Rockefeller Foundation to disband 100 Resilient Cities, lay off staff
- The Rockefeller Foundation announced Monday it will disband 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) and transition its funding into three "separate pathways": a new resilience office at the Foundation, new economic mobility efforts at the Foundation and a $30 million grant to the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience at the Atlantic Council.
- 100RC spokesman Andrew Brenner confirmed to Smart Cities Dive the organization's staff of 86 will be laid off with severance, effective July 31, following the Urban Resilience Summit in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
- The Foundation also announced a $12 million grant "to allow continued support and transition time to the 100 Resilient Cities network through much of 2019." 100RC's network includes Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle, as well as dozens of global cities.
In the press release announcing the shuttering of 100RC, president Michael Berkowitz touted the organization's work since its launch in 2013. He noted 100RC has assisted in the hiring of more than 80 Chief Resilience Officers around the world and it is expected that 80 cities will have comprehensive resilience strategies by the end of 2019, thanks to 100RC's help. "Our work is without comparison in the urban field," he wrote, thus presenting the question of why the resilience arm is shuttering.
Matt Herrick, a spokesman for The Rockefeller Foundation, told Bloomberg the program is just "transitioning," not shutting down. Still, the transition comes at a challenging time, as cities around the globe face the consequential effects of natural disasters spurred by climate change.
Without an organization such as 100RC to act as a breeding ground for best practices and tangible projects that support the resilience of cities, member organizations — and cities that hadn't yet had the chance to join — will need to find new ways to collaborate and innovate. Berkowitz said he has "no doubt this team will continue that work in a variety of forms and organizations," yet the immediate success of that work, without the support of 100RC, remains to be seen.
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