The ability of a community to withstand and recover from adversities including natural and man-made disasters has emerged as a major policy issue in recent years. This research aims to assess the role of institutional initiatives in building resilient communities and their response to natural disasters like the Gorkha earthquake in Nepal in 2015. The work is based on data collected from primary and secondary sources along with field observations. It is evident that resilient communities are equipped with greater coping capacities in the face of natural disasters and have reduced vulnerability to future hazards. Institutional capacity building and resilient construction including the School Earthquake Safety Program ensured better disaster preparedness. The traditional open spaces and building designs added to the structural resilience. There is, however, a need to build back better and to communicate earthquake-resistant designs to the affected communities. © 2017 by American Association of Geographers.