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Learning initiative helps Environment Program partners apply diversity, equity into climate resilience work


The Kresge Foundation’s Environment Program recently launched a capacity-building program providing high-quality racial and equity training to individuals from almost 50 grantee organizations. The program is intended to help participants advance their understanding of racial equity and deepen skills in applying an equity lens in their climate resilience practices.

The Racial Equity Learning Program was created in response to grantee requests for deeper knowledge and skills on incorporating equity, diversity and inclusion in their climate resilience work, and Kresge’s observations about the need for such skill-building in the climate resilience field.

Learning session at The Kresge Foundation

“We believe that competency in and commitment to equity are prerequisites to advancing our program goal of helping cities implement comprehensive climate resilience strategies grounded in equity,” said Lois DeBacker, managing director of the Environment Program. “We designed the program to meet grantees where they are – from the early learners to experienced practitioners. We think the program will strengthen our grantees’ capacities to create more equitable climate resilience approaches in the institutions and communities they serve.”

Kresge teamed with Community Wealth Partners, which manages the program, to design a curriculum tailored to participating organizations’ needs. Participants will receive training, technical assistance and coaching. Service providers have been selected to provide the training across four competency areas:

  • Gaining knowledge and historical awareness of systemic and structural racism, diversity and equity.
  • Executing an intentional and racially equitable approach to engaging others working on climate resilience issues.
  • Building confidence and applying skills to integrate and model racial equity in day-to-day work.
  • Deepening capacity to lead organizational change to become more racially aware and equitable.

More than 100 individuals from 49 organizations will participate in the learning program, which will run from now through August 2019. While emphasizing racial equity, the program also addresses the intersectionality of race with ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and other attributes associated with diversity and inclusion.

The primary service providers working with grantees include The Raben Group, Race Forward, Partners for Collaborative Change, Frontline Solutions and Avarna.