Climate Strong Islands Initiative (CSII)

While island life may conjure images of sunny skies and turquoise waters, an island’s location makes it vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters. When events — such as hurricanes or flooding — occur, it takes a long-term commitment to the region to rebuild thriving communities filled with opportunity.

Thousands of residents in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), and the Florida Keys were impacted by the devastating 2017 hurricane season. From loss of life, to loss of home and income, residents in these communities will be overcoming obstacles and rebuilding their lives and their neighborhoods for years to come.  

Enterprise, along with our partners, is committed to the long-term recovery of the region and together launched the Climate Strong Islands Initiative (CSII).

Building on our commitment to thriving island communities, the Puerto Rico Nonprofit Leadership Development Initiative seeks to build the capacity of Puerto Rico’s nonprofit community through a deep-dive engagement that offers staffing resource, coaching, training and peer-to-peer learning.

About Climate Strong Islands Initiative

Enterprise is committed to making the long-term recovery of Puerto Rico, USVI, and the Florida Keys equitable and resilient.  

Funded by The New York Community Trust, the Hurricane Relief Fund, U.S. Caribbean Strong Relief Fund at The Miami Foundation, Unidos por Puerto Rico, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, CSII ties the recovery effort to existing and immediate infrastructure needs and meeting the capacity needs of the communities, all while improving opportunities for low-income families to thrive and sustain future weather impacts.

CSII is also designed to help with long-term recovery and to anticipate future climate impacts based on the feedback of our partners in Puerto Rico and USVI. CSII will create a technical and capacity-building network that enables local leaders to design and construct stronger housing and infrastructure; gain the capacity to assess and map disaster-related needs; and advocate for the needs of their communities. CSII will also build tools and share resources throughout the island communities of Puerto Rico, USVI and the Florida Keys.

CSII Strategy

The recovery efforts must do more than just deliver services. It also must create an infrastructure of community leaders and organizations committed to equitable and responsive communities, as well as build infrastructure that can safeguard homes and communities from future risk. Local community development organizations are critical to its success, as they are stewards of the recovery process. Having been on the ground for decades, they are integrated into the communities and understand local needs.

CSII Activities and Objectives

CSII will support the social and economic recovery and resilience of Puerto Rico, USVI, and the Florida Keys by building long-term local capacity. CSII’s multifaceted approach to addressing local needs falls into three categories: 

  1. Support stakeholders participating in resilient recovery. CSII will build the capacity of community organizations, municipalities and stakeholders by providing best practices on tools, training, program design and execution, and process/systems improvement. This work will enable local organization and government partners to use public and private recovery dollars strategically and efficiently, contributing to safer and more powerful futures for communities exposed to climate vulnerability. This will include developing a resilient building practices manual, as well as associated trainings, that will improve the technical skills of the local building industry.   
  2. Create a network of practice of community-based organizations. This network will identify and share resources and align and leverage efforts across communities, including those on other islands. It will encourage similar collaboration among community groups and municipal, state and federal agency partners in these island communities.  
  3. Support scalable pilot initiatives. The work will foster resilient recovery through innovative demonstration projects that address island-centric housing product needs and provide capital to test, prove and scale innovative solutions.  

Donate to our Hurricane Recovery Fund, or contact Laurie Schoeman or Erika Ruiz to learn more about the Enterprise Climate Strong Islands Initiative. 


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