Why It Matters

Resilience refers to the ability of a community or system to withstand and recover from a traumatic event or “shocks”. These shocks may reflect natural or human caused disasters, like hurricanes, floods, or the gas explosion in Durham in 2019. They also include economic recessions, and as we have experienced most recently with COVID-19, public health crises. We know that such shocks are inevitable, and we want to help strengthen Triangle communities now so they can weather and bounce back from future events.

There is growing consensus that climate change poses a threat to the environment and the people and assets in communities across the globe. Locally, the Triangle is experiencing an increasing number of climate-related threats including more frequent flooding; increasing temperatures; increasing drought conditions; and population growth which leads to more development and demand for resources.

Access to these resources is not equitable. Thousands of our region’s residents have difficulty meeting basic needs such as housing, food, healthcare, and employment. Without access to opportunities, these individuals and families cannot thrive. The impact of poverty goes far beyond those directly affected; it extends to their neighborhoods, their communities, and the region as a whole.

For nearly a decade, Triangle Community Foundation has invested in area nonprofits that are protecting our environmental and community assets through our Environmental Conservation and Community Development programs. We have also mobilized philanthropic response to support disaster relief and recovery efforts.

The Sustainable Communities Impact Area reflects a natural evolution of our programming in these areas, and takes a holistic approach to supporting strong, resilient communities in the Triangle so that we can move toward our vision of a vibrant Triangle that works together to ensure everyone thrives.

We're Working To

Increase land conservation 

Increase awareness and education around climate and conservation 

Increase wealth in low-income communities


Decrease household displacement


Featured Story: Banding Together for the Trees


“I believe that you just cannot do work on environmental issues at the local level without the community [being] involved,” says Elaine Chiosso, Executive Director of the Haw River Assembly (HRA). Her organization has spent six years advocating for better environmental protections to be required in Chatham Park, a 7000+ acre planned development community that will be partially situated along the Haw River in Chatham County.

Supporting Families Ineligible for Federal Aid During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated and deepened inequities that already existed in our community. Federal and state laws disqualified undocumented residents, agricultural workers, and others in our community from receiving stimulus checks, continued unemployment benefits, and additional resources. In April 2020, Triangle Community Foundation granted $25,000 from our Fund for the Triangle to five local nonprofits focused specifically on direct aid for these families, and our donors rallied, raising an additional $109,000 that was mobilized for this cause.

Related Grant Opportunities