August 20, 2015

Mayor Emanuel Launches Resilience AmeriCorps with Cities of Service, Corporation for National and Community Service and The Rockefeller Foundation

City of Chicago is Among 10 Cities Across the U.S. to Receive Funding and Human Capital to Support Local Resilience Efforts; Public-Private Partnership to Extend Expertise and Reinforce Program Results

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO, NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mayor Emanuel today joined Cities of Service, the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Rockefeller Foundation to announce 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, Pa., Phoenix, Ariz., and Tulsa, Okla. were selected for local vulnerability to climate-related risk, demonstrated commitment or efforts to improve environmental resilience, and City Hall capacity to host and implement Resilience AmeriCorps in their cities.

“Chicago is pleased to be part of the country’s first Resilience AmeriCorps, which will build on existing efforts within the city to fortify our communities against environmental threat and other challenges,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We are excited to move forward with this support and are glad to have the resources to contend with increasingly global issues. Chicago’s neighborhoods and residents are the heart of our City and it is crucial we remain leaders in how we strengthen and prepare our communities for any challenges that may arise.”

“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.”

Mayor Emanuel announced in December 2014 that Chicago was selected as a winning city to be a part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network (100RC). Chicago is included in a leading community of pioneers, innovators, and highly esteemed cities ready to build urban resilience across the globe by improving their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses. Chicago was selected for its emergency preparedness, continuing 21st century infrastructure improvements, economic diversity, and urgency to identify, prepare for and combat threats that are most likely to challenge its resiliency. As a part of the award, the City was granted funding for no less than two years to hire its first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), as well as expanded resources to strategize and execute long-term goals with a holistic focus on resilience at the neighborhood level. The position of CRO is currently accepting applications.

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 strategy to achieve greater civic resilience.

Federal Agencies to Fortify Local Efforts
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.

Selected Cities
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:

Anchorage, Alaska
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz
Population 301,010

Boulder, Colorado
Mayor Matthew Appelbaum
City Manager Jane S. Brautigam
Chief Resilience Officer Greg Guibert
Population 103,166

Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Population 2,718,782
El Paso, Texas
Mayor Oscar Leeser
City Manager Tommy Gonzalez
Chief Resilience Officer Nicole Ferrini
Population 674,433

Minot, North Dakota
Mayor Chuck Barney
City Manager Lee Staab
Chief Resilience Officer Donna Bye
Population 46,321

New Orleans
Mayor Mitch Landrieu
Chief Resilience Officer Jeff Hebert
Population 378,715

Norfolk, Virginia
Mayor Paul D. Fraim
City Manager Marcus D. Jones
Chief Resilience Officer Christine Morris
Population 245,428

Phoenix, Arizona
Mayor Greg Stanton
Population 1,513,367

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mayor William Peduto
Chief Resilience Officer Grant Ervin
Population 305,841

Tulsa, Oklahoma
Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr.
Population 398,121

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.


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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, 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

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