Resilient Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities (RISC)

Chicago, IL

Started in 2020, funded by the Great Lakes Protection Fund (GLPF) and founded by the CEO of CIS, the Resilient Infrastructure for Sustainable Communities (RISC) project was created to establish a resilience and finance leadership Cluster of municipal resilience officers and other sustainability leaders across the binational Great Lakes region.

Project Scope

  • A lasting network of public and private sector leaders from across the Great Lakes.
  • Share and establish best practices for policy development, program delivery, financing, and asset management.
  • Identify priority regions with high need and investment readiness.
  • Help execute multiple $10M+ investments that lead to improved water quality and more green neighborhoods across the region.
  • Led two of the largest green stormwater infrastructure investments in the Great Lakes region, totaling $104 Million.

The project’s key goals include helping implement large-scale investments that lead to sustainable stormwater infrastructure and green neighborhoods in Great Lakes communities, thus directly addressing water quality and quantity challenges presented by the changing climate.

The Cluster provides a forum for collaboration and innovation on an inter-regional scale and advances the development of new models for project delivery, investment, financing, and asset management. Aside from networking with each other, RISC Cluster members provide oversight of the project team’s work, meet quarterly in a virtual setting, and meet annually in-person. Members also leverage their networks for the benefit of the project’s goals. Finally, they lead RISC’s longer-term viability and an eventual home after this project is complete.


Thus far, nearly two-dozen communities are represented in RISC including Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, South Bend, Grand Rapids, Southfield, Merrillville, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Ann Arbor, and others.

RISC has led a large number of reports on topics such as State Revolving Funds’ and green stormwater infrastructure investments, climate change opportunities and challenges across the Great Lakes, changing rainfall patterns across the region, etc. These reports can be accessed at RISC is already credited with over $104 million in green stormwater infrastructure investments across two communities.

In 2023, at the end of the first program period, the overall leadership of RISC was transferred to Philadelphia-based Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange, a project of the Global Philanthropy Partnership, that seeks to activate local governments and water agencies in the U.S. and Canada to implement green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) equitably.


Great Lakes Protection Fund
Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange


2023 – Ongoing