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Thought leadership, technical support, and useful information and resources to support effective and inclusive disaster recovery, resilience, and transformative community development.

Upcoming Programming:

Fridays in August, 2019, 3:00 p.m. ET

Long-Term Recovery Call: Spotlight - Open Microphone. Join us and talk about a long-term disaster recovery topic that’s important to you


September 13, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. - Join the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County County and Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce for a meeting with business leaders and disaster response & recovery professionals, highlighting how the private sector can be prepared for the potential disasters faced in Southern California. Click here to Register today!

November 11-12 - Island Resiliency Forum - begins with a rolling tour and case study in the Florida Keys

November 13-14 - 2019 Blue Skies Summit - Florida International University, Biscayne Bay Campus, FL



Let’s learn from the past and do better in the future.


small business recovery report in southern california

Click on image to download report

Click on image to download report

Inspiring Thomas Fire Recovery Case Study

On January 11, 2019, almost a year to the day after the end of the Thomas Fire, ISD released its first report on lessons learned about small business recovery with the generous support of Wells Fargo. Findings include:

  • The surge of emergency funds, insurance pay-outs, public assistance funding can make a local economy look like it’s doing well, but one time repairs can disguise the weakness of the underlying “normal” economy.

  • Resilience and recovery funds can help small businesses bridge the transition period until regular customer patterns are restored.

Current Projects

we provide

Long-Term Recovery Program - After disasters, ISD specializes in long-term recovery. We have projects and/or are monitoring conditions in the following theaters:

  • Information and access to best practices and lessons learned

  • Needs assessments

  • Technical assistance and capacity building support for small, rural, and disadvantaged communities

  • Technical assistance and capacity building support for small, minority, and disadvantaged businesses and nonprofits

  • Visioning, planning, and goal-setting

  • Community economic development strategy and policy support

  • Resilient community evaluations and recommendations

  • Public-Private Partnership Facilitation

Resilience Ready Network

Every community has weaknesses and vulnerabilities. ISD works with government leaders, nonprofit and business executives, and academics to capture best practices, develop strategies, identify needed investments, and build networks to become Resilience Ready.

Transformation - (aka the Future of Business and Innovation)

We are in the early stages of what is sometimes known as the fourth Industrial Revolution or the Digital Revolution. The future of economic growth is predicated on innovation and creativity, and the future of social progress is predicated on this innovation and creativity being diffused and accessible to as many as people as possible. Businesses spend more money philanthropically on education than any other subject; they spend over $240 billion in R&D, and the entire $200 billion advertising and marketing industry alone depends on creativity. However, while there are many local success stories, the US continues to drop in global innovation, science, and math rankings. ISD's Education, Science, Culture and Business Network is designed to bring together leading experts across these disciplines to develop projects, campaigns, and policy recommendations to secure the future of the U.S. and expand its inclusiveness and accessibility.

Information Sharing and Network Hub for Sustainable Business and Community Leaders

  • Buyers Guide for Recovery, Resilience and Sustainability-Minded Community Leaders

  • Weekly Long-Term Recovery Spotlight Calls

  • Videos, Reports, and Story-Telling Services

  • Workshops

Our Story

The Institute for Sustainable Development is a 501c3 originally founded in the North Carolina Research Triangle in 2003 by a unique partnership of academic, business and philanthropic leaders, which included Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Greater Durham Chambers of Commerce, and the Fenwick Foundation. The Institute has trained more than 200 chamber of commerce executives across the United States, and 160 small businesses and non-profits in twelve U.S. states.

In July 2017, the Institute started a new chapter to focus on more long-term issues affecting disaster recovery, resilience, and the future. ISD continues to build on its legacy of bringing together business, academic, and other thought leaders to promote partnerships, policies, and projects that promote (a) community resilience and disaster recovery, and (b) long-term community transformation based on applied innovation and sustainable development principles.




Think Long-Term.



The Institute for Sustainable Development would like to acknowledge the following companies and organizations for their commitment to solving problems, promoting partnerships, and investing in long-term economic development and social progress:

hawai’i county, hawai’i



California Resiliency Alliance

Fannie Mae



Guardian Insurance

Larry L. Hillblom Foundation

NIMSAT - University of Louisiana - Lafayette

Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association

SnapSpace Solutions


Texas Association of Business

Wells Fargo

and over 300 other companies, organizations, and government agencies that have participated in one or more of ISD's briefings, projects or programs since July of last year.