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Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity (CRUO)


Strengthening the Climate-Resilience Field by Supporting New Models and Approaches to Policy and Planning That Directly Benefit Low-Income Communities. (Concluded 2019)

What We Support/Key Strategies

Building the Capacity of Community-Based Leadership

Advancing Equity-Driven Policy and Planning Solutions

Strengthening the Evidence Base for Equitable Climate Approaches

In 2014, Kresge launched the CRUO initiative, a five-year, $29 million effort created to prioritize work led by advocates and organizers in urban communities facing disproportionate environmental burdens.

A cohort of 15 nonprofit organizations were awarded $660,000 multiyear implementation grants to execute work plans over three years. Each grantee work plan focused on influencing local and regional climate planning and policy development to better reflect the needs and priorities of low-income communities. In addition to the 15 place-based CRUO project sites, the initiative also provided funding to nonprofit organizations that have a strong focus on equity and social justice work that advances national field-building efforts to strengthen equitable climate approaches.

In designing and implementing the multiyear initiative, Kresge intentionally:

  • “Flipped the frame,” deciding to fund equity-centered groups to deepen their expertise on climate change rather than funding traditional climate change organizations to develop their expertise on equity.
  • Assembled a culturally competent implementation team, whose members brought deep knowledge and experience in advancing racial equity.
  • Held an adaptive management posture, ensuring the initiative team worked under the premise that if “we are asking our grantees to change, then we also must be willing to change.”
  • Named race by explicitly addressing racial equity as core to the work.
  • Managed risk with regard to transparency, mutual accountability and navigation of the inevitable power dynamics between foundations and their grantee partners.

In 2019, the CRUO Evaluation was released, affirming the significant value that community-based organizations grounded in equity bring to climate change work. CRUO grantees achieved meaningful policy wins in their local communities, regions and at the state level. Collectively, they contributed to a shift in how climate change work is framed by expanding the range of issues recognized as relevant, and elevating the profile of equity within the field.

Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity (CRUO) Initiative Grantees

Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity (CRUO) Resources

Equitable Climate Resilience for U.S. Local Governments

The Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) has released findings from a two-year study on how cities can better address social inequities in their climate resilience planning. Throughout the…