December 12, 2012
Kresge Foundation awards SE Florida Regional Climate Change Compact $975,000
By Kresge Foundation
Congratulations to the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact for recently being awarded a $975,000 Kresge Foundation Grant. Last Friday, the Kresge Foundation announced a major grant to the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) to support the work of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. The grant, $975,000 over three years, was announced at the Fourth Annual Regional Climate Action Summit hosted recently by Palm Beach County in Jupiter.
Florida’s southeast coast has much to lose in a changing climate: beach erosion, saltwater infiltration, increasingly extreme weather and a host of other challenges face this densely settled region that is home to more than 5.5 million people. But local government is taking positive action – and gaining traction.
The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact was formed by the county governments of Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach in 2009. Through a series of summits and ongoing working groups, the Compact partners have forged a Regional Climate Action Plan to build lasting prosperity for the region by reducing the emissions that cause climate change and preparing for its inevitable impacts. The recommendations – more than 100 of them – range from coordinated approaches for protecting critical infrastructure to spurring new business opportunities to improve regional quality of life. The regional approach at the heart of the Compact represents a model for coordinating public, private and non-profit sector engagement.
Steve Adams, senior program officer at ISC, has staffed the Compact since its inception. “The Compact is at the cutting edge of local government climate innovations and Kresge Foundation support was vital to early development efforts. This new investment from Kresge – the nation’s premiere funder for these issues – is a real validation of what the Compact Counties have achieved.”
John Nordgren, program officer for the Kresge Foundation has supported the Compact since its inception. “These four counties have already shown remarkable political leadership in developing the Climate Compact. It is an exceptional example of regional, bipartisan cooperation by local government leaders. It also exemplifies a comprehensive approach to community resilience in the face of climate change, something that other regions around the country and the Federal government should look upon as a model. That said, the hard work of implementation is in front of them. The Kresge Foundation is pleased to be a small part of this remarkable initiative.”
Kristin Jacobs, mayor of Broward County and original sponsor of the Compact, was in the audience at the time of the grant announcement. She later expressed her deep emotion in recognizing the magnitude of the announcement and its importance to the region. "This grant comes at a crucial juncture in time, bringing dedicated resources to the Compact, the launching of the Regional Climate Action Plan, and for the collective advancement of our communities. The support of Kresge is yet another demonstration of the benefits of our working together and the value of the Compact even beyond southeast Florida."
The Summit, held Dec. 6-7 at the Jupiter Beach Resort, featured nationally renowned climate expert Heidi Cullen and Ron Sims, a noted national authority on local government sustainability efforts. More information about the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact, including the Summit agenda, can be found at southeastfloridaclimatecompact.org or visit Climate Change at broward.org/NaturalResources.
As the Compact moves forward with the process of implementation of the Climate Change Action Plan, the City of Fort Lauderdale continues to struggle with its ongoing beach erosion problems particularly hard hit, an approximately four block long strip along A1A that has been reduced to just two lanes of traffic in either direction. This section of beach is located just north of Sunrise Blvd. though residents at the meeting on Monday night, December 10 held in a packed room at the Beach Community Center, to discuss possible solutions stressed that this is a coastline not an isolated condition.