100 Resilient Cities 2015 Challenge Official Rules


To influence the global discussion of resilience and surface new ideas and innovations on resilience that benefit the residents of cities, particularly the poor and vulnerable, who are often disproportionately impacted by shocks and stresses; and foster local discussions, planning, and collaboration that leads to resilience-building action in at least 100 cities globally.

Description of Opportunity

The 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge was pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation in 2013.  100 Resilient Cities (“100RC”) was formed as a sponsored project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc. to carry out and continue the work of the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge.

100RC 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. 

Cities are becoming home to a vast majority of our planet’s people. How do we ensure that they withstand the shocks and stresses of today and tomorrow? Overpopulation, climate change, and conflict are on our doorsteps. We can’t predict which natural or man-made disruptions will come next, but we can plan for them, and grow after them. The 100RC seeks to support 100 cities that are ready to strengthen areas of vulnerability and build the capacity to respond and adapt in the face of crisis.

To enable cities to better address major 21st century challenges, 100RC is inviting cities from around the world to apply for the 2015 100 Resilient Cities Challenge (the “Challenge”). Last year, 100RC identified 35 cities that formed the second cohort of the Resilient Cities Network.  Each year additional cities that are ready to lead the urban resilience movement will be invited to join the Resilient Cities Network until a total of 100 cities from around the world have been chosen.

Each selected city will be eligible to become a “Member City.” Member Cities will receive the following:

  • Funding in the form of a grant to hire a Chief Resilience Officer;
  • 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.

Selected cities must agree to certain terms and conditions in order to become a Member City and receive grant funding and other support.  Selection does not guarantee funding. 100RC and 100RC partners will not provide funding for the full development and implementation of each Member City’s entire resilience plan. There may be additional tools and resources that cities choose to fund themselves, either directly or by securing other funding.

Who should apply?

Challenge applicants will be primarily municipal governments. Major institutions (e.g., a nonprofit organization, university, chamber of commerce, or research center) that have an affiliation with a city may apply on the city’s behalf upon satisfying the following two requirements: (1) within the required letter of support described below, the highest ranking local government official must consent to the organization’s submitting an application on its behalf and indicate agreement with all application answers and (2) the application must include at least one city or local government contact and a valid email address. Affiliated organizations may also apply on behalf of a city when a city cannot apply directly for legal reasons.  Applicants are invited to submit their applications by November 24, 2015, by 23:59:59. Only one application will be accepted from each city.

The Challenge is international in scope. However, individuals and organizations identified as “Specially Designated Nationals” and “Blocked Persons” by the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and individuals or organizations with whom a financial or other transaction by 100RC or any of its partners would be considered a “prohibited transaction” (defined by OFAC as trade or financial transactions and other dealings in which U.S. persons may not engage unless authorized by OFAC or expressly exempted by statute) are not eligible.

Each application must:

  • Include completed responses to all required questions;
  • Include a letter of support from the highest-ranking representative of the city government, whether elected or appointed. Generally, this representative would be a mayor, city chief executive officer, or city manager.

Applications are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. If you have any questions about applying in these languages, you may contact the following:

  • For all inquiries in Arabic, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
  • For all inquiries in Chinese, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
  • For all inquiries in English, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
  • For all inquiries in French, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
  • For all inquiries in Portuguese, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
  • For all inquiries in Russian, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
  • For all inquiries in Spanish, contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Submission Deadlines and Review Process

The application must be completed and submitted by November 24, 2015 in one of two ways: in English on the website, or by emailing it to the appropriate contact listed above. Additional information may be requested from an applicant at any time. A panel of judges will assess the merit of proposals; 100 Resilient Cities will make all final selection decisions. Due to the expected number of applications, reviewers will not be able to provide individual feedback for applications. A request to submit additional information does not guarantee selection. 100RC, and its partners assume no obligation, no responsibility and no liability for costs incurred by applicants in completing the application.

All selected applicants will be notified by May 2016. Applications and notification deadlines are subject to change at any time. Any changes will be reflected on the Challenge website.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges and 100RC, who will assess the overall quality of the entry based primarily on the following criteria; however additional facts and circumstances not listed below may also be considered in the evaluation process:

  • The entrant must express commitment to the 100RC approach and willingness to lead the resilience movement, as demonstrated by its responses in the entry form;
  • The entrant must have articulated the city’s greatest vulnerabilities;
  • The entrant must showcase a broad base of stakeholder / constituent support to achieve the vision outlined;
  • The entrant must have articulated the desire to treat the city’s resilience-building comprehensively, i.e., by building resilience in more than one realm of vulnerability, and through multi-sector partnerships including multiple government agencies, private sector actors, civil society organizations, etc.;
  • The entrant must have articulated an approach to ensuring that the development of a city-wide resilience strategy will include the engagement and voice of the city’s poor and vulnerable residents and will explicitly benefit this population;
  • The entrant must have successfully cleared the challenge due diligence process;
  • The entrant must meet all legal requirements;
  • The entrant must garner high scores from a panel of judges, ten being the top score, using the profiled scoring system, available on the Challenge website.

Subsequent Changes

100 RC reserves the right to amend these Official Rules or cancel the Challenge at any time. Any changes will be reflected on the Challenge website.

Restrictions on Use of Funds

Funding received from 100RC may not be used for any purpose other than the purpose for which the funding is provided.  No portion of funds received from 100RC may be used for lobbying, directly or indirectly, to influence specific legislation or to support any political activities such as campaigning or otherwise influencing the outcome of a specific public election. While a city’s responses to the application may describe policy solutions, please note that the support a city receives may be limited with respect to policy solutions due to these prohibitions.

Property Rights

By submitting an application to 100RC to be considered for the Challenge, applicant agrees that its application and all materials submitted along with or in connection to its application (“Application Materials”) will become the property of 100RC and will not be returned to the applicant.  Applicant further agrees that by submitting an application to 100RC, applicant grants to 100RC a limited, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, worldwide, irrevocable license to reproduce, distribute, display, edit, adapt, create derivative works from and otherwise exploit and use, Application Materials for all purposes in all languages and all media now known or hereafter developed.

Privacy Notice


By providing Application Materials to 100RC, the applicant warrants to 100RC and Context Partners that the applicant has the right to provide the information submitted and that applicant is the source of all Application Materials and such Application Materials do not infringe upon or violate the rights of any person or entity or otherwise violate any law or regulation.  Applicant indemnifies and holds 100RC harmless from any and all loss, damage and expense, including reasonable attorney’s fees which 100RC may incur by reason of any claim, action or judgment arising from the breach or alleged breach of these warranties.

Governing Law

This Challenge shall be governed by and interpreted under the laws of the State of New York, U.S.A. without regard to its conflicts of laws provisions. All participants in the Challenge hereby irrevocably (1) agree that any and all disputes, claims, causes of action, or controversies arising out of or in connection with this Challenge shall be brought exclusively in the state or federal courts located in New York County in the State of New York, USA and (2) consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of those courts and waive any objection to such venue based on grounds of forum non conveniens. Should any part of these Official Rules be declared invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction of the State of New York, such invalidation should not invalidate the remaining portions of these Official Rules, and they shall remain in full force and effect.


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