We seek to help communities build environmental, economic and social resilience in the face of climate change.
The Kresge Foundation seeks to expand opportunities in America’s cities. Our Environment Program invests in activities that reduce the severity of climate change and strengthen communities against the changes already underway.
The Environment Program is refining its funding priorities.
See the new program content on this page for an update on its emerging areas of emphasis.
The portal for unsolicited requests is closed. Grantmaking continues via invited applications until the new program strategy is announced.
The best way to stay abreast of new developments is through Kresge’s email subscription service, RSS or social media. Email subscribers are notified within hours of our updates.
Thank you for your patience.
We are committed to building the resilience of communities.
What do we mean by resilience? In our view, resilient communities will be better positioned to prosper amid the range of circumstances they are likely to face as a consequence of climate change.
Communities become more resilient when they:
- Anticipate and prepare for the conditions climate change will introduce or worsen.
- Limit the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change by reducing demand for energy and increasing the proportion derived from renewable sources.
- Promote social cohesion and inclusion so that community members share information and support one another.
Building a community’s resilience is a multidimensional process. It requires a diverse set of disciplines and an integrated approach to problem solving. It involves an understanding of all aspects of community life, viewing each – political jurisdictions, natural systems, the built environment, among others – as parts of a whole rather than as independent entities.
To improve the resilience of their communities, we suggest citizens and civic leaders consider a two-part climate question when planning and decision-making:
- Does a proposed policy or action have implications – positive or negative – for the severity of climate change? If negative, how will they be addressed?
- Do the expected consequences of climate change affect the viability of a proposed policy or course of action? If so, what needs to change?
We continue to refine our strategy, but expect to pursue two strands of work.
We will support:
- Place-based activities: Communities of practitioners who are addressing similar resilience challenges; topic areas are to be determined.
- Field building: Organizations that are advancing new knowledge, contributing new resources, building wider understanding of climate-resilience concepts, and promoting diverse networks and learning opportunities.
We will work to ensure that the climate-resilience field develops with dedicated competencies for addressing the needs of low-income people and communities. Given the disproportionate amount of negative effects they will experience, they also must realize commensurate benefit.
You can learn about the new guidelines as soon as they’re available by staying in touch through email subscription, RSS or social media. Email subscribers will be notified within hours of our updates.
How we work
In all our grantmaking, investment and action, we aim to enable people and institutions to work together to address the climate crisis, with an eye toward innovation, problem-solving and informed risk taking.
We award general operating-support and project-support grants. We also make program-related investments in the energy-efficiency field.
We strive to:
- Focus on outcomes that will be achieved.
- Have a tangible impact on policy and practice.
- Favor strategies that cut across sectors and disciplines.
- Promote integrated, system-based initiatives.
- Empower vulnerable, underserved populations and protect future generations.
- Use the full array of resources and tools available to us.
In approaching our work, we endeavor to:
- Work in close collaboration with colleagues at nonprofit organizations, public institutions, fellow foundations and other institutions, engaging as thoughtful and respectful partners.
- Take on leadership roles in areas where we have special expertise or knowledge.
- Convene experts and decision makers to set agendas, identify priorities and develop and advance comprehensive strategies.
- Connect individuals and organizations working in different sectors and fields to share expertise.
- Build a discipline of learning from the work we support and use those lessons to inform our future work.
Who may apply?
- U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organizations and their Canadian equivalents
- Government entities
Who will be competitive?
- We award support to organizations whose work aligns closely with our strategies and holds strong promise to bring about positive change.
- We award support to organizations that work nationally, across multiple states or at the regional or statewide level. Projects that are local in scope without clear replication potential rarely are funded.
- The majority of grants and program-related investments are made within the United States. We do not support projects outside of North America.
We do not fund:
- Environmental education programs or the development of curricula.
- Media projects unless they are tightly aligned with our grantmaking strategies and advance the work of our grantees.
- The construction or renovation of facilities or individual renewable-energy installations.
- The acquisition of land, other property or conservation easements for solely land-conservation purposes.
- The costs associated with designing and planning environmentally responsible buildings.
- Primary scientific research.
- Research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
- International projects outside of North America.
Applications by invitation only, pending completion of a program revision. We recommend staying in touch though an email subscription.