California Resilience Challenge Kicks Off S.F. Climate Week by Announcing Climate Resilience Grants to Six Communities Across California

Today (April 22) the California Resilience Challenge, an initiative of the Bay Area Council Foundation, announced the six winners of its 2023 grant program. The six winning projects will help under-resourced 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. The winners will be announced and present their projects at the 4th Annual California Resilience Challenge Showcase & Reception beginning at 2pm PT at the Historic Klamath at Pier 9, The Embarcadero, in San Francisco. The winning grantees include:

  • Climate Resolve: Climate Resolve, in close collaboration with Baldwin Hills and Urban Watersheds Conservancy and Resilient Cities Catalyst, will complete the “Accelerating Greenways for Community Resilience in the Urban Watersheds of Los Angeles” project, within the Conservancy’s expanded jurisdictional territory through the identification and preparation of community-based greenway conceptual designs, the development of geospatial and project planning tools, and continued multi-stakeholder coordination.

  • The Student Conservation Association: The Student Conservation Association (SCA) will recruit, hire, and train a Bay Area Climate Resilience Corps to conduct climate resiliency projects to support the Greater Bay Area’s historically disadvantaged communities to adapt to climate challenges of extreme heat and wildfires.

  • Regenerative Forest Solutions: Regenerative Forest Solutions’ Sonoma County Woody Feedstock Pilot Project feasibility study is working to create biomass utilization aggregation centers to increase communities’ resilience to wildfires and climate change, improve air quality, increase water quality and quantity during times of drought, and create economic and ecological benefits.

  • Tzicatl Community Development Corporation: Tzicatl CDC, in collaboration with the Gabrielino Shoshone Nation of Southern California, and Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory of North America proposes the Masewaltlapixkayiotl Indigenous Youth Climate Resiliency Corps, to educate and train young leaders to mitigate future wildfires, water scarcity and climate crisis by means of regenerative Indigenous science.

  • International Medical Corps: International Medical Corps will assess and inform the strengthening of community health centers’ emergency preparedness capacity so that may be more resilient to the impacts of climate change within communities across California.

  • Agroecology Commons: Agroecology Commons, through its Drought Resiliency Plan and Guide, aims to strengthen its cooperative educational farm and empower its network of small-scale BIPOC and 2S/LGBTQIA+ beginning farmers in building resilience against water scarcity and drought conditions.

See all winners from previous grant rounds at >>

 “As we work to slow the pace of climate change, we also need to speed our efforts to protect against the growing impacts California is facing,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “With these six winning projects, the California Resilience Challenge is helping seed novel ideas and approaches to shield vulnerable communities from the costly environmental and economic impacts of climate change. We’re grateful for the leadership and support of our many partners and look forward to continuing this important work.”

The six winning projects represent communities across California, including tribes and community-based organizations. Winning proposals had to address criteria developed by the Resilience Challenge Steering leadership, including geographic diversity, support from frontline communities, and replicability. From developing new business models for processing woody biomass, to scaling indigenous land management techniques to reduce fire risk, to strengthening the ability of community health centers to address climate-related health impacts, these projects showcase some of the world’s most innovative thinking on climate resilience. Since 2020, the California Resilience Challenge has awarded $6 million to 38 communities across California to begin strengthening local resilience to climate change. Grantees from the completed 2020 grant program, the latest year for which data is available, have collectively leveraged the program’s initial $2 million investment for an additional $33 million, including $6.7 million for project implementation and construction.

The California Resilience Challenge is an initiative of the Bay Area Council Foundation and is supported by a diverse group of stakeholders, including businesses, utilities, and nonprofits who all contributed resources to establish the initiative. The California Resilience Challenge 2023 Steering Committee includes representatives from PG&E, Southern California Edison, and Valley Water, with additional financial support from JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

What Leaders Are Saying

“Meeting 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.”

“California is always preparing for our next drought which is right around the corner and will threaten our state’s water supplies,” said Rick Callender, CEO of Valley Water. “It’s critical that we make investments in water infrastructure and technology that are resilient to climate change. That’s why Valley Water is proud to support the California Resilience Challenge. The grant recipients showed a commitment to developing innovative projects to protect communities from the worsening impacts of climate change. We must create a resilient California for everyone, especially disadvantaged communities who are too often left behind.”

“Californians, like the rest of the world, are experiencing the effects of climate change with more frequent and extreme weather” said Andrew Baldonado, Vice President of State Public Affairs at Southern California Edison. “In addition to achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, Southern California Edison is committed to identifying solutions to adapt to our changing environment. By supporting local initiatives, particularly in the most vulnerable communities, the California Resilience Challenge addresses urgent threats while providing strategies that can be replicated in other communities around the state. We are proud to support this important work and congratulate this year’s award winners.”

California Resilience Challenge contact

Adrian Covert

Senior Vice President, Public Policy
Bay Area Council


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