The Jones Center has created guides and other resources from our various programs to provide actionable steps towards resilience and strengthen communities.

Featured resources:

From Recovery to Resilience Report

Facing the Challenge of Increasing Wildland Fires in California

With the support of the Wells Fargo Foundation, the Dr. Lucy Jones Center and the North Valley Community Foundation connected community leaders and recovery collaboratives in the North Central Valley and Southern California with experts in fire ecology, social science, and disaster science. From these workshops, we have compiled the lessons learned and recommendations for the recovery process and building community resilience in the “From Recovery to Resilience” Report. A fundamental step in this process to expedite the rate of recovery is to define shared values with your community even if you disagree on tactics. While every community is unique, actions taken now to prepare to recover from what they will face in the future are essential, especially as disasters are increasing in intensity and frequency.

Recovery requires that community members work together. Four key lessons emerged from our workshops to achieve that collaboration. First, community organizations were key to shortening recovery time when they took on the role of creating collaboratives, building social capital, and organizing community members after a disaster. Second, the ability to recover depended on the resources individuals could access. Third, the disaster recovery process can be, in many ways, traumatizing for survivors. Fourth, the challenges of working with federal programs increased frustration among the survivors. From these four lessons, we conclude: while high social capital motivates community members to return, a too long or too difficult recovery process can keep residents away until they decide never to return. We need to be faster in all phases of the recovery process. As disasters become more common, this speed will be even more essential to keep a community together.

The following are key components for increasing resilience:

Part 1: Actions a community can take before a disaster:

  1. Build community relationships and partnerships. This will lead to the creation of a successful, grassroots recovery collaborative with community members at the center. Collaboration gives community members a voice with influence in decision-making and the clarity of shared interest, mission, and vision for their community.
  2. Build the capacity and competence of regional leaders. To build resilience and expedite recovery, community organizations can identify the existing, trusted leaders in communities and provide them with the resources and expertise necessary to support their community recovery efforts.
  3. Plan for recovery. The recovery process will be easier if community leaders ask some key questions of themselves and their community immediately after the disaster, if not before:
    1. Recovery to what?
      1. What do you want your community to look like? Do you have a vision for your ideal community?
      2. What are gaps or challenges that exist in your community that could be improved during the recovery process?
    2. Recovery for whom?
      1. Who in your community is most at risk? How can they be assisted?
      2. Who should be included in the recovery conversation for the future of your community?
      3. Who are the people you need to have return after the disaster? How can that be prioritized or expedited?
  4. Ensure the return of small businesses. Business districts help define local communities and therefore are a nuclei for resilience planning and recovery. With a vibrant, resilient business sector, a community is able to return faster, to define itself, and to be a place residents can rally around.

Part 2: The first three steps a community can take immediately after a disaster to shorten recovery time:

  1. Create a collaborative. Bring together community organizations as quickly as possible. Direct the relief money through the collaborative so the community works together rather than competing.
  2. Recognize and begin to address the long-term impacts of trauma. Community members will have been traumatized, and much of the recovery process forces survivors to relive their trauma. Provide a mechanism to process this trauma; without this, survivors will not be able to focus on what needs to be done to bring back their community.
  3. Document the process. Provide a mechanism for survivors to share their stories that can be collected. This helps survivors to process their trauma, as well as provides a foundation for future planning and policies that might be lost weeks or months after a disaster and continue this process throughout what will likely be a long-term recovery effort.

Access the Report here: From Recovery to Resilience Report


Small Business Recovery to Resilience Guide

A Resource for California Communities to Support Small Business Resilience

The Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, in partnership with the North Valley Community Foundation and Wells Fargo, has worked with leaders and stakeholders across California to identify gaps and solutions for local communities to support increasing community resilience in the face of the increasing threat of wildfires. With the participation and feedback of social scientists, physical scientists, key business leaders, local city leaders, and nonprofit and philanthropy partners, the Small Business Resilience Guide provides science-informed tools to support small business communities move from “recovery to resilience” in preparation for the next fire season.

The Guide lays out four key areas of work:

  1. Collecting and using data and science to craft plans;
  2. Developing and deploying a “small business communication and education plan”
  3. Adopting pre-disaster policies in support of small business resilience; and
  4. Building the right relationships and increasing social capital with the local small businesses

These sections contain more than 50 tactics and approaches to increase the resiliency of communities– in this report, resilience describes the capacity or ability to anticipate and cope with shocks, and to recover from their impacts in a timely and efficient manner. Each community is unique, and not every tactic may be applicable depending on the different levels of community risk. Fundamentally, this work is about building interpersonal connections before the disaster in order to leverage the relationships in a time of shock or stress.

This Guide was created to be used by those in community leadership positions to support the building of resilience of their small businesses in California. From local elected officials and emergency managers to businesses and organizational leaders, those that care about the future of their community must act to support the resilience of their small business sector. Without a vibrant, resilient business sector, a community is more challenged in coming back, in defining itself, in being a place residents can rally around. Business districts help define local communities, and therefore are a nuclei for resilience planning and recovery. Small businesses don’t have the capacity on their own to prepare for disasters ahead of time, and with the increasing intensity and frequency of wildfires and other disasters, it takes all different sectors of our communities working together to get us through it.

While this Guide focuses on wildfire risks in California, the applied tactics and the connections developed will help communities build resilience to any disaster they might face. The improved communication and stronger ties between community organizations and businesses will yield benefits in times without disasters, as well. Just as planning for disasters is an ongoing process and commitment, The Jones Center will be updating this Guide annually as additional resources for small businesses and new recommendations for preparing for the increased intensity and frequency of hazards due to climate change are published.

Access the guide here: Small Business Recovery to Resilience Guide 2023


The Climate Connections Program

A Disaster Resilience Plan for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

In partnership with the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese and support from Edison International, the Dr. Jones Center created the Climate Connections Program to empower parishes in the Los Angeles Episcopal Dioceses to be more successful in helping their communities during a disaster. This faith-based resilience program is based on the Center’s Connected Communities Resilience Program, which was implemented in Huntington Park, Culver City, and San Fernando.

This program aims to develop individual resilient parishes as well as a plan for individual parishes to provide mutual aid in both local and regional disasters. The program begins with a few month project to understand your risk, evaluate your capabilities and develop a response plan. Once the plan is in place, you will develop an approach to keep it current and regularly practice the strategies.

When facing a disaster, we are all in it together. This program emphasizes the importance of the connections and coordination that creates the ability to act as a community rather than as independent individuals. A resilient parish will be aware of the risks they face, and are prepared to protect the parish and help their parishioners when a disaster strikes their community. A resilient Diocese will work together, at all levels, to improve its ability to handle any disaster, thereby reducing impacts and losses, and shortening the recovery time of their communities.

The skills that are learned and the connections developed will help the Diocese through any disaster. While some resilience measures may focus on one type of disaster, the Diocesan resilience plan will be invaluable no matter the type or scale of disaster you eventually experience. And the improved communication and stronger ties between parishes will yield benefits even if disaster does not strike.

Access the program here: The Climate Connections Program