PITTSBURGH, NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mayor William Peduto joined Cities of Service, the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers AmeriCorps, and the Rockefeller Foundation in announcing today the 10 cities which together form the first Resilience AmeriCorps cities in the United States. The cities of Anchorage, Ala., Boulder, Colo., Chicago, Ill., El Paso, Texas, Minot, N.D., New Orleans, La., Norfolk, Va., Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Ariz., and Tulsa, Okla. were selected for local vulnerability to climate-related risk, demonstrated commitment or efforts to improve environmental resilience, and city government capacity to host and implement Resilience AmeriCorps in their cities.
“Cities of Service and its partners are working to ensure that impact volunteering programs help communities at greatest risk of climate-change, and that they ready themselves before crises strike,” said Myung J. Lee, Executive Director of Cities of Service. “Resilience AmeriCorps builds on Cities of Services’ approach to helping mayors engage citizens to solve big challenges.”
Resiliency efforts study the threats that cities face — including climate changes and economic challenges — and seek ways to develop strategies to enable cities to survive, adapt and grow. Pittsburgh joined the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Network in December, and in June the city’s sustainability manager Grant Ervin was named the city’s Chief Resilience Officer.
The Obama Administration announced the Resilience AmeriCorps initiative on July 9 in response to recommendations from the White House’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Each Resilience AmeriCorps city will receive $25,000 and dedicated AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members with which to implement programs that engage residents, community and nonprofit leaders in impact volunteering and other efforts to improve climate-related risk awareness, planning and resilience in low-income communities. The first-year pilot leverages Rockefeller Foundation support, Cities of Service’s expertise and VISTA members from the Corporation for National and Community Service to build and lead impact volunteering initiatives in concert with each city’s mayor’s office, spearheading citizen engagement efforts that include education, facilitation and program implementation and using service as a strat egy to achieve greater civic resilience.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will extend subject-matter expertise and specialized support to the Resilience AmeriCorps initiative, including strengthening local program leaders’ understanding of climate-related risks and helping them to create a comprehensive suite of responses to address them.
“This is another clear signal from the federal government that now is the time to get serious about building resilience,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Through the Resilience AmeriCorps program, VISTA members will gain real-life skills through their work in building resilience, and deepen their knowledge of the importance of these efforts. We will in turn create a generation of experts ready to address the challenges facing communities across the country in the 21st Century.”
Resilience AmeriCorps cities were selected by committee comprised of senior staff and experts from Cities of Service and the Rockefeller Foundation, in conjunction with the Corporation for National and Community Service and its federal partners. The cities are:
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz
Mayor Matthew Appelbaum
City Manager Jane S. Brautigam
Chief Resilience Officer Greg Guibert
Mayor Rahm Emanuel
El Paso, Texas
Mayor Oscar Leeser
City Manager Tommy Gonzalez
Chief Resilience Officer Nicole Ferrini
Minot, North Dakota
Mayor Chuck Barney
City Manager Lee Staab
Chief Resilience Officer Donna Bye
Mayor Mitch Landrieu
Chief Resilience Officer Jeff Hebert
Mayor Paul D. Fraim
City Manager Marcus D. Jones
Chief Resilience Officer Christine Morris
Mayor Greg Stanton
Mayor William Peduto
Chief Resilience Officer Grant Ervin
Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr.
The initiative builds on an existing partnership between Cities of Service and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Earlier this year, Cities of Service launched neighborhood revitalization initiatives with AmeriCorps VISTA members in seven cities across the country. Resilience AmeriCorps applies the same model of embedding VISTA members in City Halls, where city chief executives benefit from increased capacity and support with which to design and deliver sustained community programs that meaningfully address specific local challenges.
The Rockefeller Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars in building resilience around the world over the past decade, from early involvement providing support to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, to its 100 Resilient Cities global effort, to its continuing partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to innovate in how federal disaster recovery dollars are spent – first with Rebuild By Design, a competition to drive resilient recovery in Hurricane Sandy-affected communities in the Northeast, and currently through the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC). Resilience AmeriCorps opens a new chapter in the Foundation’s commitment to building resilience across the United States, one that reflects its long history of supporting the next generation of innovators and leaders.
Cities of Service is a national nonprofit that supports a nonpartisan coalition of mayors and city executives to design and implement high-impact volunteering initiatives addressing multiple issues from supporting youth and education, to disaster preparedness and neighborhood revitalization. It provides technical assistance, programmatic support, planning resources, and funding opportunities. Founded by Michael R. Bloomberg in 2009, Cities of Service is comprised of more than 200 cities in the U.S. and UK whose mayors are committed to engaging citizen volunteers to solve local pressing challenges. Cities of Service helps coalition cities share solutions, best practices, and lessons learned, as well as spreads awareness about meaningful work happening in cities. Learn more at citiesofservice.org, and @citiesofservice on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.
For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas – advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities – to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not. To learn more, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.