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Kresge Foundation 12-city, $8-million pledge to boost impact of low-income communities in climate resilience planning


One dozen communities will share almost $8 million in Kresge Foundation support to develop more effective climate resilience frameworks in urban low-income communities.

The grants are provided through The Kresge Foundation’s Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity Initiative, which aims to improve the resilience of low-income communities in the face of climate change.

The Initiative aims is to bolster the capacity of community-based nonprofit groups to influence local and regional climate resilience planning, policy development, and implementation in ways that better reflect the needs of underrepresented people in U.S. cities. Examples of expected outcomes include stronger energy efficiency policies, disaster-preparedness plans and carbon-reduction strategies as well as more robust social cohesion that can bond communities together during crises.

“We are committed to strengthening the climate resilience field by supporting effective organizations that can create new models and strategies that benefit low-income communities,” said Lois DeBacker, managing director of the foundation’s Environment Program. “Climate change disproportionately impacts those with the least means to adapt or respond to it.  Similarly, the benefits of clean energy technologies often don’t reach low-income communities.  With efforts to address these equity issues, we can help ensure that these communities are not left behind.”

The initiative was administered in two phases. All 12 successful organizations received planning grants in 2014, allowing them to outline implementation strategies. The implementation grants were awarded Dec. 3 by The Kresge Foundation Board of Trustees. They provide $660,000 over a three-year period for each organization.

Kresge expects that the funding will allow grant recipients to:

  • Systematically engage leaders and advocates who authentically represent the concerns of low-income communities to generate support for local and regional climate resilience plans that are equitable and impactful.
  • Elevate the influence of community-based organizations and leaders who emerge as experts in the climate resilience field.
  • Generate new understandings and approaches to climate resilience policy and planning with equity concerns at the forefront.

Kresge’s Climate Resilience and Urban Opportunity initiative is guided by an advisory committee that includes leading climate resilience and social justice practitioners and thinkers. The committee worked closely with Kresge’s Environment Program staff to shape the initiative and to help ensure strong outcomes.

The organizations are: 

Additionally, three organizations were awarded extensions of their planning grants to further strengthen their work plans in pursuit of implementation funding. They are: