Building local climate resilience
With the projected impacts of climate change, California faces a continued and growing threat of climate-related hazards, including sea level rise, changing precipitation patterns, extreme heat, and wildfires. Communities need resources to help prevent and prepare for these climate risks and build local resilience through collaborative, community-driven approaches.
Through the Better Together Resilient Communities grant program, The PG&E Corporation Foundation (Foundation) is requesting proposals of $100,000 to fund four projects in 2021 that build community resilience and capacity to withstand climate-related hazards. Priority will be given to those that demonstrate past or projected exposure to climate hazard(s) and those that address the needs of disadvantaged and/or vulnerable communities.
Eligible applicants will be governmental organizations, educational institutions, or certified 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations and must include a local or tribal government within Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) service area as a partner. Applicants must be prepared to provide documentation to demonstrate they meet the Foundation’s criteria for charitable giving.
Proposals must comply with all submission instructions and guidelines to be considered for funding. To inform your proposal, applicants may refer to the glossary of climate change adaptation terms and the list of sample climate change resources that are included at the end of this document, after the application questions.
Each compliant proposal will be evaluated based on how well it meets each of the criteria listed below.
- Demonstrated need
- Is exposure to one or more climate hazard(s) clearly described and supported by use of data? Is the current and future risk of the climate hazard(s) described?
- Does the proposal describe the vulnerability and sensitivity of the community to the identified climate hazard(s)?
- Does the proposal focus on and describe the needs of disadvantaged and/or vulnerable community members?
- Approach, outcomes, and potential impact
- Are the methods of enhancing community resilience sufficiently detailed?
- Does the approach detail a process for identifying and engaging with stakeholders?
- What is the desired impact of the proposal? Is there a direct and clearly explained connection between the proposed approach and this impact? Does the proposal describe how success will be measured?
- Is it clear how the project will create or enhance the adaptive capacity of the community?
- Does the approach include details on how others will be able to learn from the proposed work?
- Project feasibility and support
- Are the identified partners suitable and are their roles in the project clearly defined?
- Are the budget and timeline appropriate and realistic for the proposed work?
The resources listed below are meant to help understand and identify potential climate change exposure, impacts, and adaptation options. This is not a comprehensive list of possible resources, and applicants are not required to include them in the application or be limited to this list.
Climate Hazard Exposure
- Multiple hazards:
- Cal-Adapt provides tools, data, and resources to show how climate change might affect California. For the purpose of this grant, Cal-Adapt provides interactive climate data visualizations for future temperature, precipitation, snowpack, and sea level rise.
- The California Heat Assessment Tool (CHAT) provides health-informed heat thresholds for communities and examines the projected future frequency and severity of local heat waves under climate change.
- Sea level rise and coastal hazards:
- Inland flooding:
- The FEMA National Flood Hazard Layer Viewer shows the current effective flood data for the United States. It shows effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) databases and Letters of Map Revision (LOMRs).
Impacts of Climate Change on People and Sectors
- The California 4th Climate Assessment provides an overview of updated climate science for California and a better understanding of potential climate impacts across sectors and populations, as well as potential actions for building resilience.
- The California Emergency Response Infrastructure Climate Vulnerability Tool provides visualizations of a number of potential climate impacts to critical emergency response infrastructure throughout the state, including the number and value of assets affected by coastal flooding and wildfire.
- CalEnviroScreen is published by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and is a mapping tool that helps identify which California communities are most affected by pollution, including consideration of which populations are more vulnerable to pollution due to environmental, health, and socioeconomic factors.
- California Healthy Places Index provides geospatial information on factors that influence public health, including housing, transportation, education, environment, healthcare, and more.
- Climate Change & Health Vulnerability Indicators for California (CCHVIs) provides visualizations of environmental exposure, population sensitivity, and adaptive capacity indicators of public health.
Potential Actions for Resilience and Adaptation
- The Adaptation Capability Advancement Toolkit helps local governments understand what barriers they face and capabilities they possess in terms of pursuing climate adaptation. The toolkit also helps them identify how to overcome such barriers and opportunities for building their capability.
Funded applications will be expected to complete the following actions:
- Respond to a questionnaire about the project.
- Participate in quarterly update calls with representatives of The Foundation or PG&E (which is assisting in administration of the grant program).
- Provide a report to the Foundation detailing project actions, stakeholders engaged, capacity building achievements, additional resources leveraged, and other outcomes, including an executive summary.
The deadline for applications is Tuesday, August 31, 2021. The application can be found here (PDF, 254 KB). Applications should be submitted to BetterTogetherGrantPrograms@pge.com. Applicants are encouraged to transfer questions beginning on page 3 of this PDF to a Word document or contact PG&E at the email address above to request a digital Word version of this application.
Email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Visit Sustainable Solano
- 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.
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.
Visit GreenBelt Alliance
- 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.
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.
Visit The Wiyot Tribe
- 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.
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.
Visit The Nature Conservancy
- 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.
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.
Visit the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians
- 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
The Ag Innovations Fire Smarts Project aims to launch a Fire Safe Council in Calistoga.
Visit Ag Innovations
- 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
The New Paradigm College Ecological Restoration and Workforce Development Project aims to develop a tribal workforce development curriculum to engage in ecological restoration.
Visit New Paradigm College
- 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
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.
Visit Pepperwood Preserve
- 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
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.
Visit the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project
- 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
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.
Visit Sustainable Solano
- 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
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.
Visit Rising Sun Center for Opportunity
- 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
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.
Visit the Chinatown Community Development Center
- 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
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.
Visit the University of California, Merced
- 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.
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.
Visit the Karuk Tribe
- 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
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.
Visit Ag Innovations
- 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
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.
Visit Sierra Institute
- 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