Community Opportunity Fund – Resilience

Community Opportunity Fund – Resilience


Resilience is “the ability of people, households, communities, countries and systems to mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and stresses in a manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth” (USAID, Resilience Evidence Forum Report, 2018, Shocks are events that decrease communities’ ability to function over a relatively short amount of time (e.g., severe thunderstorms, flooding and mega-rain events, epidemics, etc.). Stresses are chronic conditions that weaken the functioning of communities over long periods of time and decrease communities’ abilities to cope with shocks (e.g., low availability of housing that is affordable, inequities, limited access to affordable and high-quality childcare, etc.).

With our communities facing a multitude of challenges and hazards, and more anticipated amidst climate change, the Community Foundation is investing in redesigning and building the capacities of organizations and systems to be better equipped to navigate shocks and stresses, and address the root causes of our vulnerabilities deeply tied to inequities. The well-being of our communities depends on our ability to mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and stresses. A model the Foundation has piloted, called COPEWELL (, describes the holistic aspects of community resilience to disasters. This includes community functioning (e.g., housing, well-being, economy, care, etc.), population factors (e.g., inequality, deprivation, vulnerability), prevention/mitigation factors (e.g., natural systems/environment, engineered systems, countermeasures), and resources for recovery (e.g., social cohesion, preparedness & response, external resources).

Within Resilience, the Community Foundation seeks to support efforts that align with the following objectives:

  • Highest priority is supporting organizations and systems led by and serving people with historically marginalized identities to increase people’s assets, abilities and agency for greater equity in resilience building
  • Absorbing shocks by reducing exposure to hazards (e.g., actions toward climate resilience and addressing root causes)
  • Changing behaviors to deal with the impacts of shocks and stresses, including climate change
  • Adapting through measures that identify and manage risks over the longer term
  • Transforming as changes occur in the underlying conditions (e.g., as a result of climate change)
  • Leveraging resources to achieve greater, lasting results to benefit generations to come (e.g., piloting work to be better positioned to receive state, federal or large private funding)
  • Implementing evidence-based, theory-informed or promising practices to build resilience
  • Contributing to understanding of effective actions and approaches to increase resilience
  • Actions that lead to greater equity and justice with marginalized community members (including but not limited to race/ethnicity, gender, ability, income, etc.), making our community, as a whole, more resilient


Core values that must be centered in this work:

    • Systems change (i.e., fundamental shifts that address root causes of inequities),
    • Deep and meaningful community engagement (i.e., processes that are accessible, redistribute power, uplift local expertise, and earn trust of people with lived experience)
    • Continuous learning and improvement (i.e., delivering better outcomes by gathering and using information to assess and reflect upon success and challenges to adjust practices)
    • Centering human beings (i.e., changing narratives about Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and people with low incomes, and building understanding between people with diverse identities and experiences)
    • Collaboration (i.e., complex challenges cannot be solved by one organization alone, requiring partnerships and alignment of strengths.)


Funding will not support endowments; religious organizations for religious activities; medical research; debt retirement; requests from re-granting organizations for funding to be used for their own grant making activities; individuals (except scholarships initiated or managed by the Community Foundation); political campaigns or lobbying; tickets for benefits; telephone solicitations; fundraising drives or activities.

To be eligible to apply for funding, an organization must:

  • Be classified as a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or classified as an organization under Section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code or have a fiscal sponsor classified as a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or an organization under Section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Be located in or provide service to residents within: Bayfield, Douglas and Ashland Counties in northwest Wisconsin; or Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis Counties in northeast Minnesota; or the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa/Mashkiiziibii, the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa/Atisokanigamig, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa/Nah-Gah-Chi-Wa-Nong, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa/Gichi Onigaming, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe or the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa/Gaa-Miskwaabikaang 

Grant range

$25,000 – $50,000

Application timeline

Fall Grant Cycle

  • Application available August 1, 2024 – October 1, 2024 @ 5:00 pm
  • Project begin date: January 1, 2025, or later.
  • If awarded, funds would be available in January 2025. Notifications will be emailed at the end of December 2024.