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The Rise, Fall, and Possible Rebirth of 100 Resilient Cities

Internal communications shed new light on the Rockefeller Foundation’s decision to stop funding the global climate nonprofit, and hint at what might come next.
A man shines a flashlight on standing water inside the South Ferry 1 subway station in New York, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
A man shines a flashlight on standing water inside the South Ferry 1 subway station in New York, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.Craig Ruttle/AP

In late April, at a town-hall meeting in New York City, Raj Shah, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, addressed the staff of 100 Resilient Cities. The nonprofit, launched by the philanthropy in 2013, has helped cities around the world plan for natural disasters and social shocks, especially the ravages of climate change.

Earlier that month, the foundation had abruptly announced plans to shutter the program. Now Shah was explaining why.