An Education and Outreach Program for Local Governments and Citizens to Create Resilient Communities

“It is the best thing I have seen across the world. And I have observed preparedness practices from the United States to Botswana. And the reason it is, is because it takes people from where they are at the awareness level and raises them to the next level. It empowers them to act now.”
– Kay Goss, Associate FEMA Director for Preparedness in Clinton Administration

Empowerment Institute’s Resilient Community Program empowers households, blocks and buildings to be prepared for energy disruptions, natural disasters and emergencies. It also serves as a delivery platform for integrating the programs of local government, community groups and neighborhood organizations.


This program’s premise is that taking prudent precautions against energy disruptions, terrorism or the possibility of a natural disaster is nothing more than a form of insurance. The program’s title, All Together Now, reflects our belief that by far the best insurance is the group insurance you get from teamwork, because our neighbors’ security is tied to our own.

Should you take reasonable steps to protect yourself and family against unknowns? The choice, it seems to us, is clear. It’s better to have a plan for an emergency that doesn’t happen than to have an emergency but no plan.

The steps that make the most sense in preparing for an emergency are a good idea, anyway. These actions will restore the kind of personal and community resiliency to our lives that we never intended to give up.

It’s virtually impossible to sink modern navy vessels for the very reason that the Titanic sank. Namely, their hulls are a honeycomb of airtight compartments. A large percentage of those compartments can be damaged without sinking the ship. That’s why you see photographs in the newspaper of ships that have been in terrible collisions but keep sailing fine, despite unbelievable gashes in the hull. We learned from the tragedy of the Titanic how to build ships that would be invulnerable to the same type of damage.

You could expect that kind of resiliency from a community made up of buildings and blocks that prepared themselves in advance for emergency situations. If small groups of neighbors worked together to form similar compartments to support one another in the event of future hazards, they would be unsinkable in proportion to the integrity of those compartments. Meanwhile the quality of life shared by these households would be much higher. They would be relationship-rich neighborhoods. They would be much more secure. When these units are strong, the social fabric is strong. This is the ultimate defense against disasters.

Taking the individual actions recommended by All Together Now will increase your resilience and peace of mind. The teamwork with neighbors will build strength in your building, block or neighborhood. And many neighborhoods working together will build a more resilient City.

The All Together Now household and neighborhood emergency preparedness program will:

1. Help you take actions necessary to be more self-reliant.

2. Show you how to receive and give support in taking action.

3. Build a resilient community.

4. Prime the pump of your own creativity and resourcefulness.

Today’s world requires us to radically rethink our urban expectation of dependency and separation. What the future will bring is uncertain, but what is certain is that being prepared and connected will enable us to face the future with greater confidence and security.



  1. This program will help you take the necessary actions to be more resilient in the face of nearly any emergency, from energy disruptions to natural disasters to acts of terrorism. The preparedness actions can work within any budget. You can invest more if your goal is long-term resiliency, or you can be resourceful and spend very little to prepare.
  2. The program is carried out as part of a building or block-based team of five to eight households. Your team will give you the support and motivation to carry out your actions while building the relationships and trust with neighbors so helpful in a crisis.
  1. The format consists of four meetings conducted at bi-weekly intervals. The meetings last about two hours, with additional time needed between meetings to take your preparedness actions.
  2. The first meeting is devoted to team-building. This is the foundation for all the work that follows. You will prepare for the program and build a team. This workbook contains step-by-step meeting guides for all meetings.
  3. Before each meeting, read one section of the workbook and decide which actions to take. Then, in the Action Plan at the beginning of each section, enter the day and time you plan to do them. If you live with others, discuss your plan with them to get their input and participation. Bring your Action Plan to the meeting along with any requests for support you might have.
  4. At the meeting, you review the actions you have taken and share your action plan for the next section of the workbook. Your team helps you fine tune your plan and provides support and inspiration to carry it out.
  5. Each action in the program has options appropriate for both apartment dwellers and single family homes. Where relevant, along with planning and gathering materials, the actions include practice so you are truly prepared for an emergency.
  6. Recommended actions to achieve minimum emergency preparedness are identified with an asterisk in the workbook Table of Contents and on the Action Plans. Five actions are in Section One, three actions are in Section Two.

That’s it! Have fun getting to know your neighbors and creating more personal resiliency in your life.


Look inside the book

Table of Contents
Energy Disruption Action Plan
Action 1
Action 14
Action 17


Empowerment Institute’s Social Change 2.0 community organizing leadership certification with a focus on implementation of the Resilient Community Program. You will learn how to facilitate an empowerment training, provide empowerment coaching, and use the Social Change 2.0 framework, strategies, and skills to architect a transformational community intervention. You will also receive the Resilient Community Program training scripts, organizing templates, and guidance on how to customize the campaign to the unique needs of your community and project.


Then Senator Hillary Clinton, who secured the financing from the US Department of Justice for implementing the All Together Now Program in New York City, holding the workbook with Empowerment Institute CEO, David Gershon.

Empowerment Institute customizes the All Together Now program to the specific needs of each city by integrating its disaster resiliency and emergency preparedness programs and services into each of the actions and designing new actions as needed. 

To see what a customized program looks like download the New York City customized version.

All Together Now


To learn more about the Social Change 2.0 framework and research underpinning the Resilient Community Program see Social Change 2.0. 


“This All Together Now program allows people to learn how to respond to an emergency, and we want to make sure we have people prepared on every single street corner. That’s why I want everybody to attend the meetings, participate with your neighbors, and then you will be stronger for it and our borough will be safer for it.”
– Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President, New York City