Mayor launches Pittsburgh in 10 city Resilience Americorps
Mayor William Peduto joins Cities of Service, the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers AmeriCorps, and the Rockefeller Foundation in announcing the 10 cities which together form the first Resilience AmeriCorps cities in the United States.
The cities of Anchorage, Ala., Boulder, Colo., Chicago, Ill., El Paso, Texas, Minot, N.D., New Orleans, La., Norfolk, Va., Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Ariz., and Tulsa, Okla. were selected for local vulnerability to climate-related risk, demonstrated commitment or efforts to improve environmental resilience, and city government capacity to host and implement Resilience AmeriCorps in their cities.
“Pittsburgh is pleased to be part of the country’s first Resilience AmeriCorps, which will build on existing efforts within the city to fortify our communities against environmental threat and other challenges,” said Mayor Peduto. “We are excited to have these new resources to contend with increasingly global issues.”
“Cities of Service and its partners are working to ensure that impact volunteering programs help communities at greatest risk of climate-change, and that they ready themselves before crises strike,” said Myung J. Lee, executive director of Cities of Service. “Resilience AmeriCorps builds on Cities of Services’ approach to helping mayors engage citizens to solve big challenges.”
Resiliency efforts study the threats that cities face -- including climate changes and economic challenges -- and seek ways to develop strategies to enable cities to survive, adapt and grow. Pittsburgh joined the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Network in December, and in June the city’s sustainability manager Grant Ervin was named the city’s Chief Resilience Officer.
“We are really excited to be selected by the Resilience AmeriCorps program. Selection helps the city build on its efforts with the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Program to create a stronger, more resilient city,” Mr. Ervin said. “The fellows program will help to supply staff capacity and support resilience education and outreach by connecting city services with neighborhood volunteer led efforts. The program will help build resilience from the ground up. The program also offers a great opportunity to bring young people into public service and make a positive contribution to the city and our neighborhoods.”
The Obama Administration announced the Resilience AmeriCorps initiative on July 9 in response to recommendations from the White House’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Each Resilience AmeriCorps city will receive $25,000 and dedicated AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members with which to implement programs that engage residents, community and nonprofit leaders in impact volunteering and other efforts to improve climate-related risk awareness, planning and resilience in low-income communities.
The first-year pilot leverages Rockefeller Foundation support, Cities of Service’s expertise and VISTA members from the Corporation for National and Community Service to build and lead impact volunteering initiatives in concert with each city’s mayor’s office, spearheading citizen engagement efforts that include education, facilitation and program implementation and using service as a strategy to achieve greater civic resilience.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will extend subject-matter expertise and specialized support to the Resilience AmeriCorps initiative, including strengthening local program leaders’ understanding of climate-related risks and helping them to create a comprehensive suite of responses to address them.
“This is another clear signal from the federal government that now is the time to get serious about building resilience,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Through the Resilience AmeriCorps program, VISTA members will gain real-life skills through their work in building resilience, and deepen their knowledge of the importance of these efforts. We will in turn create a generation of experts ready to address the challenges facing communities across the country in the 21st Century.”
Resilience AmeriCorps cities were selected by committee comprised of senior staff and experts from Cities of Service and the Rockefeller Foundation, in conjunction with the Corporation for National and Community Service and its federal partners.