California Resilience Challenge Announces Winners of 2020 Climate Resilience Grants

Today the California Resilience Challenge, an initiative of the Bay Area Council Foundation, announced the 12 winners of its $2 million climate resilience grants program. The 12 winning projects will help diverse communities across California prepare for droughts, wildfires, floods, and extreme heat events made more severe by climate change and represent some of the world’s most advanced thinking in climate adaptation.

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“Every year California breaks another centuries-old record on drought, wildfire, flood, or heat” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Necessity is the mother of invention, and what’s urgently needed are innovative ways to protect California homes and businesses from the changes to our climate that are already well underway. With these 12 grants, we’re thrilled to be helping communities across California rethink what resilience means in the 21st century.”  

With support from PG&E, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Resources Legacy Fund, Southern California Edison, Valley Water, and Alaska Airlines, the California Resilience Challenge last December released a request for proposals to all local and regional public entities in California to submit climate change adaptation planning grants. In a testament to the seriousness with which communities across California are taking climate adaptation, and to the unfunded planning needs of communities statewide, the Challenge received over 80 proposals worth over $15 million in total funding requests.

The 12 winning projects represent communities in every region of California and include cities, counties, California Native American tribes, and special districts. Winning proposals had to address criteria developed by the Resilience Challenge Board of Directors in tandem with the Resilience Challenge Advisory Committee, included geographic diversity, support for disadvantaged communities, and replicability. From drought resilience in the Central Valley, to heat resilience in Southern California, to wildfire preparedness in California’s forests, these projects showcase some of the world’s most innovative thinking on climate resilience.

What Leaders Are Saying

“As the water resources agency for Silicon Valley, Valley Water has been at the forefront of innovative development of a sustainable supply of safe, clean water,” said Norma Camacho, CEO of Valley Water. “That’s why we are excited to join our partners to support creative solutions to the challenge of climate change and the sustainability of our economy.”

 “The winners of the 2020 California Resilience Challenge grants demonstrated a commitment not only to developing forward-thinking projects to protect our critical infrastructure, but also to ensuring these projects protect our most vulnerable populations,” said Rick Callender, incoming CEO of Valley Water. “We are proud to work with them in creating a resilient California for all.”

 “The grants awarded today will help water managers across California adapt to the significant impact climate change is having on the state’s watersheds,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, General Manager of Metropolitan Water District. “Metropolitan has long been preparing for this threat by investing in new local supplies, conservation, storage and more resilient infrastructure. As the effects of climate change become more severe, the entire state will need every tool possible to ensure reliable water supplies for our communities, businesses and farms. The California Resilience Challenge is building those tools.”

 “Edison is committed to California’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality in 2045,” said Chris Thompson, Vice President of Local Public Affairs at Southern California Edison. “The Climate Resiliency Challenge is an important way to support climate adaptation planning efforts while increasing the resilience of diverse communities around the state. We are excited about working together with the Bay Area Council, other funders, and local communities to ensure that communities emerge stronger and more resilient.”

“The California Resilience Challenge has shown that leaders throughout the state want to invest in the resilience of their communities,” said Matthew Armsby, Vice President for Policy at Resources Legacy Fund. “The winning projects will address a host of growing risks to California’s people, environment, and infrastructure. We look forward to following their progress and wish them great success.”

“JPMorgan Chase is pleased to support the California Resilience Challenge, and together help communities develop diverse and innovative solutions to better prepare for, and quickly recover from, the costly disruptions of natural disasters made more severe by climate change,” said Marisa Buchanan, Head of Sustainability at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

“Working to meet the challenge of climate change is central to PG&E’s long-term vision,” said Chris Benjamin, Director of Corporate Sustainability at PG&E. “Our support for the California Resilience Challenge reflects our broader commitment to work collaboratively to help the communities we serve become more resilient to climate threats.”

“Alaska Airlines flies through communities across California and is proud to be an early supporter of the California Resilience Challenge. The California Resilience Challenge grants will help enable communities throughout the State push for creative and ground-breaking solutions to help address our climate challenges,” shared Annabel Chang, Vice President of the Bay Area for Alaska Airlines.

California Resilience Challenge Contact
Adrian Covert
Vice President, Public Policy
Bay Area Council

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