IBTS Wins Major Grant from Kresge Foundation to Explore Social Equity and Resilience

With funding support from The Kresge Foundation, IBTS will lead a landmark project aimed at helping America’s cities and towns reduce social inequity related to climate impacts and at building the equitable climate resilience field.

The Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) was recently awarded a grant for approximately $300,000 from The Kresge Foundation to lead a landmark project exploring obstacles and opportunities that local governments face in addressing social equity and climate resilience.

Under this grant, IBTS will develop a detailed understanding of the intersection of social equity and climate resilience at the local government level, and use the insights gained to develop resources for helping cities address this intersection.

IBTS is partnering with the National League of Cities (NLC) and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) on this project. A national panel of subject matter experts from the nonprofit, private, and public sector will advise the year-long effort.

Social inequity is deeply linked to climate change impacts, as a disproportionate number of low-income and disadvantaged Americans are affected by and unable to recover from natural disasters. The equitable climate resilience (ECR) field has made great strides to reduce the impact of climate change on these families and communities, but the field still lacks an understanding of local government awareness and action surrounding social equity and climate change.

“We are committed to supporting organizations that can create new strategies for cities to incorporate social equity in their climate-resilience efforts,” said Lois DeBacker, Managing Director of the Kresge Foundation’s Environment Program. “Climate change disproportionately impacts those with the least means to adapt or respond to it. By providing resources for nonprofit organizations and cities to address equity in planning and recovery, we can help ensure all communities rebound after climate-related disasters.”

IBTS will conduct a survey of cities to understand their awareness, perceptions, challenges, actions, and successes with regard to social equity and climate events. The survey will be the first large-scale data collection effort on the intersection of these topics among US cities.

In addition to the survey, IBTS will update its Community Resilience Assessment Framework and Tools (CRAFT) platform to emphasize social equity. This update will enable communities that use CRAFT to better understand and address social equity in their resilience assessment and planning efforts. Once the update is complete, IBTS will conduct CRAFT assessments in three pilot cities. Results from both the survey and CRAFT pilots will be broadly shared with local governments and other stakeholders across the US.


“Based on our 40 years of working with and for local governments around the US, we see a growing need for information and resources to address more extreme events happening more often and affecting our most vulnerable community members,” says Ashok Goswami, CEO of IBTS. “This project will help us and our colleagues across the nation to better serve these growing needs.”

The advisory panel of national social equity, local government, and climate resilience experts had its inaugural meeting on February 25, 2020. The panel includes: 

  • Irela Bague, Miami-Dade/Bague Group
  • Curtis Brown, Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management (I-DIEM); Virginia Department of Emergency Management
  • Jordan Carter, National League of Cities (NLC)
  • Joyce Coffee, Climate Resilience Consulting
  • Marcia Conner, National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA)
  • Lois DeBacker, The Kresge Foundation
  • Dave Fowler, Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM)
  • Rebecca Guerriero, The Kresge Foundation
  • Patrick Howell, Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS)
  • Crandall Jones, Municipality of Norristown, PA
  • Beth Kellar, International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
  • Nicolette Louissaint, Ph.D, Healthcare Ready
  • Anna Marandi, National League of Cities (NLC)
  • Luis Monterrubio, Foundation for Puerto Rico
  • Andreanecia Morris, HousingNOLA
  • Cara Pike, Climate Access
  • Benjamin Preston, RAND Corporation
  • Rebecca Rehr, EcoAmerica
  • Monica Sanders, Bill Anderson Fund; Georgetown University; University of Delaware
  • Laurie Schoeman, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Susy Torriente, Jacobs Engineering
  • Feliz Ventura, Hatch Consulting
  • Kathryn Wright, Urban Sustainability Directors Network

About the Institute for Building Technology and Safety 
IBTS specializes in resilience planning, disaster recovery, energy, building services, and local government services, helping communities meet governance challenges while enhancing public safety, economic development, and the general welfare of communities.

About the Kresge Foundation 
The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit Kresge.org.

About the National League of Cities (NLC) 
NLC is a resource and advocate for the nation’s cities and their leaders, serving as the voice of cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people.

About the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) 
NFBPA is the principal and most progressive organization dedicated to the advancement of black public leadership in local and state governments.

For more information about the project, please contact Patrick Howell, IBTS Project Manager, at [email protected].

IBTS logo

IBTS logo

IBTS will develop a detailed understanding of the intersection of social equity and climate resilience at the local government level, and use the insights gained to develop resources for helping cities address this intersection