Judith Rodin has a few opinions on what New York City’s Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio should do in his upcoming term, and she’s not afraid to share them. The Rockefeller Foundation (see IP's profile) has been focused on building urban resilience for some time, and has centered a large part of its centennial work on creating resilient cities. In the face of climate change and a changing environment, resilience refers to the ability to survive and adapt to large shocks— like Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York in 2012. Judith Rodin reveals her own ideas in a speech to Bill de Blasio— grantees should take note as these are the projects the Rockefeller Foundation will likely be most interested in going forward.
Rodin recently gave a speech to the Association for a Better New York titled “Five Resilience Recommendations for Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.” The title of the speech is pretty straightforward, illustrating these recommendations: de Blasio should 1) Create a Deputy Mayor for Resilience position, 2) Develop Bus Rapid Transit for every NYC borough, 3) Increase technology investments, 4) Move federal money into resilience projects faster, 5) Create an infrastructure bank.
It’s hard to know whether de Blasio is listening. However, the grantees out there should be. The items Rodin listed in the speech are also the ones the Rockefeller Foundation has been funding. Organizations working on bus rapid transit solutions have received several grants. In 2013, the Global Strategy Group, LLC received $710,000 for a bus rapid transit advocacy campaign, while the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy received $100,000 for providing technical assistance. In terms of getting money out of DC and into resilience projects, Rodin mentions an initiative by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (which was funded by the foundation) to get better flood defenses in waterfront areas.
Rodin is quite vocal about where she’d like New York City to go. Grantees can get insight into her thinking by checking out her letter to de Blasio or, even better, reading up on her climate change program officers. Get an edge on your grant application by understanding the folks reading it and awarding the money (see IP’s profile on Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio).