Catalyzing Resilience in a Changing World
Climate change is already affecting our planet. Accelerating degradation of natural systems, increased incidence and intensity of extreme weather events, and rippling socioeconomic effects are foremost among emergent and growing impacts. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions must be a global priority, but even if we were to successfully implement the most ambitious greenhouse gas mitigation strategies, we cannot stem the climatic changes that we have set in motion, not for decades. We must act now to mobilize resources and knowledge to proactively address climate change impacts. Doing so will require coordinated investment in building adaptive capacity, and building resilience to the unfamiliar and uncertain circumstances to which we are committed.
Championing Adaptation and Resilience
CRF was created to help advance a positive vision of a climate resilient society and to mobilize the resources for achieving it. We are committed to supporting the development and implementation of knowledge and resources to help steer society in a new direction – one where healthy communities, ecosystems, and sustainable economies coexist and thrive.
Pursuit of this vision will require creative thinking, holistic problem solving, engagement of non-traditional stakeholders in decision-making, and collaboration across sectoral and jurisdictional boundaries. The good news is that expertise, tools, and strategies for doing this are available for deployment. They are the currency of climate adaptation professionals – a nascent but growing community of dedicated practitioners whose work holds the key to building a more sustainable and resilient society.
CRF’s Strategic Focus
CRF aspires to help our philanthropic partners reduce climate vulnerability in the systems and places where they work already, supporting the outcomes they are already focused upon with layered investments in climate services capacity and coordination to help local and regional decision makers incorporate climate change considerations into their plans, policies, and programs.
We do this by mobilizing resources to build sustained capacity in “boundary” organizations that bring knowledge and expertise about climate change impacts as well as resources, tools and strategies for addressing them to local and regional decision-makers and practitioners. CRF also supports the development of mechanisms to streamline, coordinate, and make more transparent the tools and resources required to implement climate adaptation and resilience strategies. An overview of CRF’s grantmaking can be found here.
Origins and Partners
CRF began operations in 2016 with a seed grant from the MacArthur Foundation. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation joined MacArthur as a member of CRF’s Partners Alliance in early 2017. The Fund works with several other foundations, large and small, and continues to grow our circle of partners and collaborators. Our long-term vision is to serve as a hub for investor and other strategic partners working cooperatively and collaboratively to advance the widespread development and adoption of climate-smart strategies to benefit people and the natural systems on which we all rely.
CRF currently operates with a small leadership team with experience working at the intersection of climate change, conservation, sustainability, and with the federal agencies tasked with addressing the causes and effects of the climate crisis. Our operations are guided by an Advisory Board comprised of partner and investor representatives and experts in the fields of climate adaptation, resilience, and philanthropy. CRF is housed at The Windward Fund, a 501(c)(3) family of funds and projects that provides back-office administrative, financial management, and legal support.
The development of CRF would not have been possible without contributions from a handful of key organizations and people. First and foremost is the Kresge Foundation, which enabled the development of the concept for the Fund. Dr. Katherine Jacobs of the University of Arizona, formerly with the White House Office of Science and Technology, helped develop priorities for the Fund and served as its first official Advisory Board Member during our critical development phase. Dr. Melissa (Missy) Stults has been a close collaborator and supporter of the Fund’s operations since its inception and continues to work with the fund as a Consultant.