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Kresge awards $1.5 million in grants to build climate resilience, improve health outcomes

The Kresge Foundation awarded $1.5 million in grants to 15 community-based nonprofit organizations to advance policy solutions aimed at improving climate resilience and equitably reducing health risks in low-income communities in America’s cities.

This investment in strengthening community-based leadership, one of three strategies outlined in Kresge’s Climate Change, Health & Equity (CCHE) initiative, reinforces the foundation’s belief that climate change is the greatest public health threat we face in this century.

David D. Fukuzawa, managing director of Kresge’s Health Program, notes that climate change is already harming human health and well-being.

“High heat, more volatile and extreme weather events and rising sea levels degrade air and water quality, threaten food supplies and put people’s homes in danger. Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately at risk due to existing social, economic and health inequities, and the dangers to which they are exposed will only become worse in the coming years. We at Kresge fully recognize that climate change is the newest – and arguably most important — social determinant of health,” Fukuzawa said.

Community-based and locally led solutions that address the interplay between climate change, health and equity are critically needed, Lois DeBacker, managing director of the foundation’s Environment Program, said.

“Climate change is impacting people in real ways – today.  The good news is that community leaders across the country are making smart choices about how they can combat climate change while improving people’s lives and well-being. They’re planting trees in neighborhoods that have too much concrete to provide cooling during heat waves. They’re adopting strategies to reduce urban flooding and the health dangers it presents,” DeBacker said. “Our newly awarded grants will help more communities proactively tackle the health risks that climate change introduces or exacerbates.”

With this fundingcommunity-based organizations will work with identified partners from other sectors to develop multi-year work plans that address community-defined health and climate priorities.

Grantees include:

Following this planning phase, Kresge will invite up to 12 planning grant recipients to apply for multi-year implementation grants.

The organizations will be supported by the Institute for Sustainable Communities, which serves as the national program office for the planning phase of the community-based strategy of the Climate Change, Health & Equity initiative. ISC’s mission is to help communities around the world address environmental, economic and social challenges to build a better future shaped and shared by all.

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