Rockefeller Foundation Awards $42 Million for New Climate Efforts

Rockefeller Foundation Awards $42 Million for New Climate Efforts

The Rockefeller Foundation has announced grants totaling $42 million to the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience at the Atlantic Council and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in support of efforts to boost climate resilience around the globe.

The grants represent a new phase of the foundation's efforts to address the effects of climate change and will help establish a new platform for that work to evolve and continue. To that end, a $30 million grant to the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience will fund initiatives designed to help individuals, cities, and communities around the globe build resilience to global shocks and stressors such as flood, drought, conflict, and food insecurity. Rockefeller Foundation president Rajiv Shah told Reuters that the council had high-level relationships in political and financial circles, allowing it to team up with banks, insurance firms, and others on resilience-building initiatives.

Over the past decade, the foundation has invested nearly $500 million in climate resilience efforts, including $164 million in support of the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative, which since 2013 has enabled eighty cities around the globe to hire chief resilience officers and develop comprehensive resilience strategies. This week, 100RC president Michael Berkowitz announced that the foundation had decided to transition the work of 100RC into other channels. According to Reuters, 100RC staff in New York, London, Singapore, and Mexico City have been told their jobs would end by July 31.

In addition to the grant to the Arsht Center, the foundation awarded $12 million to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, 100RC's fiscal sponsor, to provide continued support to the 100RC network as it transitions to a new phase. "I am immensely proud of the work achieved by 100 Resilient Cities to integrate resilience in cities and communities around the world, and the foundation is committed to working with cities and CROs to ensure this work is institutionalized," said Shah.

The foundation will establish a new Climate & Resilience Office to manage its climate investments across its core focus areas of food, health, power, economic mobility, and innovation as well as coordinate its disaster recovery grantmaking. It also plans to support a number of localized resilience efforts through its U.S. Jobs and Economic Opportunity Initiative, to be co-led by a new managing director for economic resilience and operations. 

"Our partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and the 100 Resilient Cities Network has been a shot in the arm for resilience work over the last three years," said Josh Stanbro, Honolulu's chief resilience officer. "What started with a seed grant has transformed into a permanent institution in Honolulu: the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. We're immensely grateful for the support we've received to help our office become strong and self-sufficient, and we look forward to continuing our climate and resilience work for years to come."