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Mayor Walsh Announces Boston Selected for Prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Grant

December 3, 2014

Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that Boston has been selected as one of 35 cities from around the world to be invited to join the 100 Resilient Cities Network, a project of the Rockefeller Foundation. 100RC supplies its member cities with tools, funding, technical expertise, and other resources to build resilience to the challenges of the 21st century. As part of the scope of the award, Boston will bring on a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), tapped to create a dialogue around Boston’s segregated past, the impacts that linger today, and finding ways for the City to become more equitable.   

“The long-term impacts of the busing era are still felt in Boston today, and we know that we still see segregation in our neighborhoods and gaps in social outcomes for people of color in areas such as education, public health, and economic security, ,” said Mayor Walsh. “We saw an opportunity here, to take an alternative approach to what resilience means - it’s not just environmental, it can also be social. I want to thank the Rockefeller Foundation and the judges for selecting Boston to join the Resilient Cities Network.”    

 “Boston’s application stood out to our judges for its sophisticated sense of resilience,” said Ryan Whalen, Director for Initiatives and Strategy at the Rockefeller Foundation. “The selection committee was struck by the range of challenges that the city continues to face, and how city government here understands the ways in which these challenges all feed into one another. I’m pleased to announce that Boston will be joining the 100 Resilient Cities network.”    

 The CRO will report directly to the Mayor and will support policy discussion, and planning efforts in the City through this social resilience lens. The CRO will also work with external stakeholders towards a shared vision on economic development, transportation, housing, climate change, and the arts. The position will continue to be shaped following today’s announcement. Upon appointment the CRO will serve a 2-year term.    

Boston is now part of a global community of cities working together to become more resilient. In addition to grant funding for the CRO position, Boston will receive technical support to develop a resilience strategy that reflects the city’s distinct needs, and the support and services the City needs to work towards implementing that strategy. As part of the network, Boston will obtain access to a variety of platform partners in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. These partners will offer tools in areas such as innovative finance, technology, infrastructure, land use, and community and social resilience. Finally, Boston will be linked together in a global network to learn from other participating cities’ challenges and successes.    

Momentum from last year’s inaugural 100RC challenge made this year highly competitive, spanning over 90 countries across six continents. Boston was chosen from more than 330 applicants on the basis of willingness, ability, and need to become resilient in the face of future challenges. Other cities announced today by the Rockefeller Foundation to join the 100RC are:  

  • Accra (Ghana)
  • Amman (Jordan)
  • Arusha (Tanzania)
  • Athens (Greece)
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • Belgrade (Serbia)
  • Bengaluru (India)
  • Boston (USA)
  • Cali (Colombia)
  • Chennai (India)
  • Chicago (USA)
  • Dallas (USA)
  • Deyang (China)
  • Enugu (Nigeria)
  • Huangshi (China)
  • Juárez (Mexico)
  • Kigali (Rwanda)
  • Lisbon (Portugal)
  • London (United Kingdom)
  • Milan (Italy)
  • Montreal (Canada)
  • Paris (France)
  • Phnom Penh (Cambodia)
  • Pittsburgh (USA)
  • San Juan (USA)
  • Santa Fe (Argentina)
  • Santiago de los Caballeros (Dominican Republic)
  • Santiago (Chile)
  • Singapore (Singapore)
  • St. Louis (USA)
  • Sydney (Australia)
  • Thessaloniki (Greece)
  • Toyama (Japan)
  • Tulsa (USA)
  • Wellington (New Zealand)

Member cities were selected upon the recommendation of distinguished judges from around the world, including former president José María Figueres Olsen of Costa Rica, the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Chairperson for the Board of Governors on the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, Dr. Isher Ahluwalia, and the President and CEO of the Asia Society, Josette Sheeran.