Convene, Connect, and Catalyze Action

Our coalition of nonprofits, public agencies, and Indigenous Tribes stands together during this extraordinary time. TOGETHER Bay Area was built to connect, convene, and catalyze action so that we can meet these challenges with the energy and innovation for which our region is known. In partnership with our members, we are: 

  • Advocating for funding and policies that support our members’ programs and projects, especially through the public health and economic crises. 
  • Leveraging local and regional data to build coalitions and influence decision making. 
  • Convening our members and partners to build relationships, share information, and increase collaboration.  

Our two programs

Advocacy for Transformational Funding and Policies

The goal of the Advocacy Program is to work towards climate resilience for communities and lands, including urban, rural, public, and working lands, and to prioritize social equity in policies and funding mechanisms at the regional, state, and to some extent federal levels.

Learn more:

Convening a Powerful Coalition

The goal of our Convening Program is to build the relationships that support the environmental and social changes required for resilient lands and people. We also want to increase collaboration and our collective ability to respond to challenges and rise to opportunities. 

Learn more:

Advocacy Program

We are working hand in hand with our members to create a more equitable, resilient San Francisco Bay Area, from the ridgelines to the Bay shoreline. We advocate for social equity, healthy lands – including working lands, public and private lands, and urban and rural lands – and for equitable public access to nature.

TOGETHER Bay Area is focused on developing transformative policies and funding mechanisms at the regional, state, and sometimes federal levels. Here are some of our priorities:

  • Advocate for climate resilience, public access to open space, and social equity in policies and funding mechanisms at the regional, state, and federal levels.
  • Secure and defend public funding for the region, for our members’ projects and programs. 
  • Transform how we create a more just, climate resilient Bay Area by building new partnerships, amplifying Bay Area community voices, and leading with our values.
  • Leverage the local knowledge, relationships, and capacity of our members for regional funding and policies that support all of our members.
  • Tell stories and share data that make the case for equity and resilience through projects like the Conservation Lands Network and a new State of the Bay Area Lands Report (spring 2021), and the Bay Area Green Stimulus Opportunities Report.

The Policy Committee guides the work of the Advocacy Program, and is a standing committee of TOGETHER Bay Area Board members and representatives of coalition member organizations. The Committee ensures that the Advocacy Program’s goals and activities remain aligned with our mission and values. The Committee helps us advocate effectively towards our goals, and does so through values-driven, collaborative, inclusive participation of our coalition’s members.

We are developing the TOGETHER Bay Area Policy Platform for 2021 in the fall of 2020, with leadership from our Policy Committee and the participation of our full membership.

Questions? Contact Shelana deSilva, Political Director, at [email protected]

Regional reports

Rapid assessment of August fires

Mid-August lightning ignited fires across the San Francisco Bay Area. For several weeks, all Bay Area counties except San Francisco experienced fire, with burns in Napa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa, Sonoma, and Solano counties. These fires include the CZU, SCU, and LNU Lightning Complex Fires, which, sadly, encompassed many rural residential and some urban areas. The lightning fires in the Bay Area have been fully contained, leaving approximately 565,000 acres burned.

Given the geographic scope and scale of the fires, a regional assessment was needed in order to provide context of the 2020 fire incidents for the many affected land-owning agencies, organizations, and individuals. See the data here. 

This assessment was done by Tom Robinson and Dr. Stu Weiss. Contact: [email protected]

Bay Area Green Stimulus Opportunities

We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how we live together on this planet because of the public health and economic crises we’re facing. Our members are part of the solution and this report makes that case.

Our findings reveal that with investment from the State, our members could create at least 10,500 new jobs with more than 620 projects throughout the 10 counties that would in turn directly or indirectly serve all 7.7 million residents. 

Factsheet on Wildfire and our members

We compiled facts about wildfire prevention, recovery and restoration. For example, 40 open space districts, resource conservation districts, park departments, land trusts, and water districts actively manage 28% of the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI).

Conservation Lands Network

The Conservation Lands Network (CLN) is a regional conservation strategy for the San Francisco Bay Area, with a bold but achievable goal of conserving 50% of the Bay Area’s ecosystems by 2050 and a science-based pathway for achieving it. It features decision making tools that support strategic investments in land protection and stewardship.

The CLN focuses on conservation in areas that represent the region’s biodiversity and support ecological function across the nearly 5 million acres that comprise the 10 Bay Area counties. Updated in November 2019, CLN 2.0 equips the Bay Area to respond to climate change, connect landscapes, and connect upland and bayland conservation.

The CLN was launched in 2005 by the Bay Area Open Space Council and will continue with TOGETHER Bay Area in order to leverage data, tell stories, and make the case for resilient lands. 

Convene Program

Join us at an upcoming event or watch one of our past events. Participate in a community conversation. Connect, share, learn, coordinate.

Upcoming Events

Making Land Stewardship Relevant, Relatable and Inclusive – From being an ‘Outsider’ to becoming an ‘Insider’

You’re invited to an informal conversation on stewardship, where Yakuta Poonawalla, Community Programs Manager at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, will share her journey of expanding her understanding of stewardship, of challenging the status quo, feeling accepted as a land steward, and becoming an integral part of the Parks Conservancy’s Park Stewardship Program. Through intentional prompts, attendees will have an opportunity to share their stories and challenges they face in their landscapes and communities. Together, we will explore ways we can be truly inclusive, relatable and relevant, and  walk away with ideas and tools to create new ways of engaging communities in land stewardship, and inspiration to challenge the current stewardship narrative.

  • Thursday, December 3
  • 9am – 10am
  • Zoom link will be shared with those who register
  • Free and open to members and non-members

Questions? Email Suzanne at [email protected].

Past Events

Fall Forum, October 1-2

Over 200 people joined us for our first Fall Forum on October 1-2, 2020. The distinguished speakers – some of whom are sharing what gives them hope in the video above – talked about park equity, wildfire, jobs for climate change, and so much more. Attendees participated in seven sessions and engaged with fellow attendees in a dynamic online platform. Two of the sessions were members-only working sessions where we discussed the coalition’s intentions for equity and developing the 2021 policy platform.

One attendee described the event as: “Empathetic, Informational, Inspirational, New faces / new voices, Thought provoking, and Participatory.”

Policy and Funding for Transformation

30 Minutes Together conversation with Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer of the Coastal Conservancy about what’s happening locally, regionally, at the state level, and federally. With Annie Burke on October 22, 2020.

Policy Briefing about what’s happening regionally, at the state-wide level, and a brief mention of what’s happening federally. With Annie Burke and Shelana deSilva on October 15, 2020.

Conversation with Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer of the Coastal Conservancy about grants, bond measures, and more. With Shelana deSilva on April 13, 2020.

Leveraging regional data with the Conservation Lands Network

Getting the most out of the Conservation Lands Network, a powerful tool for decision-making and making the case for support. CLN Project Director Tom Robinson will demonstrate how to interpret the results of the CLN Explorer Tool’s Conservation Portfolio Reports for land assessments, fundraising, and climate change implications. With Tom Robinson on October 14, 2020.

Regional conservation strategy and the Conservation Lands Network 2.0 webinar. With Tom Robinson and Stu Weiss in partnership with the CA Coastal Conservancy on March 26, 2020. 

30 Minutes Together conversations

30 Minutes Together conversation with Bob Neale about phases and emotions of wildfire recovery. Bob serves as Stewardship Director at Sonoma Land Trust and talked about his experience living through the Sonoma County fires of 2017, 2019 and 2020. With Annie Burke on September 3, 2020.

30 Minutes Together conservation with Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino about resilience, community, and how to nurture ourselves in tough times. Vincent is a member of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area and Louis is a member of the Rumsen Ohlone community. With Annie Burke on May 14, 2020.

30 Minutes Together conversation with Laura Rodriguez about privilege, meaningful experiences in nature, and the work we all need to do. With Annie Burke on May 7, 2020.

Adapting to the COVID-19 era

Conversation about Parks and Public Health with Dr. Nooshin Razani, UCSF, and Dr. Curtis Chan, San Francisco Public Health, about what is safe in parks, how we think about nature, and the four crises we’re facing: COVID transmission, health care system, mental health during shelter-in-place orders, and economy. With Annie Burke on March 26, 2020.

Conversation with Kim Klein about nonprofit fundraising, fundraising in a time of crisis, opportunities, and relationships with donors. With Annie Burke on April 3, 2020.

See the TOGETHER Bay Area YouTube channel for more webinars and events.
Community Conversations 

Since March 2020 we have been facilitating regular conversations with communities of people around the issues they face and the opportunities of the moment. These are open, honest conversations with peers from around the region where we can listen, problem-solve, and support each other. 

Some of the Community Conversations we are facilitating include: 

  • Nonprofit Executive Directors. Contact Annie Burke for more information.
  • Senior leaders at public land management agencies. Contact Annie Burke for more information.
  • Communications and public affairs. Google Drive folder is here. Sign up here.
  • Land stewardship during COVID shelter-in-place. Google Drive folder is here. Sign up here.
Regional public education campaign

Our members and partners need to communicate consistently and clearly to the general public about the risks of overcrowding the region’s public lands (parks, trails, beaches, open spaces, etc). We do our part to keep parks and people safe and healthy. And we need to welcome new park users, remind people of the value of public lands, and encourage kindness.  

In collaboration with our members, we have created regional messaging, a website (, two short videos, social media assets, and a toolkit that our members and partners can use.