Call for Proposals: $10,000 Community Conversation Grant

Hearing Local Voices for a Fair Workforce Transition:

A timely national conversation project in collaboration with Deloitte and Cortico

More than 800 million jobs worldwide are highly vulnerable to climate extremes and the economic transition to net zero. How do we make the workforce transition, work for all? We need your partnership to organize local conversations and help us ask the right questions.

Interested partners:

Read the Call for Proposals below and submit your application in this form by Friday, December 16th at 5pm CST:

Summary & Call for Proposals

We’re excited to announce a call for proposals for a first-ever recorded conversations initiative that seeks to better understand local experiences in the communities most reliant on fossil fuel jobs. We want to document and learn about the fears, hopes, opportunities, and barriers facing individuals amid current and potential workforce shifts so we can share insights and recommend solutions that might improve the future of our local economies and communities. 

To do this, we need to work with local partners who can organize community conversations and ask the right questions. We are looking for partners to invite people to share real life experiences – note: this will be very different from responding to a survey or participating in a focus group. Questions might include, for example: How are you feeling about the potential of a shift away from fossil fuels? How will this transition affect you and your family? What’s your best and worst case vision for where your community will be five years from now?

Selected local partners will be equal collaborators in a process that they will design together with Cortico and Deloitte teams, doing everything from creating questions to facilitating conversations to deciding what gets shared. 

Using the Cortico platform, conversation recordings will be transcribed, automatically indexed by topic, and converted into interactive visual conversation records that will be accessible online in a searchable portal (see an example of another Cortico project portal here). 

Conversation content will be owned and used by partners for local purposes (e.g. advocacy, decision making, sparking broader community discussions). Deloitte will share highlights and key learnings with the large companies and governments around the world who they work with – giving the local voices from partner communities around the country a better chance of creating real impact.

Key Dates & Deliverables:

This project will run from January until June with an estimated 6-10 hours per month time commitment.

Primary partner deliverables will include collecting 10 – 12 small group conversations with 4 – 6 people each (a total of 40 – 70+ community members). Partners will also engage in planning and project design work, analysis, and approving conversation content for use. 

Partners should anticipate the following timeline:

  • January: Launch meeting & question planning
  • February: Participant outreach & engagement; Conversations begin
  • March: 10 – 12 conversations recorded
  • April – May: Sensemaking/conversation analysis 
  • June: Final output is shared; Partners debrief and reflect on learnings


Each partner selected to participate will receive $10,000 total to support staff time for this project (paid bi-monthly). Additional funding will be provided to compensate community members ($40/person) for their participation in the conversations.

Application Process & Selection Criteria:

Interested partners will be expected to fill out this simple application form by Friday, December 16, 2022

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and partner candidates will be notified of their application status within 2 – 3 business days of their submission. All final partner candidates will be scheduled for a 30-minute panel interview with the Cortico team.

Selection criteria include:

  • Experience organizing community conversations and/or other public forums for discussion. 
  • Interest in understanding how the most impacted community members feel about today’s energy economy.
  • A point person with time available to coordinate all 10 – 12 conversations.
  • Relationships with a broad range of community members, especially those who are most reliant on fossil fuel jobs.
  • Interest in sharing learnings from conversations locally – clear ideas on how this information could support local initiatives or decisions.


Please reach out anytime via email or phone to Kim Mota, Partner Support Lead at Cortico: or 617-404-9812.

Selected partners will be working closely with Deloitte and the non-profit Cortico:

Deloitte’s more than 345,000 employee professionals perform work that helps reinforce public trust in capital markets, enables clients to transform and thrive, and leads the way toward a stronger economy, a more equitable society, and a sustainable world. Deloitte has a 175-plus year history and operates in more than 150 countries and territories.

For over 20 years, Deloitte has helped organizations make progress toward delivering sustainable value for their stakeholders – from investors, customers and business partners, to regulators, governments, and communities. In April 2022, Deloitte announced a significant expansion and investment in Deloitte Sustainability & Climate, a global practice serving clients as they define a path to a more sustainable future. Building upon decades of sustainability and climate client service, Deloitte is assembling one of the largest global networks of sustainability experience including an investment of US$1 billion in client-related services, data-driven research, and assets and capabilities.

At Cortico, we believe civic life can be revitalized when we hold space for constructive conversation. Recognizing traditionally underheard voices can yield improved understanding and communication across boundaries. We must create civic spaces where perspectives shared by community members grounded in their identity and experiences sparks more informed and transparent decisions from leaders.

Cortico’s Local Voices Network (LVN) brings people together in recorded small-group conversations around their life experiences. Through a powerful combination of deep human listening and artificial intelligence, LVN enables partners to make sense of the conversations they collect by amplifying typically underheard voices, informing public understanding, driving better policymaking, and enabling unforeseen connections across the ideological spectrum. 

LVN’s unique human-machine system is the product of an effort led by the media technology non-profit Cortico in cooperation with MIT’s Center for Constructive Communication.

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Cortico is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization led by a multidisciplinary team of experts in community engagement, technology and non-profit management. We strive to meld two elements not typically found in one space: technological innovation and community-centered advocacy. We'd love to keep you up to date on what we're doing!