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Partnership for Resilient Communities

The Partnership for Resilient Communities (PRC) works to transform the national urban climate resilience field by increasing the number of leaders of color in the urban field of practice, advancing approaches that build the resilience of people and places through influence-building and policy approaches, community education, and engagement, and the installation of clean energy and green infrastructure.

America’s history of racial discrimination, particularly in land-use planning and community development investment decisions, has directly harmed the climate resilience of historic neighborhoods of color, rendering these urban communities most vulnerable to climate change.

Data clearly shows that communities of color and low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by conditions caused and/or exacerbated by climate change impacts. Historical and current planning and investment decisions have placed these neighborhoods in harm’s way (e.g. near toxic emitters or on floodplains), and denied them core resilience-building resources, economic opportunity, and overall quality of life investments. While this type of discrimination is now illegal, the systems and policies that evolved from this sordid past have been institutionalized, continuing to advance discriminatory outcomes despite intent.

The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) believes that climate resilience and equity are inextricably linked. This means that the only way to achieve community preparedness and resilience in the face of climate change is to also address the debilitating impacts of systemic racism, and increase  quality of life and economic opportunities. To do this, we must ensure that leaders and organizations of color are fully participating in and lead climate resilience planning and decision-making, leading to policies and practices informed and designed by those closest to the problems.

“Eastside Community Network has established many new partnerships resulting from our PRC grant.  Within the City of Detroit, we now sit on the Green Task Force, the Land and Water Works committee, the Green Infrastructure Mapping Committee, the Open Space Planning Committee and the Detroit Environmental Agenda.  Although, we have longstanding involvement in green infrastructure, ECN was not seen as a leader in this work until we joined the PRC.”

The PRC has influenced work in these places by working to:

  1. Promote physical and economic resilience in climate-vulnerable communities; supporting the technical assistance and resources needs of the community leaders and organizations.
  2. Fostering the transformation of the urban climate resilience field in the U.S. to be more equity- and people-centered by broadly and strategically sharing the experience, knowledge, policies, and practices generated by PRC partners and other leaders of color.

The PRC partners with community-based organizations that are:

  • Led-by people of color.
  • Serving urban communities of color that are most vulnerable to climate change.
  • Demonstrating the desire to influence their local climate agenda.

PRC partners participate in virtual and in-person peer-learning activities where they share and receive knowledge and expertise, receive technical assistance, training and coaching, and receive strategic financial support.

To date, the PRC has influenced equitable resilience-building work in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Detroit, Kansas City, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh. 

Program Materials