Kresge, Erb announce $9.1M in grants to arts groups

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer

The Kresge Foundation announced $5.1 million in operating-support grants to 66 arts and cultural organization in the tri-county region.

Over half the three-year grants are going to organizations in the city of Detroit.

Recipients represent a broad cross-section of local arts organizations, from the very large, like the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, to small — including the Detroit Children’s Choir, the Jewish Ensemble Theatre and Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.

Kresge has granted more than $24 million for operating support since 2007.

The Erb Family Foundation, which collaborates with Kresge, also announced $4 million of its own operating grants to 43 organizations, all but two of which are in Detroit.

Detroit’s arty Scarab Club, founded in 1907, won grants from both foundations — $21,000 from Kresge and $30,000 from Erb.

“We so appreciate the support and try to be really prudent about how the money’s used,” says Scarab gallery director Treena Flannery Ericson.

“Operating grants fund the non-glamorous stuff,” she adds, “basic things like salaries and the nuts-and-bolts that make everything possible.”

Traditionally, foundations limited grants to capital improvements and specific programs, but rarely gave for day-to-day expenses.

That all changed, at least in the Detroit area, following the 2008 collapse, when corporate support for the arts shrank dramatically, and foundations like Kresge and Erb stepped in to fill the void.


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Twitter: @mhodgesartguy