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Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS)


Transforming urban stormwater and wastewater systems to provide reliable, equitable and innovative services to all community residents.

Key Strategies

Convening urban leaders to build climate and equity knowledge that leads to action

Providing evidence to make the case for policy and funding to strengthen planning and management

Increasing investment in cities that use community-led and climate data-driven approaches

Low-income communities and communities of color across the U.S. are disproportionately vulnerable to urban flooding and extreme rainfall. This inequity is due to a complex combination of institutions, policies and investments that have historically marginalized these communities, both socially and economically, and now puts them at risk of bearing the adverse impacts of climate change. In March 2016, Kresge launched the CREWS initiative to support grantees working at the intersection of water, climate resilience, and equity. The initiative aims to address those inequities by building climate-resilient water systems and thereby providing low-income communities and communities of color with an opportunity to be healthy, safe and economically unburdened in the face of urban flooding.

The CREWS initiative consists of more than 30 organizations working to advance equitable solutions to climate-related storm and flood impacts on low-income communities. They work at multiple scales and geographies across the nation. Our diverse group of CREWS grantee partners include: water utility leaders, community-based organizations, environmental nonprofits, environmental justice organizations, neighborhood coalitions, academic and applied research institutions, artistic and cultural expression leaders, project developers and funders.

Vision: Urban stormwater and wastewater systems are resilient to climate change and provide equitable services to communities. Cities manage water in a way that keeps people safe, healthy, and economically unburdened.

Goal: Help cities implement climate-resilient approaches to urban stormwater and wastewater management that are grounded in the needs, priorities, and knowledge of low-wealth communities and communities of color.


  • Support frontline organizations and local public-sector leaders working to advance equitable and climate-resilient water solutions in place.
  • Resource and strengthen movements of water leaders and organizations at the community, regional, and national levels.
  • Push for changes to policy, finance, and governance that lead to climate change-driven approaches to water management.

Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) Grantees

Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) Resources

Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) Partners

Arabella Advisors

We help our clients improve the world through effective philanthropy and impact investing.

California Environmental Associates

CEA helps transform business practices, public policies, nonprofit organizations and philanthropic strategies to improve environmental outcomes.

Catalyst Collaboratives

At Catalyst Collaboratives, we work alongside our partners to develop, implement and refine their change strategy.

The Meridian Institute

A non-profit organization that helps people make informed decisions and implement solutions that improve lives, the economy and the environment.

Urban Water Funders Network

Urban Water Funders explores the role of water in urban settings to the benefit of the environment, equity and economies of communities.