Expanding opportunities in America’s cities
Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems An initiative to transform urban stormwater and wastewater systems so they provide reliable, equitable and innovative services to communities despite the uncertainties introduced by climate change

Climate change already is affecting water supply and management systems.  Changes in the timing, frequency and intensity of precipitation are placing stress on the built and natural systems that provide fresh water, manage stormwater, and treat wastewater. Flooding is an issue of particular concern for urban, low-income communities, where degraded water quality, threats to public health, destruction of homes and property and economic harm occur disproportionately. We seek to advance a water equity agenda that advances solutions to climate-related flood and storm impacts on water systems and enhances local climate-resilience planning that supports integrated water-management practices.

We work to:

  • Support and nurture a new cadre of water leaders to amplify marginalized voices and strengthen climate-vulnerable regions and water systems.

  • Build the case and enabling environment for  equitable water system transformation.

  • Advance non-traditional approaches to financing, operations and community participation that produce multiple community benefits.

About CREWS The Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) consists of 24 nonprofits working to advance equitable solutions to climate-related storm and flood impacts on low-income communities in U.S. cities. Many of the partner nonprofits work on CREWS projects in multiple locations across the nation.
American Rivers
Washington, D.C.
American Rivers works with city leaders, community organizations, regulatory agencies and service providers to improve urban resilience to climate change and through integrated water management and the promotion of green infrastructure.
Anthropocene Alliance
Chicago, Illinois
The Anthropocene Alliance educates and organizes low-income residents and businesses impacted by urban flooding – particularly in African American and Latino communities – to combat climate change, increase investments in resilience and positively influence policymakers.
Carpe Diem West
Sausalito, California
Carpe Diem West leads a network of water leaders catalyzing innovative, equitable, just and sustainable responses to water crises and the climate changes in the American West.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Annapolis, Maryland
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation engages municipal leaders, with a pilot program starting in Baltimore, about green stormwater infrastructure and environmental impact bonds to promote infrastructure such as rain gardens, green roofs and permeable pavement to mitigate flooding, reduce storm water pollution, improve air quality and build climate resilience.
Clean Water for All Campaign
Merrifield, Virginia
The National Wildlife Federation, through support of the Clean Water for All Campaign, works to create policy plans for multiple clean-water and infrastructure funding mechanisms, and to strengthen the participation of environmental and social justice groups in the national Clean Water for All Campaign.
Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Inc.
News Orleans, Louisiana
Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Inc. spearheaded a planning process across five Gulf Coast cities to ensure water management decisions meet the needs of communities who are low-income, vulnerable to climate-related flooding and face other environmental threats to public health.
Earth Economics
Tacoma, Washington
Earth Economics works to provide science-based, ecologically sound economic analysis in partnership with community organizations and local and federal agencies to increase the financial viability and acceptance of green infrastructure and climate resilience projects.
Fair Share Housing Center
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
The Fair Share Housing Center helps to ensure the fair distribution of disaster-recovery funds for water infrastructure investments and climate resiliency in areas impacted by severe flooding in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
Fresh Coast Capital
Chicago, Illinois
Fresh Coast Capital helps guide cities to develop and finance community-focused turnkey green infrastructure projects from start to finish, intentionally engaging the community through the entire planning and implementation process.
Freshwater Future
Petoskey, Michigan
Freshwater Future engages Great Lakes community-based groups in the Clean Water For All Campaign, which brings together national, regional, and local advocates from diverse backgrounds to defend and, where possible, strengthen federal protections and funding for clean water protection in the U.S.
The Funders Network
Coral Gables, Florida
The Urban Water Funders Group (UWFG), a topical working group of The Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities helps connect and align funders to take action in exploring the role of water in urban settings and how it can benefit the environment and advance equity and the economies of communities. UWFG also works with other TFN member foundations to co-invest in green stormwater infrastructure partnership projects through the Partners for Places grant program, a program that provides two-year grants for cities to implement urban sustainability projects with support from local, place-based foundations matched by national foundations. This grant from Kresge will support the core functions of the UWFG ($20,000) and one or more place-based green stormwater infrastructure projects through the P4P program ($100,000). This work will help advance nontraditional approaches to urban stormwater management addressing climate resilience and equity, which is strongly aligned with our Climate Resilience and Equitable Water Systems strategy.
Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange
Chicago, Illinois
The Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange coordinates a peer-learning network for municipal utility managers who are responsible for the design, implementation and management of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) systems.
Green Latinos
Washington, D.C.
GreenLatinos works to strengthen the participation of Latino advocacy groups in the national Clean Water for All Campaign, which brings together national, regional and local advocates from diverse backgrounds to defend and, where possible, strengthen federal protections and funding for clean water in the United States.
Groundworks USA
Yonkers, New York
Groundworks USA will develop and implement strategies to address urban flooding and other climate risks faced by low- and moderate-income communities in five geographies served by local Groundwork Trusts: Denver, Colorado; Elizabeth, New Jersey; Rhode Island; Richmond, California; and Richmond, Virginia. Each trust will (1) conduct climate vulnerability mapping to understand the connections between urban flooding, urban heat islands and historical racism; (2) identify solutions through community-based engagement and alignment of stakeholders around a common agenda and implementation strategy; and (3) incorporate climate equity into local plans, policies and investments.
Hip Hop Caucus
Washington, D.C.
The Hip Hop Caucus strengthens the participation of community cultural leaders in the national Clean Water for All Campaign, which brings together national, regional and local advocates from diverse backgrounds to defend and, where possible, strengthen federal protections and funding for clean water in the United States.
The Nature Conservancy
Detroit, Michigan
The Nature Conservancy is conducting a feasibility study for a watershed improvement district (WID) in Detroit’s Eastern Market district to identify the elements necessary to make green infrastructure coupled with neighborhood revitalization viable in other Detroit neighborhoods.
One Voice
Jackson, Mississippi
One Voice conducts research to understand how federal and state funding to implement sustainable water, sewer and waste water infrastructure projects has been allocated among affluent vs. high-poverty, climate-vulnerable cities in six southern states.
Washington, D.C.
PolicyLink is developing a national climate resilience and water-equity caucus representing a shared set of principles, strategies, and activities that will enable low-income communities and communities of color to act powerfully together.
Re:Focus Partners
San Diego, California
Re:Focus Partners, llc is developing integrated resilience solutions and innovative public-private partnerships to support climate vulnerable communities experiencing flooding by providing technical assistance in six small- to medium-sized cities to identify, address and overcome barriers to promote innovative and climate-resilient solutions for water infrastructure. The cities are: Camden, New Jersey; El Paso, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Imperial Beach, California; Providence, Rhode Island; Anchorage, Alaska; and Norfolk, Virginia.
Southeast Sustainability Directors Network
Knoxville, Tennessee
The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network works to accelerate the adoption of best practices to create climate-resilient, equitable water systems. It supports the Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund (SSCF), which provides grants to cities in the southeastern U.S. to advance climate adaptation and social equity in local government policy, plans and/or programs.
Trust for Public Land
San Francisco, California
The Trust for Public Land has designed an arts and culture-infused, multiple-benefit green infrastructure pilot program that builds climate resilience and has positive impacts on public health, in three demonstration cities: New Orleans, Louisiana; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Richmond, California.
US Water Alliance
Washington, D.C.
The US Water Alliance aligns a diverse set of stakeholders – which includes major water utilities, public officials, the private sector, environmental organizations, community leaders, policy organizations, and regulators – to secure a sustainable water future for all communities.
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