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Resiliency Negotiations Can’t Bounce Back from Incompatible Visions

The City of Alameda won't be receiving a resiliency program grant from the Rockefeller Foundation after all.

The City of Alameda won’t be receiving a resiliency program grant from the Rockefeller Foundation after all.

The Rockefeller Foundation and the City of Alameda couldn’t agree on a vision for putting to use a previously announced $280,000 “resilient city” grant. Consequently, no grant will be forthcoming, the City of Alameda announced today.

According to today’s media release from the City of Alameda, the centerpiece of the grant funding was a Chief Resilience Officer, previously identified as working out of the Fire Department for two years, to establish Alameda’s plan to bounce back after a disaster.

“It’s very unfortunate that after having gone through a lengthy application process, receiving notice of acceptance, and engaging a diverse group of community members for the kick-off, we now cannot agree to a program that will work for Alameda,” said Assistant City Manager Alex Nguyen. “We certainly hope to collaborate with Rockefeller in the future.”

Reached for comment, officials at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City provided this statement: “On March 28 2014, The Rockefeller Foundation communicated to Alameda officials that 100 Resilient Cities will no longer work with the City of Alameda as a member city in the 100RC network. We reached this difficult decision because we believe that we share an incompatible vision for 100RC.

“100RC is an independent non-profit that was established by The Rockefeller Foundation to run the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge and support the selected cities in their resilience building. 100 RC is specifically designed to ensure cities take a broad definition of resilience, including the ability to respond to a wide array of shocks and stresses from violent crime to health pandemics to persistent poverty. Crucial to achieving this goal is the appointment of a Chief Resilience Officer to coordinate across government departments as well as the public, private and civic sectors. The importance of such a silo-busting role is why 100RC committed to fund the CRO for each member city for two years.

“Alameda and 100 Resilient Cities had incompatible visions of the role of the CRO and despite multiple conversations, we could not reach a mutually agreeable solution.”

Alameda Fire Chief Mike D’Orazi tried to put his best spin on the cancellation of the grant, saying that the City of Alameda will continue on building a resilience plan nonetheless.

Alex Nguyen confirmed that the City of Alameda has no plans to hire a Chief Resilience Officer despite losing the Rockefeller grant.

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