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The Resilience Academy: A Model for Implementing Resilience

In July, The Rockefeller Foundation wrapped up their second round of Resilience Academies for the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC) in Denver and Chicago with all 40 remaining jurisdictions in attendance. The Academies walk teams through a series of facilitated exercises and presentations intended to build their capacity to design projects that address systemic shocks and stresses, deliver multiple benefits, and ultimately achieve the resilience dividend. Following the Academies, jurisdictions have until October 27th to complete their project design and submit it to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to be eligible to win a portion of a $1 billion pool of federal funding.


As they continue to develop their project, jurisdictions are required to engage local communities, municipalities and community partners in order to obtain value feedback and input to address the systemic challenges they may face. As jurisdictions implement these engagement processes, several have looked to the Resilience Academy as a model to inform their cities and towns about resilience and identify resilience projects that address local needs, while incorporating resilience-thinking and design. In August, two jurisdictions—the State of Illinois and the State of Connecticut – hosted their very own Resilience Academies using the curriculum and exercises developed by The Rockefeller Foundation and their managing partner—HR&A Advisors.

The State of Illinois brought together seven municipalities to participate, including a day of presentations on resilience and risk, community engagement, cost-benefit analysis, and philanthropic engagement. Similar to the structure of the Foundation’s academies, each municipality participated in a critique to receive feedback on their project ideas. Recognizing that “getting back to normal isn’t good enough anymore,” Loren Wobig, from Illinois’ Department of Natural Resources, encouraged the teams to think broadly about how they could build resilience in their communities and begin think innovatively about the challenges they seek to address.

NDRC Timeline
Note: Dates are tentative and subject to change at HUD’s discretion

The State of Connecticut also held its own Resilience Academy with over 50 attendees from nine municipalities in attendance. This Academy shared a similar format, with municipalities participating in facilitated working sessions and critiques to refine projects and deepen their understanding of vulnerabilities to various shocks and stresses.

The Foundation’s Resilience Academy have helped to influence and transform the thinking and design of the NDRC projects. As NDRC jurisdictions work locally to institutionalize resilience and enhance resilience thinking, the Foundation is pleased to see their Academy curriculum being scaled, replicated and applied to engagement efforts nationwide.


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