Leadership in Community Resilience Program Application


Climate change, demographic shifts and aging infrastructure are converging at the local level. Shocks like Hurricanes Florence and Michael and the record western wildfires, as well as long-term stressors like poor air quality and the housing crisis, threaten NLC members nationwide. The concept of resilience is being embraced by the private sector and all levels of government as a holistic, proactive approach to mitigate risk, improve service reliability, manage critical infrastructure and adapt to changing conditions.

The Sustainable Cities Institute (SCI) at the National League of Cities is accepting statements of interest from cities to participate in the 2019 Leadership in Community Resilience program. A total of 17 cities participated in the program in 2017 and 2018, and summaries of their work can be found on the SCI homepage. SCI will continue to support local resilience initiatives by selecting new cohort cities to participate in this year-long assistance and capacity building program.

Leadership in Community Resilience supports city-led projects by focusing on implementation, peer-learning and information sharing. Assistance will be delivered in four ways:

  • Policy and Practice Exchange where cities learn from each other and national experts.
  • $10,000 grant to build local resilience capacity by supporting an implementation project, or hosting a mayoral-level engagement event.
  • Invitation and travel support to the Resilient Cities Summit for your mayor and one member of staff (2019 date and location are yet to be confirmed).
  • Staff city visit  in which SCI staff experts will support your project with a site visit to provide in-person assistance. Depending on your needs, these visits can be used to facilitate public engagement, leverage support from elected officials, help coordinate key partners, and more.



Application process
  1. Submit application by January 4, 2019.
  2. Finalists may be contacted as necessary to clarify portions of their application between January 7-25.
  3. Selected cities will be notified by February 1, 2018.
  4. Program begins shortly thereafter and assistance continues throughout 2019.

Q. What level of engagement and participation is expected throughout this yearlong resilience program?

Cities will share a Policy and Practice Exchange. This peer network will allow elected leaders and/or city staff to engage with SCI, several partner organizations and each other. The program also features:

  • 1 on 1 check in calls hosted monthly to review your scope of work, share updates and discuss progress.
  • Webinars hosted bi-monthly for the whole group to help facilitate the exchange. This will allow you to develop relationships with your peers, discuss your goals and share your challenges with the other cities. Webinars will also feature SCI partners who share a commitment to help cities achieve their resilience goals.

SCI and participating cities successfully partnered with the Urban Land Institute, ICLEI, Davey Tree, Arizona State University, LEED for Cities (formerly STAR Communities), the Thriving Earth Exchange, National Institute of Standards & Technology, the Association of Climate Change Officers, and others to deliver customized project support.

Q. What topics will SCI consider as project themes?

  • Renewable energy
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Climate Adaptation
  • Land Use
  • Food Systems
  • Environmental Justice
  • Disaster mitigation
  • Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Reduction
  • Staff Training & Capacity Building

You may find other topic ideas by looking at the 2018 Cohort as well as the 2017 pilot city projects

Q. How much funding will be provided for each city and how can it be utilized to help strengthen and elevate local resilience?

Program awardees will receive a $10,000 grant to support an implementation project or mayoral level local resilience event. Depending on each community’s needs, funding may be used for a charrette process, public engagement workshop, staff training workshop and more. NLC staff will travel to support, facilitate and attend each event. We encourage cities to use funds to support existing efforts or city priorities, not to create new initiatives.

Q. Are there other opportunities for the resilience cohort to convene and expand their network of national experts working on climate resilience?

All participating cities will be invited to the Resilient Cities Summit. Hosted in partnership with the Urban Land Institute and the US Green Building Council, this national summit convenes over 50 elected officials and resilience experts to share the strategies that can help cities build stronger, smarter and better. Each city will receive an invitation and travel support for their mayor and lead staff contact to attend. The 2019 date and location to be confirmed.