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Geos Institute helps communities build resilience in the face of climate change

About the Geos Institute

Our Mission

Geos Institute helps communities build resilience in the face of climate change using science and local knowledge. Our holistic approach prioritizes the needs of ecosystems and those on the frontlines of climate change impacts.

Our Vision

We envision a world with climate resilient communities, flourishing ecosystems, and equitable societies. Humanity has avoided the most catastrophic, long-term climate impacts. People are deeply connected to the natural world, appreciate its value, and make evidence-based decisions to maintain its integrity. Decision-makers consistently center the voices of frontline communities in building Whole Community Resilience. Communities can easily access the support they need for building resilience, regardless of location, size, or wealth.

Our Approach

In all our initiatives we focus on ensuring that all communities can build climate resilience in ways that prioritize the needs of ecosystems and those on the frontlines of climate change.

We focus our work on building the systems needed to ensure help is accessible to all communities and supporting communities through the climate resilience planning process. We do this through four initiatives:

  • Climate Ready America is our primary focus. This initiative aims to build the system for national climate support services. By coordinating information, curating resources, and providing technical support, communities will get the help they need when they need it. 
  • Climate Ready Communities is a step-by-step program designed to support local governments in developing a climate resilience plan without hiring a consultant. 
  • ClimateWise works directly with local governments to develop climate resilience plans using our Whole Community Resilience framework.
  • The Drinking Water Providers Partnership supports watershed restoration activities that benefit both native fish and community drinking water sources in Washington and Oregon.

Who We Are

The Geos Institute is a passionate team of climate resilience practitioners dedicated to making it easier for all communities to build climate resilience. We are climate resilience experts with over 15 years’ experience helping local leaders prepare for climate impacts. By developing holistic solutions in partnership with other allied organizations, we create opportunities for large scale innovation in the effort to help communities build climate resilience.

Our Values

  • Holistic Approach: Effective solutions work across multiple sectors of a community and natural ecosystems.
  • Science-Based:​ Rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific information is the basis for effective climate change solutions.
  • Nature Matters:​ Natural systems and wildlife have intrinsic value and provide important services to people.
  • Frontline First:​ A community’s highest priority actions to build climate resilience should prioritize the needs of those who bear a disproportionate burden of climate change impacts.
  • Local Knowledge:​ Effective solutions come from engaging diverse stakeholders who have a deep understanding of their community.
  • Innovation: Innovative thinking, idea sharing, and calculated risk-taking are key to long-term success.​
  • Results Driven: Progress is measured by the real-world change that results from our work.
  • Accountability: Transparent decision-making, honest communication, and holding ourselves and others accountable are critical to effective action.

Our Supporters

We are grateful to the following organizations that support our work and believe in our mission.

Walmart Foundation

Clif Family Foundation

Climate Resilience Fund


One Percent for the Planet

Lightship Prize for Climate Action

U.S. Forest Service

Annual Reports

You can also find our most recent Form 990 here.

Our Accomplishments

Since 2008, we have worked with local leaders in Oregon, California, Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, Hawaii, and Alberta, Canada to help them understand the impacts of climate change, determine what they mean for their communities, and create effective strategies to lessen those impacts.

Our team has attended and presented at all National Adaptation Forums held since the inaugural forum in 2013. We have presented to a variety of organizations, such as the American Planning Association, National Association of Counties, Resilient Virginia, National Association of Development Organizations, Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, National Forum for Black Public Administrators, Alaska Tribal Conference on Environmental Management, International City/County Managers Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, California Adaptation Forum, Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, Sustainable Cities Conference, League of Oregon Cities, Alaska Forum on the Environment, Association of Washington Cities, League of Oregon Cities, US Climate Alliance, American Association of State Climatologists, and more.

You can also learn more about our past initiatives.

Below are some of our accomplishments over the years:



  • Identified five pilot states for our Climate Ready America initiative
  • Began providing technical support to a cohort of 8 communities in Indiana that are building climate resilience plans using our Climate Ready Communities program in partnership with the Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University
  • Co-led a workshop with NOAA’s Climate Program Office for federal agencies working to build climate resilience
  • Accepted into the first practitioner training cohort for NOAA’s Steps to Resilience training program
  • Presented at the National Adaptation Forum in Baltimore, MD


  • Led the nationwide effort to develop an integrated system of climate services – Climate Ready America
  • Co-led development of a climate resilience strategies database
  • Completed a landscape analysis of climate services for local governments across all fifty states


  • Co-led with the American Society of Adaptation Professionals the process to develop guidance from the adaptation field in response to Request for Information released by the House of Representative’s Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
  • Launched Climate Ready Communities – an “assisted do-it-yourself” climate resilience planning program for small to mid-sized and under-resourced communities.
  • Invited participant in the Resilience Ecosystem Workshop sponsored by NOAA and the Climate Resilience Fund


  • Authored the Practical Guide to Building Climate Resilience
  • Reviewed the manuscript of “A Civil Society Consortium for Conducting Applied Climate Assessments: Collaborations and Knowledge for Confronting Climate Risk – Report of an Independent Advisory Committee on Applied Climate Assessment” for publication in Weather, Climate and Society – the American Meteorological Society
  • Participated in a two-year Delphi study conducted by Virginia Tech and EcoAdapt to determine consensus around appropriate outcomes and best practices for multi‐stakeholder, place‐based climate adaptation workshops in the United States.


  • Invited participant in the Resilience Ecosystem Workshop sponsored by NOAA and the Climate Resilience Fund
  • A Roundtable with Mississippi River Mayors and the Insurance Industry – with UN Environment North America and the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative we coordinated the roundtable to bring together mayors from the full length of the Mississippi River Corridor and global leaders from the insurance and re-insurance industries, to discuss reducing vulnerability to natural disasters along the waterway, and building resilience for the future.
  • Served as a special advisor to the American Society of Adaptation Professionals’ Living Guide to the Principles of Climate Change Adaptation


  • With the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative we successfully advocated for FEMA to modify its Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program rules to allow proposals by states for projects to address resilience over large landscapes that cross state boundaries.
  • Participated in the Sustained Assessment: Co-Design and Strategy Meeting hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists Office


  • Began and co-led a three-year effort with thought leaders in the climate adaptation field to develop a national Climate Adaptation Service Bureau, elements of which are now found in the Climate Ready Communities program
  • Served on the Project Advisory Committee for the Kresge Foundation’s Assessment: Climate Adaptation: The State of Practice in U.S. Communities 
  • Led the process to develop guidance on climate adaptation for the incoming Trump Administration through the American Society of Adaptation Professionals


  • Developed our Whole Community Adaptation Planning Framework (See Koopman, M. E. and T. Graham. 2015. “Whole Community Adaptation to Climate Change.” Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Elsevier.)


  • Invited participant of the Climate Adaptation Service Providers and Practitioners Workshop aimed at developing a shared understanding of the resources available for climate adaptation practitioners.


  • Co-sponsored the first national gathering of climate adaptation practitioners with the Kresge Foundation. The Practitioners Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation: Integrated Strategies for Human and Natural Communities was the pre-cursor to the National Adaptation Forum, which began in 2013.


  • Became a national pioneer in translating raw climate modeling data into GIS software to make it usable for local decisionmakers.