In the wake of their failed 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) program, on July 8, 2019, the Rockefeller Foundation has announced a new Climate and Resilience Initiative, which will focus on market-changing opportunities that increase climate and resilience capital flows into solutions and projects that improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.
The initiative will be led by Elizabeth Yee, Managing Director, Climate and Resilience, who joins the Rockefeller Foundation from 100RC after serving as that organization’s Vice President of Resilience Finance.
“Rapid changes in climate are exposing global citizens to unpredictable risks, and there is an increasing need to leverage data and technology to ensure we make informed decisions, and design and deliver solutions that improve the resilience of communities,” said Yee. “Continuing to support the 100RC Network is a core part of our ability to understand and tackle these immense challenges, which require creative, blended capital solutions to address at scale. I am excited to lead the new Climate and Resilience initiative at the Foundation and build on its legacy in resilience, to ensure that we develop and deliver solutions that positively transform the lives of vulnerable populations.”
The first commitment of this initiative is an initial $8 million to continue supporting the work of Chief Resilience Officers (CROs) and member cities within the 100RC Network, so they aren’t left high and dry. The existing 100RC organization closed its doors this month, and this funding will enable a new project to continue supporting the implementation of resilience initiatives incubated through the work of 100RC.
At the conclusion of its six years of successful work, 100 Resilient Cities will have launched more than 80 Resilience Strategies, more than 4,000 actions and initiatives, and leveraged $25 billion in external funding to implement those efforts. The Rockefeller Foundation will continue collaborating with this global Network of cities, CROs, and a small group of former 100RC senior staff to plan these efforts, and has committed to a partnership for the next five years.
“The Rockefeller Foundation’s new Climate and Resilience initiative will help strengthen communities around the globe to be more resilient to the urgent crises facing humanity,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President, The Rockefeller Foundation. “I am thrilled Liz Yee has joined the Foundation to lead this important work, given her deep experience in climate finance, and immeasurable contributions while at 100 Resilient Cities.”
Dr. Shah continued, “Given The Rockefeller Foundation’s longstanding leadership in developing the field of resilience to help cities prepare for and thrive amid physical, social and economic uncertainties, we chose to define a pathway that elevated the work of the network of city practitioners and leaders focused on global urban resilience. This additional support will build on the strong legacy of 100 Resilient Cities, to transition and evolve to a new phase that is led by member cities, with a continued focus on funding diversification and long-term financial sustainability. Ultimately, we aim to ensure continued collaboration and sharing among cities to address some of their most pressing challenges.”
“In this era of change, where challenges like urbanization, climate change and digitalization simultaneously occur, resilience becomes a crucial urban capacity,” said Arnoud Molenaar, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. “Thanks to The Rockefeller Foundation, the 100RC Network will be able to evolve to a next phase and continue the global resilience movement.”
“Collaboration and dedication lie at the core of the 100RC Network model, and today, we are enhancing both,” said Miami, Florida Mayor Francis Suarez. “The Rockefeller Foundation’s contribution demonstrates their unwavering commitment to fostering and advancing the most comprehensive and innovative resilience practices in the world. This is yet another big step to strategically address our most pressing vulnerability challenges in meaningful and lasting ways.”
The Rockefeller Foundation’s new Climate and Resilience Initiative will focus on identifying, designing and supporting opportunities that increase climate and resilience capital flows into financial solutions, companies and projects that have a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable people. It will also integrate climate and resilience principles throughout the Foundation’s work in food, health, power and the expansion of US economic opportunities, in addition to coordinating grant making for disaster recovery situations.
Lenio Myrivili, Deputy Mayor & Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Athens, Greece, said “The partnership between cities and The Rockefeller Foundation, established and nurtured through the 100 Resilient Cities program, has created a unique community of practice, with an extraordinary political mandate, to positively impact vulnerable people, in growing cities, in the era of climate change. I am delighted that we continue the incredible journey of creating urban resilience within the 100RC Network.”
The Rockefeller Foundation’s ongoing dedication to climate and resilience is reflected in its 2019 commitments to date, totaling at least $40 million. These include a $30 million grant to the Atlantic Council for the creation of the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, $2 million from the Rockefeller Foundation’s US Jobs and Economic Opportunity initiative to provide technical assistance and support resilience strategy implementation in 100RC member cities throughout North America, and this new funding of $8 million to support the 100RC Network. This is in addition to the $12 million grant to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors for the continuation of 100RC through the end of July.
Dr. Adriana Campelo, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Salvador, Brazil, said “The work initiated by 100 Resilient Cities is unprecedented in bringing worldwide awareness of urban resilience. The development and implementation of resilience strategies have to date influenced the nature of public policies, business practices and collaborative processes making them more horizontal, inclusive and sustainable globally. I’m glad that the 100RC Network of cities can continue making cities more equitable and more livable!”
Photo of Historic Pelourinho district of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil via Adobe Stock.