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2017 Annual Report

Sustainable communities are possible — we know because every day, we see local leaders step up to do amazing things. They’re changing the conversation to share what’s possible.

Dear Friends,

As unprecedented fires and severe weather events ravaged locations throughout the world, ISC stepped up its work – helping US and Asian localities lead the way on climate solutions.

In China, we began the Low Carbon Cities Alliance which will help 12 Chinese cities significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2025, while improving air, forest, and water quality. This builds on a successful pilot in four Chinese cities, where, in 21 months, ISC and partners achieved major reductions of GHG and other harmful emissions.

In the United States, we expanded our work with nonprofits on the front lines of urban resilience. Many of our country’s low wealth communities are becoming fractured – struggling with economic, social, and environmental hardships. We connect these communities to help them learn from each other and heal.

In India and Bangladesh, we continued working to transform supply chain factories. These factories help lift millions out of poverty, but many cut corners – contributing to environmental problems and harming workers. Together with its partners, ISC trained and provided technical assistance to hundreds of factories with great results: nearly 75% of participants reported implementing, or planning to implement, clean energy, environment, health, and safety initiatives.

If you believe, as we do, that sustainable communities are possible, we hope that you consider connecting with us. Tell us what’s working for you and your community. Together, we can find new ways to learn, connect, and inspire.


This year marked the end of ISC’s Climate Smart Low Carbon Cities work, a USAID-funded pilot, which worked with four Chinese cities to start reducing harmful emissions in alignment with China’s ambitious carbon reduction goals. ISC worked directly with community members, as well as city and provincial governments to develop approaches unique to each community’s need.

Youtube video about Xiaolan

Visit to watch a video about our work with a community in Xiaolan.

The 21-month pilot was a success by all measures, and is expected to trigger $40 billion of investment in low carbon development — mitigating 27.7 million tons of CO2 — the equivalent of taking nearly six million cars off the road for a year.

With the end of the Climate Smart Low-Carbon Cities pilot program, ISC began work on the Low Emissions Cities Alliance (LECA) program – a partnership funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Energy Foundation China (EFC), and implemented by the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC). Working with stakeholders in the public and private sectors, this three-year program will help 12 selected partner cities to significantly reduce harmful emissions and improve air and water quality.

The program will accelerate green development more broadly throughout China by creating a network of Chinese trainers and supporting the expansion of national-level policies and regulations that draw upon best practices. Capacity building and policy support will be customized to participating cities’ priorities.

After eight years of working closely with the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, ISC has trained thousands of local leaders in Southeast Florida on how to reduce their emissions and become more resilient to rising seas. Our work—in tandem with counties, municipalities, nonprofits, and residents—culminated in the compact’s launch of a new, and interactive, Regional Climate Action Plan ( – which featured new sections devoted to addressing economic development, equity, and public health.

In late 2017, we received word from the Kresge Foundation that they would support a new three-year phase of the project in conjunction with funding directly from the compact’s four counties. This new phase is focused on replicating the compact’s approach throughout the United States and beyond, as well as an effort to build the capacity of the region’s 109 municipalities to implement the new Regional Climate Action Plan.

After a successful first year, we are deeply grateful to the JPB Foundation for increasing its funding to ISC’s Partnership for Resilient Communities – allowing for expansion from the initial two U.S. underserved urban neighborhoods to a total of six communities throughout the country.

The PRC provides community-based organizations (CBOs) with the resources and technical knowledge to shape and lead resilience projects borne from the voices and priorities of underserved communities.

The ultimate goal of this cutting-edge program is to advance social equity and develop technical approaches that can benefit other vulnerable communities, committed organizations, and local leaders across the United States. As of 2017, current cities served by the partnership are: Baltimore, Detroit, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.


annual report events


annual report financials



Financial statements provide an overview of ISC’s operations, revenue, and expenses. Statements are available for download in the PDF file format for the following years:

ISC’s audited financial statements use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which means multi-year income is posted only in the year awarded. For a more complete picture of ISC’s financial year, please reference our annual reports, which align funding sources with expenses. For more information about GAAP, please contact us. 


Called an informational return, this document is filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on a fiscal-year basis. It contains a comprehensive review of the entire organization’s spending in detail. This form is available for download in the PDF file format for the following years:


This form certifies that ISC is an official 501(c)3 nonprofit organization according to IRS rules and regulations:

If you would like documents from previous years, please contact us at [email protected].