I think it's fair to say we're all glad to finally have 2020 in the rearview mirror.
Looking back on the past year and its many challenges, I am incredibly proud of how Forth’s team has responded. I am also deeply aware of what a privilege it is to be able to do important work surrounded by such dedicated people. While the pandemic isolated us like never before, it also brought us together in creative ways.
When the pandemic crushed our plans to host the global EVS 33 conference in Portland in conjunction with our Roadmap Conference, we quickly pivoted to an online format, with webinars that attracted over 2,500 people from 43 U.S. states and 14 different countries.
With public “ride and drive” events postponed by the pandemic, we deployed our cars to help deliver food to those in need and for mobile testing to farmworkers around Oregon.
We migrated our consumer engagement and market acceleration efforts online, creating the “EVening Commute” and “EV Cafeteria” webinar series while deepening our relationships with electric utilities, car dealers, employers, and other “fellow travelers” in the increasingly online customer journey.
We dug deeper for ways to use clean transportation technologies to disrupt racism and inequality in transportation systems. Partnering with EVNoire, we presented the first National E-Mobility Equity Conference.
We launched innovative new programs to help historically underserved populations access electric vehicles in St. Louis, the Columbia River Gorge, and our own hometown of Portland. We also worked harder to deepen our own internal understanding of racial equity and white privilege, developing specific action plans that will make us more effective allies.
In the midst of and in spite of all of the year’s challenges, we continued to expand our work, avoided layoffs and Forth was once again voted one of the best nonprofits to work for in Oregon.
We enter 2021 with renewed hope and ambition to make clean transportation more affordable, accessible, and equitable.
We are expanding our work into rural areas and to electrify medium and heavy-duty vehicles, as illustrated by our electric tractor project. We are partnering with Greenlining Institute in launching the TEEM community of practice, bringing equity and environmental organizations together. We are deepening our commitment to federal policy work, to ensure that our practical hands-on experience is at the table as the Biden Administration designs new programs and investments.
With effective vaccines coming to market, we hope to be able to see many of you in person again before the end of the year. Meanwhile, I hope you can find some time to reflect on all the things you have to be grateful for, even in this most challenging of years.
This blog post is part of a quarterly series of letters written by the Executive Director, Senior Leadership and our Executive Committee. These blogs cover the state of the organization, industry, and current events relevant to smart transportation.