Resilient Cities: NLC Announces New Partnership and Grant Opportunity

October 29, 2020 - (3 min read)

In 2013 the Rockefeller Foundation launched the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge, an audacious $100 million effort to build urban resilience around the world and advance a global conversation about the potential for local leadership in the 21st century. The 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) model resonated with elected officials and communities across the globe who understood first-hand how poverty, climate change, transportation, and mental health intersect.

Staff members together in a leadership meeting.

Since that time, the field of community resilience has evolved dramatically. The most important developments have helped communities break out of departmental siloes, take more multi-disciplinary approaches, understand the root causes of their problems, and create more holistic city-wide strategies. The 100RC initiative led this work for six years before announcing it was dissolving in 2019, but the network of chief resilience officers it generated lives on in the recently launched Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities).

I was one of many people inspired by this work and it motivated me to design a program so that NLC members could chart a similar course. For the last four years, the Leadership in Community Resilience grant program (LCR) has been guided by a mission to draw on the processes and approaches of 100RC and bring these ideas to small and mid-size cities, legacy cities, and suburban communities. To date, we have provided grant funding, leadership training, and community engagement support for 33 cities. Successful projects are the result of committed leadership from local leaders, city staff, and community-based organizations, and the cities in this program have received $330,000 in grants and leveraged this to recruit approximately $2 million in additional awards, sponsorships, and in-kind contributions.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the 2021 LCR request for proposals to award $10,000 grants and ongoing technical assistance to eight new cities next year. Applications will remain open until December 23, 2020.

We are also coming full circle with the network of chief resilience officers by unveiling a groundbreaking partnership with R-Cities that has the potential to unlock more transformative solutions. Together, NLC and R-Cities will offer customized, tailored approaches to the LCR cohort of cities and provide the thought partnership and accountability to keep city projects on track. As the partnership develops, it will expand to include training, programs, and research for a variety of NLC membership groups, councils, and committees. 

The COVID pandemic is exposing fiscal, environmental, and social challenges in every community. More than ever, city to city networks have become trusted sources for elected leaders and staff. Our hope is that both the LCR program and the NLC/R-Cities partnership can help empower cities to generate working solutions, lead with their residents, and act more boldly than they could alone.

Applications Now Closed

The Leadership in Community Resilience (LCR) grant program supports and enhances local capacity among elected leaders and staff, communities, and community-based organizations as they pursue coordinated climate resilience efforts. Since 2017, 33 cities have participated in the LCR program. 

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