase & Co., The California Endowment, and - Green for All.

Steering Committee members for the 2024 Catalyst Conference include:

  • Alex Meeks – Director, HR&A Advisors
  • Arnold (Arnie) Sowell Jr. - Executive Director, NextGen Policy
  • Ashley Swearengin – President & CEO, Central Valley Community Foundation
  • Bernadette Austin – CEO, CivicWell
  • Everett Sands – CEO, Lendistry
  • Jessie Buendia –, Vice President of Sustainability & Green for All National Director
  • Jenny Scanlin – Chief Development Officer, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles
  • Judi Larsen – Managing Director, The California Endowment
  • Lil Milagro Henriquez-Cornejo – Executive Director and Founder, Mycelium Youth Network
  • Raymond Salas – Chief Operating Officer, Paseki Strategies Corporation - Enrolled Citizen, Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians
  • Sarah Rebolloso McCullough, Ph.D - Associate Director at the Feminist Research Institute, UC Davis and Director of UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies Environmental Justice Leaders Program
  • Sean Tiedgen – Executive Director, Shasta Regional Transportation Agency
  • Trenton Allen – CEO, Sustainable Capital Advisors, LLC
  • Zach Lou – Coalition Director, The California Green New Deal Coalition

The inaugural Catalyst Conference in 2023 focused on building partnerships and identifying solutions to implement the Justice40 initiative in California. It highlighted proven models to inform climate equity funding, innovative financing approaches, and the roles and responsibilities of community, funders, and government in developing equitable projects. Conference participants called for additional resources to support community readiness, identified challenges in leveraging investments, and committed to pilot programs that incorporate equitable approaches to community development, climate resilience, and infrastructure deployment.

Following the 2023 Conference, SGC released the SGC Catalyst Conference Report: Summary of Participant Feedback and Ideas and hosted two Regional Roundtables in Palm Desert and Oakland. The Milken Institute also launched the 10,000 Communities Initiative, a new platform designed to accelerate infrastructure projects by facilitating connections and providing resources.

For more information, including an Expression of Interest, visit If your entity is interested in sponsoring the event, please email

Media Contact

Agustin Arreola, 279-386-2183

About the California Strategic Growth Council

The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is a 10-member council comprised of seven state agencies and three public members with the mission to build healthy, thriving, and resilient communities for all. Funded through California’s Cap and Trade system and the California General Fund, SGC’s grant programs, strategic initiatives, and interagency coordination focus on multi-benefit and community-centric solutions at the nexus of climate and equity. Since 2008, SGC has invested over $3.5 billion in projects strengthening communities and addressing climate change across California.