Climate Resilient Communities Accelerator Highlights Need for Stronger Wildfire Policy, Community Resilience

April 11, 2024

Press Contacts
Nora Zacharski,

C2ES Climate Resilient Communities Accelerator Findings Highlight Need for Stronger Federal Wildfire Policy and Community Resilience Strategies

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) today released a new report, Unlocking Community Resilience: Innovative Strategies to Access Climate Adaptation Funding. The report highlights three successful case studies from Colorado where communities are pioneering strategies to help access funding for resilience. It also identifies a series of policy solutions to better support these strategies. These solutions include:

1) Boost local capacity and funding access
2) Scale projects through stacked public and private funds
3) Streamline access to the array of available financial resources.

The case studies that highlight the use case for these policy recommendations are: a state-funded regional grant navigator program to improve community access to federal funding sources, Denver’s public-private urban tree canopy partnership to combat heat and air pollution, and a disaster recovery fund that more quickly matches needs to available resources.

“Efforts that support sustainability and resiliency have never been more important to the future of our cities, and here in downtown Denver, we have seen real impact in having the ability to leverage resources that are available across sectors,” said Amanda Miller, Manager, Sustainability Initiatives at the Downtown Denver Partnership. “By joining public funding with private sector dollars and philanthropic contributions, the Downtown Denver Partnership has been able to upscale outputs of the Urban Forest Initiative, which works toward a goal of increasing downtown’s tree canopy. Stacking resources has enabled us to pursue this goal more swiftly and, ultimately, work toward a more sustainable future for our downtown, our nearly 900 property owners and 200K+ people that live, work and visit each day.”

Additionally, the report provides recommendations to federal agencies to improve community access to resilience funding to:

  • Increase federal agency staff capacity on funding programs
  • Streamline the grant application process
  • Support public-private partnerships
  • Fund state-level support offices within federal agencies (like the DOE’s State and Community Energy Program)

C2ES will continue its work with the Climate Resilient Communities Accelerator program in Colorado in 2024. The North Front Range Accelerator will convene and activate key stakeholders around a regional approach to develop community resilience hubs and microgrids. Resilience “hubs,” an emerging solution for vulnerable communities, are enhanced community facilities that provide ongoing benefits and specialized services such as backup electricity, cool spaces, and indoor air filtration, during and after emergencies like wildfires and heatwaves. The Accelerator convenings will coalesce local and national knowledge and identify potential funding opportunities for this key action area.

Through the Accelerator, C2ES will also engage leaders and organizations across the North Front Range of Colorado to advance wildfire resilience policy priorities, and amplify the region’s needs and solutions with federal leaders and agencies.

“We look forward to continuing to work alongside communities in the North Front Range and Denver to strengthen resilience against wildfire and heat—which are made worse by climate change—and help communities take advantage of unprecedented federal funding available to do so,” said Libby Zemaitis, Senior Manager for Resilience Programs.

The Accelerator program was launched in 2023 and complements existing climate resilience programs in the region. C2ES partnered with Colorado State University’s Climate Adaptation Partnership, to host two convenings last year: a Resilient Economies Roundtable in October and a Resources Connector Forum in November—to connect communities and businesses to each other and help expand the pool of potential partners, including economic development groups, community-based organizations, NGOs, and state and federal agencies. C2ES developed a Summary Report to capture the 2023 Accelerator convenings and process.


The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to secure a safe and stable climate by accelerating the global transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and a thriving, just, and resilient economy.