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Flipping the Script on Disaster: A Tale of Three Resilient Cities

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 -
10:00am to 12:00pm PDT
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360 | San Francisco, CA 94105
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Leaders in Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco are taking bold action to survive, adapt, and grow stronger in the face of racial inequity, climate change, earthquakes, healthcare disparities, wildfires, and lack of affordable housing. Their approaches offer some valuable nuggets for philanthropy as we work to address these issues and support vulnerable communities, often the most impacted by these chronic stresses and acute shocks.

With support from the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco have each developed a set of comprehensive and interconnected strategies (resources below) to promote resilience, particularly of the most vulnerable communities which are often the most impacted by these chronic stresses and acute shocks.

Join the Chief Resilience Officers of Oakland and San Francisco to hear how they are implementing innovative approaches, involving city departments, communities, and outside experts, and have ideas to share on the kinds of partnerships that could make a difference. The Honorable Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland, will open the program and share her perspective on resilience, her city’s strategy, and how philanthropy can support the resilience of the region. We will also hear about the new Resilient By Design challenge which will catalyze innovative, collaborative planning to build resilience in advance of disaster.

Join Us To:

  • Learn how a resilience-based approach to both chronic stresses – such as poverty and inequity – and acute shocks – such as natural disasters and community crises – can strengthen communities
  • Hear from city leaders about the specific multi-faceted and interconnected resilience challenges their cities face and approaches they are taking to address them
  • Engage in an exchange about how funders with diverse portfolios can support varied aspects of this important work

Target Audience

This program is open to NCG members and non-member funders. Leadership as well as program and operations staff are encouraged to attend. If you are not an NCG member, please register by emailing:


  • Mayor Libby Schaaf, Mayor, City of Oakland (Opening Speaker)
  • Amanda Brown-Stevens, Managing Director, Bay Area Resilient by Design Challenge
  • Kiran Jain, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Oakland
  • Brian Strong, Chief Resilience Officer, City San Francisco
  • James W. Head, President and CEO, East Bay Community Foundation (Moderator)

Speaker Bios

Mayor Libby Schaaf Born and raised in Oakland, Mayor Schaaf is proud to have won 63 percent of Oaklanders’ votes on November 4, 2014 in a city-wide, ranked-choice election against 15 other candidates.
Mayor Schaaf previously served one term as a member of the Oakland City Council. While on the Council, she sped up police recruitment and added civilian staffing, allowing sworn officers to respond more quickly and effectively to crime and public safety concerns.

A proponent of innovation in government, Mayor Schaaf supported small business growth by establishing a groundbreaking partnership with Kiva Zip to provide 0 percent interest loans to financially-excluded and socially-impactful entrepreneurs in Oakland.

Her leadership on the Council also led to reforms that modernized government technology and increased transparency, accountability and public access to information. She spearheaded several good government efforts, including introducing a voter-passed initiative to create an independent re-districting commission. This reformed the process for drawing Council and School Board district boundaries, ensuring greater equity and public engagement in the process. She also advocated for open data laws, playing an instrumental role in the creation of a partnership with Code for America to develop an internationally-recognized online public records request system. This system has increased public visibility into the City’s budget, finances and campaign contributions to elected officials.

A former Council chief of staff and top mayoral aide to Jerry Brown, Mayor Schaaf represented Mayor Brown on the Project Choice Re-Entry Steering Committee, whose juvenile parolees enjoyed an 83 percent lower recidivism rate. Later, as Public Affairs Director for the Port of Oakland, she helped bring millions in state and federal funds to Oakland.

Amanda Brown-Stevens brings a wide range of experience to the role of Managing Director of the Bay Area Resilient by Design Challenge. Most recently, both at The Trust for Public Land and a private consulting firm, Amanda helped cities, counties, school and park districts throughout California develop and pass public finance measures raising hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding for conservation, parks and other essential infrastructure. Before that, as Deputy Director of Greenbelt Alliance, Amanda worked with communities throughout the nine-county Bay Area to protect our region’s iconic natural areas and encourage the right development in the right places.

Amanda believes in working closely with community members to understand the unique needs of a jurisdiction, and crafting policies and plans that will most effectively meet those needs. She brings a strong understanding of the concerns of local residents, community leaders and how to effectively communicate with different audiences.

Amanda holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University and an M.P.P. from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. She lives with her family in Oakland, where she worked in the early 2000s as Chief of Staff to Oakland City Councilmember Nancy Nadel.

Kiran Jain is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Oakland.  She has experience in both the public and private sectors focused on urban innovation. Kiran served as Chief Strategy Officer for Neighborly, a venture-backed company modernizing public finance to build the infrastructure people rely on to work, live, and play. Prior to Neighborly, Kiran served as a senior deputy city attorney for the City of Oakland focused on land use, urban redevelopment and municipal governance, where she pioneered a partnership between Kiva Zip and the City of Oakland to crowdfund local economic development. From 2010 through 2013, Kiran served on the board of Asian Law Caucus, the nation’s first legal and civil rights organization serving low-income Asian Pacific American communities. Kiran also served as the founding attorney for Kiva, a nonprofit microfinance platform with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiran has an A.B. in economics and minor in environmental science from Barnard College, a Master’s Degree in international affairs from Columbia University, and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University.

Brian Strong is the Chief Resilience Officer for San Francisco. In this role, he is responsible for San Francisco’s Resilient SF strategy, 10-year Capital Plan, and annual Capital Budget. He created the City’s first multi-year capital plan in 2006 and has been instrumental in the development and passage of $3.5 billion in G.O. bonds to improve San Francisco's infrastructure. Brian has implemented a number of innovative resilience programs to protect San Francisco’s infrastructure including the creation of a Capital Planning Fund to support early project development, the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response bond program; Sea Level Rise Guidelines; and building-by-building HAZUS seismic assessments. Under Brian’s leadership, the Capital Planning Program received the 2011 Good Government Team Award from the Mayor’s Fiscal Advisory Committee and the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. He also serves as President of the Board for the San Francisco Community Investment Fund that distributes new market tax credits to promote economic development in disadvantaged communities.

James W. Head is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the East Bay Community Foundation. Before coming to the Foundation in 2014, he served for 10 years as Vice President for Programs at The San Francisco Foundation, where he spearheaded initiatives on race, equity, poverty, housing, economic development, and youth development. He has more than 30 years of experience in philanthropy, nonprofit management and technical assistance; community and economic development; and public interest law. Prior to joining The San Francisco Foundation, he was president of the National Economic Development and Law Center for 18 years. Additionally, he served as legal counsel of the California Community Economic Development Association and has been a member of foundation advisory boards, including the Open Society Foundation of New York and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation of Michigan. He has served on the Oakland Port Commission since 2009. He holds a juris doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law. He is an adjunct professor at University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law, University of California at San Francisco’s Hastings School of Law, and University of Santa Clara’s School of Law.



PLEASE NOTE: NCG's office at 160 Spear Street can currently only be accessed through the entrance on the Main Street side of the building. The Spear Street entrance is temporarily closed for construction.


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