Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the Challenge

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FAQ Contents


Tell me more about the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge.

What is the goal of the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge?

The 100 Resilient Cities Challenge is the application process by which cities join our network, through which we seek to find 100 cities that are ready to build resilience to the social, economic, and physical challenges that cities face in an increasingly urbanized world. 100RC selected a first group of 32 cities in December 2013, a second group of 35 in 2014, and its final round of winners in May 2016.

We can’t predict the next disruption or catastrophe. But we can control how we respond to these challenges. We can adapt to the shocks and stresses of our world and transform them into opportunities for growth. If your city applies for the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, it could be one of 100 cities eligible to receive funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer, assistance in developing a resilience strategy, access to a platform of innovative private and public sector tools to help design and implement that strategy, and membership in the 100 Resilient Cities Network.

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Why did 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, start this challenge?Anchor

100 Resilient Cities believes that, no matter what the city’s conditions, resilient systems share and demonstrate certain core characteristics. 100 Resilient Cities started this Challenge to facilitate this sharing and build a global practice of resilience among governments, NGOs, the private sector, and individual citizens.

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What is the relationship between 100 Resilient Cities and The Rockefeller Foundation?Anchor

100 Resilient Cities is financially supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and managed as a sponsored project by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides governance and operational infrastructure to its sponsored projects. The Foundation also provides 100 Resilient Cities with vital expertise, guidance, thought leadership, and contacts around the world. Learn more about 100 Resilient Cities and its relationship to the Rockefeller Foundation here.

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Why do I want to get involved?

The Finalists identified during 2015’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge will be eligible to receive:

  • Funding in the form of a grant to hire a Chief Resilience Officer;Anchor
  • Technical support to develop a holistic resilience strategy that reflects each city’s distinct needs;
  • Access to an innovative platform of services to support strategy development and implementation. Platform partners come from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, and will offer tools in areas such as innovative finance, technology, infrastructure, land use, and community and social resilience;
  • Membership in the 100 Resilient Cities network to share knowledge and practices with other member cities.

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What will a CRO do?Anchor

A Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) is a top-level advisor to the city’s mayor or chief executive. Their task is to bring in stakeholders from across silos of government and sectors of society, and to access all available resilience building tools and experts to develop a resilience strategy. Read more about the role of a CRO here.

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We already have emergency response plans. How will a CRO work to incorporate them?Anchor

One of the first steps a CRO takes is to catalogue existing plans – the goal is to build on the good work cities have done, not recreate it. CRO’s will work to understand the shocks and stresses that cities face while at the same time evaluating the city’s capacity to address them. This includes learning about existing resilience strategies, and then incorporating them into a single strategy while filling in the gaps, where they exist.

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How much money is The Rockefeller Foundation giving our city? $1,000,000?

Through 100 Resilient Cities, cities will receive membership in the 100 Resilient Cities Network, support to hire a Chief Resilience Officer, support to create a resilience plan, and tools and resources for implementation, helping to leverage additional billions through innovative finance. There is not a set amount of money that each city will receive since the cost of the benefits – like the CRO – will vary from city to city. Therefore, it is important to note that cities will not be receiving a check for $1 million. But obviously, the benefit of being one of the 100 city members of a $100-million effort will be substantial.Anchor

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Is my city eligible to apply?

Who is eligible to apply?Anchor

Municipal governments and major institutions (e.g., a nonprofit organization, university, chamber of commerce, or research center) that have an affiliation with a city, upon satisfying two specific requirements, are eligible to apply. Check out the 100 Resilient Cities Eligibility here.

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AnchorMy city has a population of 50,000. Can I still participate?

Yes, if you are a city, defined as a legal governmental entity with a population of over 50,000 inhabitants possessing a municipal government or other elected or appointed chief executive officer uniquely assigned to govern that population, you are eligible to apply.

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Can only cities apply?Anchor

No, major institutions (e.g., a nonprofit organization, university, chamber of commerce, or research center) that have an affiliation with a city are eligible to apply if they satisfy the following two requirements: (1) within the required letter of support, the highest ranking official must indicate agreement with all entry form answers and (2) the entry form must include at least one city contact and a valid email address. Affiliated organizations may also apply when a city cannot represent itself for legal reasons.

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But how do I apply?

How do I submit my application?Anchor

As of May 2016, the 100 Resilient Cities network has reached 100 members and is now closed.

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Can I edit or change my entry after I’ve submitted it?Anchor

You may edit your entry until you press the “submit” button, but will not have the ability to change your entry after that point.

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May I submit more than one entry to the challenge?Anchor

No, each city may only submit one application.

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AnchorWhat if I applied to the Challenge last year, can I simply resubmit my 2014 application?

Entrants that applied to the Challenge online in 2014 have the option of revising and resubmitting their 2014 application, but applicants must include a letter of support from a city’s Chief Executive, written in 2015.

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AnchorWhat is an “Outreach Associate?”

We have a team of Outreach Associates, or Community Managers, located across the globe and ready to support your application process. Reach out to them with any questions about the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, for support completing an application offline, and beyond.

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What if I can’t apply online?Anchor

Apply offline in any of the seven Challenge supported languages by downloading a PDF of the application available at Upon submission of an offline application, an Outreach Associate will upload your completed entry to the site on your behalf and you will receive a confirmation email, thanking you for your application.

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Are entries accepted in language other than English?Anchor

Yes, the application must be completed in one of the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, English, French, or Spanish. Submit the entry one of two ways: on the website, or by downloading a PDF of the application from in the preferred language, completing it, and emailing it to an Outreach Associate. The designated Outreach Associate, as identified on the Challenge website, will then translate the entry into English and upload it on behalf of the entrant to the website.

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AnchorDoes the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge consist of multiple rounds this year?

No, the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge will be a single round. All completed applications are due on November 24, 2015, by 23:59:59.

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Talk to me more about criteria.

AnchorWhat are the criteria for being selected?Anchor

Review the official Challenge application criteria listed here:

President Michael Berkowitz also published a blog post on four characteristics that we look for in city partners.

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AnchorWho determines the winning entries?

Members of the 100 Resilient Cities team and a panel of expert judges.

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What are the judges looking for?Anchor

  1. An engaged Mayor or chief executive who shows a commitment to resilience building and an understanding of the broad implications and benefits successful resilience planning can bring;
  2. An ability on the part of the city to work across sectors and levels of government, as well as engage in partnerships with the private sector, NGO’s and civil society groups to achieve complex goals and:
  3. A catalyst for change including a recent or impending shock, or an ongoing or reoccurring acute stress, that is deeply affecting the city and its citizens.

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Can I see a sample application from last year’s submissions? Anchor

100 Resilient Cities will not make last year’s application submissions available as samples. You can direct specific application questions to or your Community Manager and we’ll work to help you prepare the strongest application possible.

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Who will have access to my action plan once I submit it?Anchor

Initially, members of the 100 Resilient Cities team and a panel of expert judges will have access to the application. Find additional information on applicant information on our Official Rules page.

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AnchorWho should I contact if I am having problems with the website?

Contact one of the listed Outreach Associates or email

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I submitted my application – now what?Anchor

You will receive a confirmation email, thanking you for your application. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact The 100 Resilient Cities Challenge team will notify you of your status upon completion of the vetting process by April 2016.

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Tell me more about urban resilience.

What is urban resilience?Anchor

100 Resilient Cities has a unique and broad view of how urban resilience is defined: the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow, no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience. Shocks are typically considered single event disasters, such as fire, earthquakes, and floods. Stresses are factors that pressure a city on a daily or reoccurring basis, such as chronic food and water shortages, an overtaxed transportation system, or high unemployment.

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How do you define the priority areas in Question 9 of the Challenge application?

Please refer to the following definitions when answering Question 9 on the Challenge Entry Form:

  • Minimal human vulnerability: Indicated by the extent to which everyone’s basic needs are met, before, during, and after an acute shock or chronic stress. Those with basic access to provisions like food, water, sanitation, energy and shelter will be able to better deal with unforeseen circumstances.
  • Diverse livelihoods and employment: Facilitated by skills training, business support and social welfare, which will allow citizens to better withstand changing macroeconomic trends. Access to finance and the ability to accrue savings will allow them to survive and thrive through shocks and stresses, both financial and otherwise.
  • Adequate safeguards to human life and health: Having widespread access to health facilities and services that can fulfill a wide variety of needs, including public education, sanitation, and traditional healthcare services.  Having robust emergency response services.
  • Collective identity and mutual support: Observed as active government engagement with individual communities and vice-versa; and as communities that are well integrated internally, physically, and socially, as well as with other communities.  This allows populations to face adverse events together, without civil unrest and violence.
  • Social stability and security: Having trustworthy and effective law enforcement with a positive and open relationship with citizens, supported by a transparent, just, and effective justice system.  Law enforcement includes crime prevention and reduction, community education, and efforts to reduce corruption.
  • Availability of financial resources and contingency funds: Observed as sound financial management, diverse revenue streams to government, the ability to attract business investment, appropriately allocated capital and emergency funds. Includes the ability of private sector to flourish despite shocks and stresses.
  • Reduced physical exposure and vulnerability: Indicated by stewardship of the ecosystems that provide natural protection to the city; appropriate protective infrastructure that leverages natural protections where possible, effective land-use planning; and enforcement of hazard reduction planning regulations.
  • Continuity of critical services: Characterized by active management and maintenance of critical infrastructure (both natural and manmade) that protects and/or provides services to citizens. This increases the likelihood of this infrastructure surviving and mitigating shocks and stresses, and ensures that plans are in place for failures.
  • Reliable communications and mobility: Indicated by diverse and affordable multimodal transport systems and information and communication technology (ICT) networks, and contingency planning. This facilitates rapid mass evacuation and communication in the case of emergencies, and ensures that cities are well integrated and connected.  Allows for populations, especially the poor and vulnerable, to access employment.
  • Effective leadership and management: Having a government, business community, and civil society run by trusted individuals who make rational decisions based on the best available information. Those decisions are made with an eye towards best outcomes for citizens, and are made after consultation with a variety of stakeholders.
  • Empowered stakeholders: Indicated by education for all, and access to up-to-date information and knowledge to enable people and organizations to take appropriate action on important issues.  Stakeholders are citizens, private and public sector actors, NGOs, civil society groups and others.
  • Integrated development planning: Indicated by the presence of a sound city vision; a citywide development strategy that makes it possible to deal with multidisciplinary issues such as disaster risk reduction, climate change or emergency response; and plans that are regularly reviewed and updated by cross departmental working groups.

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