Kresge Foundation Initiative will fund climate-resilience efforts that reflect needs, interests of low-income people

The Kresge Foundation has announced a very important funding program. They are looking for statements of qualifications from interested organizations by July 31.

Initiative will fund climate-resilience efforts that reflect needs, interests of low-income people

Opportunity will provide planning grants, launch multiyear project for Kresge Environment Program.

July 01, 2014
Kresge’s Environment Program is launching an initiative to assist community-based nonprofits positioned to help influence local and regional climate-resilience planning, and related policy development and implementation.
Support provided through the initiative focuses on improving the resilience of low-income, urban communities in the face of climate change. It is intended to ensure that climate resilience activities such as the management of precipitation from intense storms, efforts to reduce the health effects of heat waves and to deploy reliable, clean energy technologies reflect the knowledge, priorities and needs of low-income residents. 
The Environment Program team expects to award as many as 20 planning grants through the initiative this fall.
At a glance
  • Interested organizations should submit a statement of qualifications by 5 p.m. EDST, July 31.
  • See a primer that provides further detail on the initiative. (PDF)
  • See a related fact sheet. (PDF)
  • Learn more about the Environment Program and navigate to the application portal.
  • Stay in touch with Kresge via email alerts, social media or RSS. 
Those nine-month planning grants will be awarded to community-based nonprofit organizations with a record of effective work in low-income communities and an interest in deepening their involvement and leadership in local and/or regional climate-resilience efforts.  
The planning grants will support the development of multiyear work plans detailing ways the organizations will engage in climate-resilience planning, policy development and implementation efforts to advance the priorities and needs of low-income people.
Funded organizations will participate in a peer-learning event in early 2015, the beginning of the planning-grant period. Kresge will award planning grants of up to $100,000 each.
Based on the work plans prepared in the first phase of the initiative, up to 15 planning-grant recipients will be invited to apply for multiyear project implementation grants. 
Implementation grants of up to $200,000 per year will be offered for up to three years. Organizations that receive implementation grants will have the opportunity to participate in multiple peer-learning events for the duration of the grant period.
Kresge works to expand opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities. Its Environment Program helps communities build environmental, economic and social resilience in the face of climate change.
The grants, shared learning opportunities, leadership and technical support are meant to strengthen the capacity of established nonprofit organizations to take on this work, says Lois DeBacker, managing director of Kresge’s Environment Program. That includes organizations new to climate resilience work.
“For us, resilience means not just withstanding climate stresses but having the capacity to prosper under a wide range of climate-influenced circumstances,” says DeBacker. “In the long term, resilience is possible only if society reduces greenhouse gas emissions and avoids the worst impacts of climate change.”
Kresge believes that strengthening a community’s resilience requires efforts to:
  • Reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change
  • Plan for the changes that already are underway or anticipated
  • Foster social cohesion and inclusion
The foundation’s approach to climate resilience incorporates all these elements. Addressing any one of them in isolation can lead to missed opportunities or unintended consequences, DeBacker observes. 
“Low-income people face disproportionate consequences as climate change intensifies.  Variables such as age, health status and income often determine community residents’ ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from hazardous events,” she says. “Low-income neighborhoods often are located in areas that have greater exposure to hazards such as flooding or extreme heat. Absent efforts to address this, climate change will reinforce and worsen existing socioeconomic disparities.”
Kresge’s Evironment Program seeks to catalyze, strengthen and showcase climate-resilience practices that:
  • Address the disproportionate impact of climate change on low-income communities
  • Provide benefits, beyond climate-resilience gains, to low-income people and communities (for example, access to jobs and economic opportunities, improved health and safety conditions, new neighborhood amenities, and meaningful civic engagement)
  •  Influence public-sector-led efforts to address climate change so that outcomes of such efforts are equitable for low-income communities
  • Generate model approaches and methodologies for the climate-resilience field of practice
  • Enhance the effectiveness of climate-resilience efforts
The Environment Program team hopes that the approaches developed through the initiative will provide new models and methodologies for the climate-resilience field of practice.
Interested organizations should submit a statement of qualifications via Kresge’s online application system by 5 p.m. EDST, July 31, 2014. Well-qualified organizations will be invited to submit applications for planning grants. We strongly recommend that you read the primer below.