Announcing the 2020 Better Together Resilient Communities Grant Recipients:

Building local climate resilience

From extreme weather to rising sea levels, the threat that climate change poses to communities across California is becoming all too apparent. In an effort to promote local resilience to climate change, The PG&E Corporation Foundation plans to invest $2 million over five years in grants through the Better Together Resilient Communities grant program to support local climate resilience initiatives.

Through the Resilient Communities grant program, The PG&E Corporation Foundation requested grant proposals of $100,000 to fund four projects in 2020 that build community capacity to reduce flood risk and support healthy and resilient coastlines and wetlands. Priority was given to projects located in demonstrated past or projected flood risk areas and to those that address the needs of environmental and social justice communities.

The 2021 Better Together Resilient Communities grant program will announce its grant focus and solicit applications in May 2021.

Contact information

Email any questions to Please include "Better Together Resilient Communities grant program" in the subject line.

2020 grant winners

The program has awarded $100,000 each to Sustainable Solano, Greenbelt Alliance, the Wiyot Tribe, and The Nature Conservancy. Each won for projects designed to help their communities’ capacity to reduce flood risk and support healthy and resilient coastlines and wetlands.

As with previous winners, the results of the grants will be made publicly available to help communities better understand, plan for, and respond to climate change risks, and encourage partnership with others.

About the projects

Sustainable Solano's Suisun City Community Resilience Project will build community capacity and resilience for mitigating extreme flood risk and incorporate community input in the city’s Flood Resiliency Action Plan.

Goals include:

  • Creating a Resilient Neighborhood in a Suisun City neighborhood that faces environmental and socioeconomic challenges and is at high risk for flooding.
  • Hands-on education and community-building workshops providing flood risk information, practical projects to address flooding and building community resilience.
  • Launching the Youth Environmental Leadership internship to give local youth the opportunity to learn about environmental sustainability and engage their community.

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Greenbelt Alliance will use their grant to partner with Contra Costa County and diverse stakeholders to facilitate capacity building to align flooding adaptation policies and investments across city boundaries.

Goals include: 

  • Documenting a toolkit or "Resilience Playbook" of the recommended policy solutions specifically related to sea-level rise and flooding in Contra Costa County.
  • Creating a heightened awareness across public, private, and community stakeholders related to preparing for and reducing risks of sea-level rise and flooding.

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The Wiyot Tribe will use their grant to fund their Climate Change Adaptation Planning (CCAP) Project which will identify cultural and natural resources within the Tribe's ancestral lands and waters vulnerable to climate change and at risk from flooding.

Goals include:

  • Interviewing and meeting with tribal elders, youth, and community members to share experiences, and collect cultural and natural resources information, stories, concerns, and advice.
  • Inventory and collection of existing GIS data and mapping of cultural and natural resources and assets of interest which are vulnerable to climate change in Wiyot ancestral lands and waters.

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The Nature Conservancy will use their grant to assess opportunities for new insurance products that increase flood resilience in San Mateo County through investments in nature-based solutions.  

Goals include:

  • Assess the feasibility of and pilot a new insurance product that leverages the value of salt marshes for reducing flood risk.
  • Evaluate and influence the willingness of San Mateo County leaders and stakeholders to invest in salt marshes and take up new insurance products as a flood management tool.

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2019 grant winners

The program has awarded $100,000 each to Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, Ag Innovations, New Paradigm College, and Pepperwood Preserve. Each won for projects designed to help communities address wildfire risk.

As with the 2017 and 2018 winners, the results of the grants will be made publicly available to help communities better understand, plan for, and respond to climate change risks, and encourage partnership with others.

About the projects

The Hopland Band of Pomo Indians Inter-Tribal Wildfire Resiliency Project will use their grant to build capacity among Tribes with respect to fire resiliency.

Goals include:

  • Initiate hands-on activities and workshops, a fire resiliency forum and educational outreach to Tribal members on fire hardening homes and lands
  • Create framework for collaboration between Tribes and county, state and federal agencies to work towards fire resiliency

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The Ag Innovations Fire Smarts Project aims to launch a Fire Safe Council in Calistoga.

Goals include:

  • Create community-led organization to mobilize residents to protect their homes, communities and environments from wildfire
  • Prepare a playbook to allow for long-term effectiveness
  • Focus on land-level restoration and social resilience

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The New Paradigm College Ecological Restoration and Workforce Development Project aims to develop a tribal workforce development curriculum to engage in ecological restoration.

Goals include:

  • Develop 140-hour ecological restoration workforce development curriculum that centers traditional ecological knowledge and native leadership
  • Launch pilot program with a cohort of 12-15 trainees (50% tribal participation goal) to engage in fuel load reduction, habitat enhancement, prescribed fire and defensible space work
  • Strengthen collaborative relationships among local organizations and tribes; create a model that can be made available to other communities

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The Pepperwood Preserve Forest Management Data Toolkit Project aims to launch a data toolkit for forest management to increase the pace of fuel reduction planning and implementation.

Goals include:

  • Create an accessible, free data toolkit to aggregate fine-scale fuels and fire hazard datasets to help landowners meet planning and regulatory requirements
  • Promote this tool in partnership with organizations serving disadvantaged communities
  • Help replicate code base for other counties

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2018 grant winners

In 2018, PG&E awarded $100,000 each to the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, Sustainable Solano, the Rising Sun Center for Opportunity and the Chinatown Community Development Center. Each won for projects designed to help communities address extreme heat events.

About the projects

The West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project will use their grant to meet the needs for cooling and related health and survival services during extreme heat events and power outages for the low-income, underserved and disadvantaged community of West Oakland. 

Goals include:

  • Identifying necessary programming and infrastructure components of an effective "resiliency" center, energy requirements, staffing and resource costs, and target populations served
  • Evaluating how centers can integrate and leverage existing City of Oakland Emergency Planning Strategies
  • Assessing the technical feasibility of adapting the West Oakland Senior Center complex with solar power to operate AC cooling and necessary operations during power outages and extreme heat events

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The Sustainable Solano Vallejo Resilient Neighborhoods Project aims to create two demonstrations of 6 to 10 houses each in Vallejo's low-income neighborhoods to educate and inspire local residents on low-key, affordable solutions to mitigate extreme temperature in and around their properties.

Goals include:

  • Designing and installing landscapes and other features (e.g., simple shade structures) to reduce temperatures inside and outside buildings and surrounding areas, including public spaces directly adjacent to these buildings, such as trees along a public sidewalk
  • Creating low-tech neighborhood "cooling centers" – an oasis of shade and moisture accessible to all during heat waves
  • Introducing a concept of shared solutions and collective actions to the community, where a few nearby houses cooperate to install and enjoy various sustainability elements, based on the feasibility of each participating house, building a greater sense of connection to the people and places – the true foundation of local resilience

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The Rising Sun Center for Opportunity's Comfort, Safety, and Energy Stockton Household Heat Mitigation project will leverage the organization's existing California Youth Energy Services program to increase resident awareness of extreme heat risks and actions that can mitigate these risks.

Goals include:

  • Helping to spread awareness of the dangers posed by extreme heat events among communities that may struggle to handle these added stressors
  • Informing members of disadvantaged communities about measures (behavioral, social, and technical) that they can employ to reduce their vulnerability and increase community resilience
  • Measuring introduced behavior change resulting from resources developed and deployed through this grant opportunity

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The Chinatown Community Development Center's Sustainable Chinatown project will develop a neighborhood community resilience strategy for the low-income, monolingual Chinese speaking immigrant community, including resilience to extreme heat events.

Goals include:

  • Evaluating building and operational performance characteristics of care facilities critical to vulnerable community members during San Francisco's 2017 heat waves, and identifying gaps and recommendations to improve future performance under similar circumstances
  • Engaging community-based groups and local youth leaders to identify opportunities to reduce the risk of urban heat island effects
  • Engaging and educating residents on extreme heat events and health effects caused by climate change

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2017 grant winners

In 2017, PG&E awarded $100,000 each to the University of California, Merced; the Karuk Tribe of California; Ag Innovations; and Sierra Institute. Each won for projects designed to help communities prevent and prepare for increasing wildfire risk by building healthy and resilient forests and watersheds.

The results of the grants will be made publicly available to help communities better understand, plan for and respond to climate change risks and encourage partnership with others.

About the projects

The University of California, Merced project will accelerate the pace and scale of forest restoration in Calaveras County. They plan to enable partnerships focusing on lands that are a high priority for improving drought resiliency and reducing high-intensity wildfire risk, while enhancing both forest health and water-related benefits.

Goals include:

  • Developing much-needed analysis and tools for assessing relative drought vulnerability and resilience of forested areas based on existing research.
  • Working with local land managers and stakeholders to refine these tools and build capacity to apply them in a central-Sierra forest as a testbed.
  • Working with local stakeholders to carry out and communicate assessments of drought vulnerability, wildfire risk and forest-restoration benefits with the aim of engaging broader support for investments in forests as natural capital and green infrastructure.

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The Karuk Tribe will develop a plan for addressing critical infrastructure needs and protections in preparation for implementation of prescribed burns in Humboldt County. They'll work with the U.S. Forest Service and others.

Goals include:

  • Identifying areas for prescribed burns as part of the Tribe's Climate Adaptation Plan
  • Promoting community resilience to wildfires and climate change at both regional and community levels
  • Strengthening the region's capacity to respond to wildfires in support of local communities in the Mid-Klamath River Basin

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Ag Innovations will partner with the Sonoma County Water Agency to create a coalition aimed at developing solutions to environmental hazards to protect the local water supply and forest health.

Goals include:

  • Bringing together public agencies, private landowners, tribes, scientists, and forestry experts
  • Developing collaborative solutions for managing vegetation in the Lake Sonoma Recreation Area, a critical source of water for more than 600,000 people
  • Developing solutions that improve erosion and wildfire management
  • Reducing fuel loads, improving watershed health and protecting the future of Lake Sonoma

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Sierra Institute will launch a collaborative effort in the headwaters of the California State Water Project, including the Upper Feather River, Upper Mill Creek and Upper Deer Creek areas. They plan to reduce fire risk while supporting the surrounding rural community and helping it to thrive.

Goals include:

  • Prioritizing some of the last free-running trout streams in California and across a landscape facing high risk of catastrophic wildfire
  • Contributing to California's broader climate resilience and upper watershed improvement efforts

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