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Expanding opportunities in America’s cities
Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity The Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity (CRUO) initiative was developed to strengthen the climate-resilience field by supporting new models, methodologies, and approaches to policy and planning that directly benefit low-income communities.

About the CRUO Initiative

In 2014, Kresge launched the CRUO initiative, a five-year, $29 million effort designed to strengthen the capacity of community-based non-profit organizations to influence local and regional climate-resilience planning, policy development, and implementation to better reflect the priorities and needs of low-income urban communities in U.S. cities. The initiative also sought to strengthen the field by supporting new equity-centered methodologies and approaches to climate-resilience policy and planning.

CRUO Grantees A cohort of 15 nonprofit organizations from across the U.S. were awarded $660,000 multiyear implementation grants to execute work plans over three years focused on influencing local and regional climate resilience planning and policy development to better reflect the needs and priorities of low-income communities. The cohort completed a planning phase in 2015 during which they developed the work plans that are now being executed. CRUO also provided funding to a separate set of nonprofit organizations who have a strong focus on equity and social justice who are working to advance both placed-based and field-building efforts to strengthen equitable climate-resilience in low-income communities, but who are not funded through the CRUO multiyear implementation cohort.
New York, New York
Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN) seeks to achieve a more resilient and just climate economy in New York City through increased energy efficiency, renewable energy infrastructure, equitable job creation, sustainable and affordable housing for residents, and reduced public health impacts and energy burdens on low-income households. Partner: Climate Works for All
Asian Pacific Environment Network
Oakland, CA
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) works to ensure working-class communities of color can respond to the impacts of climate change and displacement pressures. APEN aims to improve neighborhood stabilization and ensure access to the economic and health benefits of climate policies and public funds by infusing the priorities of low income and vulnerable populations into policies and investments. Partner: Causa Justa :: Just Cause
Catalyst Miami
Miami, FL
Catalyst Miami works to create and support structures and systems in Miami-Dade County that benefit all community members, provide for the safety and well-being of future generations of Miami’s residents and visitors, establish networks to fight poverty countywide, and contribute to global climate resilience.
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
Cleveland, OH
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is working toward comprehensive and equitable climate resilience that delivers multiple benefits to residents including: working to ensure neighborhoods are prepared for emergencies and energy consumption is reduced; the City of Cleveland's Climate Action Plan is updated using an equity and engagement framework with the Climate Ambassadors playing an integral role in the outreach and engagement process; and social cohesion is strengthened in the four participating neighborhoods. Partners: City of Cleveland Ohio, Kent State University/Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning
Environmental Health Coalition
National City, California
Environmental Health Coalition was established to reduce the impacts of climate change by increasing climate resilience throughout the San Diego region with an emphasis on the most impacted communities, including improved transportation access and infrastructure, job opportunities, improved public health, and increased civic engagement in impacted communities. Partners: Center on Policy Initiatives, San Diego 350
Fifth Avenue Committee
Brooklyn, NY
Fifth Avenue Committee supports resilient, sustainable, healthy, and safe communities in the Brooklyn, New York coastal neighborhoods of Red Hook and Gowanus by organizing low-income public housing residents and allies to inform the climate justice and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) accountability movements as well as land use and environmental remediation efforts. Partners: New York Housing Authority, Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp., Red Hook Initiative
Ironbound Community Corporation
Newark, NJ
Ironbound Community Corporation works to ensure the City of Newark, NJ and all residents are more resilient to the effects of climate change, specifically flooding, air pollution, dirty energy, extreme weather, and heat. Jobs creation and small business development rebuilds and greens the city’s aging infrastructure, pairing climate resilience with economic stability and climate resilience does not lead to displacement of current residents. Partners: Clean Water Fund, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance
Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
Fresno, CA
Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability has increased resilience in low income and vulnerable neighborhoods in Fresno and Kern counties in California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV) through improvements in public health, reductions in private vehicle travel and better alternatives, increased investments in community priorities, and protection from the proliferation of polluting uses in disadvantaged communities. Partner: Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) works to ensure frontline communities drive the decisions that impact them at work and at home to create a sustainable economy that works for all. The organization fights for a green economy that creates access to jobs and access to the benefits of clean energy and clean water, with the ultimate goal of creating more resilient and safe communities. Partner: RePower LA
Native American Youth and Family Center
Portland, OR
Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) is working in partnership with the Coalition of Communities of Color and OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon to establish comprehensive and equitable climate resilience policy and practices changes that deliver multiple forms of justice to communities of color and low-income people. Partners: Coalition of Communities of Color, OPAL: Organizing People/Activating Leaders
Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, Inc.
Washington, D,C
Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, Inc. (NOAH) is working to bring attention to community climate resilience needs and priorities while supporting residents in their diverse East Boston community to be embedded and take leadership roles in climate resilience efforts occurring at the neighborhood, city, and state levels.
Puget Sound SAGE
Seattle, WA
Puget Sound SAGE and its frontline community partner, Got Green, are working to ensure low-income communities and communities of color prosper through the advancement of climate adaptation and mitigation and the reduction of carbon emissions. Their goals include maintaining established affordable housing while also finding new affordable housing opportunities to stabilize communities; preserving culturally relevant community anchors; and a living wage. Partner: Got Green
Southwest Workers Union
San Antonio, Texas
Southwest Workers Union (SWU) advocates for socially just climate resilience in San Antonio, Texas, including increased low-income access to weatherization and renewable energy programs and services which reduce low income energy costs, increase local green jobs, and reduce air pollution and heat impacts in disproportionately affected communities.
The Point CDC
Bronx, New York
The Point CDC and the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA) are working to realize comprehensive and equitable climate resilience policy and practice changes that deliver multiple benefits to South Bronx residents. Focused on neighborhoods in the South Bronx Significant Maritime and Industrial Area (SMIA), The Point and NYC-EJA are creating neighborhoods that are healthy, safe, sustainable, resilient, and equitable. Partner: New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
West Harlem Environmental Action
New York, New York
WE ACT is working to ensure Northern Manhattan neighborhoods are energy secure through a resilient energy infrastructure that uses renewable technology, supports microgrids that can work independently of the larger, more vulnerable grid, and provides access to these innovation to low-income residents.

What We Learned from CRUO


We're proud to present the 2019 CRUO Evaluation Report. We began with one central question in mind: Would cities adopt different and more universally protective policies and practices to advance climate resilience (defined by Kresge to include climate change mitigation, adaptation, and social inclusion) if organizations deeply committed to equity were resourced to fully participate in the policy-formation process?

CRUO Key Findings

The CRUO evaluation affirms the significant value community-based organizations grounded in equity bring to climate-change work. Through the efforts of 15 placed-based project sites, CRUO brought attention to the needs and priorities of communities often underrepresented in conversations about climate change and resilience solutions and helped to elevate the voice of community members in local processes and policy change. Collectively, the organizations achieved meaningful policy wins in their local communities, regions and at the state level by contributing to a shift in how climate-resilience work is framed. They expanded the range of issues recognized as relevant to climate resilience and elevated the profile of equity within the climate resilience field.

Download the full Evaluation Report | Download the Executive Summary | Download the Key Takeaways

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