After six years of running its 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation has announced the next step in its commitment to building a more resilient world: a multi-million dollar Climate and Resilience Initiative.

The Initiative’s Predecessor

The 100 Resilient Cities program (100RC), premiered in 2014 with a cohort of 32 cities, followed by 34 next year, and since 2016 the initiative has had 100 member cities. Over the course of the initiative’s six year duration, the Rockefeller Foundation has committed over $164 million to various resiliency-building projects across the globe, pioneered 80 Resilience Strategies, put forth 4,000 actions and initiatives, and utilized $25 billion in external funding. Perhaps one of the most impactful aspects of the 100RC network was the designation of Chief Resilience Officers in most of the 100 cities. Many cities are opting to continue to utilize the role moving forward, demonstrating a continued interest in the resilience of their landscape.

The Rockefeller Foundation (Source Wikimedia Commons/Rf Digital)
The Rockefeller Foundation (Source Wikimedia Commons/Rf Digital)

Among some of the stand-out projects from the 100RC Initiative are those in Boston, Massachusetts, Miami, Florida, and Salvador, Brazil. Officials in Boston have prioritized addressing racial inequities in the city and have hosted a 3-day Network Exchange at which other resilience focused professionals from Atlanta, Los Angeles, Louisville, New York, Seattle, Tulsa, Great Manchester and Toronto convened to develop steps to further social cohesion. In Miami, the initiative has prompted a comprehensive strategy for strengthening responses to the shocks and stresses that come from a combination of threats, including surge flooding, lack of affordable housing, and coastal erosion as a result of rising sea levels. Salvador, Brazil also hosted a Network Exchange attended by representatives from Accra, Cape Town, Chennai, Lagos, Montevideo and Paynesville to develop solutions to the nexus of Urban informality and resilience. Additionally, Melbourne, Australia was able to use the 100RC framework to identify several “shocks and stressors” facing its city, leading it to form a custom city resiliency strategy. Consequently, the city has developed plans to enhance urban green spaces in order increased biodiversity, enhance air, soil and water quality, reduce heat stress, and improve the physical and mental health of residents.

The New Initiative

On July 8th, The Foundation announced that it would allocate $8 million to transition its 100 Resilient Cities Initiative to the Climate and Resilience Initiative. The new Initiative will be led by Elizabeth Yee, former Vice President of Financial Resilience under 100RC. The announcement means a decrease in funding from what the the Foundation has granted in previous years (averaging $30 million-$40 million per year). However, the networks that the 100RC initiative fostered will remain beneficial to the cities’ leadership even with the plunge in funds. 

Elizabeth Yee (center), President of The Climate and Resilience Initiative (Source Flickr/New America)
Elizabeth Yee (center), President of The Climate and Resilience Initiative (Source Flickr/New America)

Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, said that with the new initiative, “…we aim to ensure continued collaboration and sharing among cities to address some of their most pressing challenges.”

 Resilience Funding Outlook

Although the announcement reflects an overall decrease in annual funding for resilience development, the Foundation is still active in several other respects. The Foundation has recently granted $30 million to the Atlantic Council for the creation of the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, $2 million to provide technical assistance and support resilience strategy implementation in 100RC member cities throughout North America, and $12 million to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to continue the 100RC initiative in full until August. Further, the relationships that have been established are likely to continue to enhance international cooperation between the member cities, especially those which face similar threats to resiliency. 

Sources and Further Reading

The Rockefeller Foundation Launches New Climate and Resilience Initiative; Commits An Initial $8 Million To Continue Supporting Global Network Of Cities And Chief Resilience Officers – The Rockefeller Foundation

What is a Chief Resilience Officer? – 100 Resilient Cities

A Look Inside the Addis Ababa Network Exchange100 Resilient Cities

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and 100 Resilient Cities Launch Network Exchange on Equitable and Resilient Cities 100 Resilient Cities

The Rise, Fall, and Possible Rebirth of 100 Resilient Cities – CityLab

Rockefeller Foundation launches new Climate and Resilience initiativeSmart Cities World

Greater Miami and the Beaches’ Resilience Challenge – 100 Resilient Cities

What Nest after 100 Resilient Cities Funding Ends? – The Conversation

Rockefeller to Wind Down Biggest Private Climate Resilience Push – Bloomberg

100 Resilient Cities announces hundredth member, but ‘work is only just beginning’ – The Guardian