Resilience Prize

Honoring local torchbearers of resilient solutions

Building community resilience is an investment that elevates our capacity to respond to the shocks of a changing world. Doing it right takes an enormous amount of collaboration, knowledge and vision. When successful, these efforts bring social, economic and environmental dividends that accrue to the whole community and last beyond our lifetimes.

To celebrate these accomplishments and inspire continued action, each year we award the Resilience Prize to a deserving local group or organization for their systemic efforts to improve community resilience and build prosperity in Arizona.

Eligibility and selection criteria

Honored organizations have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to building community through data, partnerships and systems change. Selections are inspired by the five elements of community resilience outlined by Dr. Judith Rodin in her book, The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong: 

  • Awareness
  • Diversity
  • Integration
  • Capacity for self-regulation
  • Adaptiveness

Honorees are chosen on the basis of measurable impact towards community resilience, taking into account one or more of these attributes.

2022 Resilience Prize

Friends of the Verde River

Our team was thrilled to award the 2022 Resilience Prize to Friends of the Verde River for leading a diverse group of stakeholders to implement upstream, data-driven solutions to ensure the long term health of one of Arizona’s last free-flowing rivers. Over the last decade, Friends of the Verde River has restored 12,000 acres of riverside habitat, offset more than 32 million gallons of groundwater pumping and engaged hundreds of volunteers and community scientists. But the less tangible shifts they’ve achieved in building capacity, community and connection to the river may prove even more important to improving our water security, economy and wellbeing over the long term.

2021 Resilience Prize

Maricopa County Public Health Department

We were honored to award the 2021 Resilience Prize to the Maricopa County Public Health Department Office of Epidemiology and Data Services for their longstanding commitment to building community resilience through data and partnerships. By spending years collecting data and building local partnerships, this team has helped protect residents from the effects of extreme heat, building our community's resilience in the face of climbing temperatures.

2020 Recognition of Resilience

Adaptation: United Dairymen of Arizona and Arizona Food Bank Network

In 2020, 15% of Phoenix families reported food insecurity, and food banks saw a 28% increase in usage. Local dairy farmers adapted their entire production to distribute millions of pounds of milk to families in need. 

Equity: RAIL CDC

With a focus on the Mesa and Tempe corridor, RAIL CDC went door-to-door to check in with local business owners. They helped minority-owned businesses survive by teaching them to apply for grants and educating them on city resources.

Social Cohesion: Wildfire 

During a global pandemic, Arizona families had to choose between paying their rent, keeping the lights on or buying groceries. To make applying for aid easier, Wildfire collaborated with local agencies to develop a digital tool that cut down application times to approximately 32 minutes. 

2019 Resilience Prize

Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt

The City of Scottsdale's Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt was selected as the inaugural recipient. An 11-mile oasis located in the heart of Scottsdale, the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt serves as more than just a beautiful recreation area for residents. When Arizona gets heavy rains, the greenbelt acts as an efficient flood-control system as well. 

This special place exemplifies the potential for resilient responses with far-reaching dividends and plays a critical role in building a more resilient community in Scottsdale, Arizona.