The Climate Resilient & Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) Initiative
Urban flooding poses a serious threat to low-income communities and communities of color across the United States. Meridian developed recommendations to increase the impact of investments dedicated to addressing this challenge.
As climate change drives increasingly severe and frequent urban flooding, low-income communities and communities of color are harmed “first and worst.” As part of efforts to ensure that all citizens live in surroundings that are climate-resilient and equitable, The Kresge Foundation developed the Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) initiative. At Kresge’s request, Meridian identified strategic opportunities to increase the impact of projects that link climate resilience, water, and equity goals.
Urban flooding often stems from life-threatening storm events. In their aftermath, flooding displaces people from their homes, degrades water quality, and increases the likelihood of health risks from mold. According to climate scientists, changes in the timing and intensity of rain is making major flood events more common. Given the magnitude of the problem, it is critical that efforts to address urban flooding are carried out equitably across all communities.
In partnership with American Rivers, Meridian assessed Kresge’s water-oriented grantmaking. To develop a comprehensive picture of the Foundation’s strategy, Meridian conducted a quantitative analysis of Kresge grantees’ proposals and reports. We also interviewed grantees, as well as leaders in the climate, water, and equity field who were not affiliated with the CREWS initiative. Drawing from the results of our research, we recommended options for advancing the field and strengthening the community of people working on these important topics.