Kresge Foundation to fund more neighborhood projects

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Shovel-ready, neighborhood projects in Detroit can get a lift with $1.5 million in grants from the Kresge Foundation, which opened a second round of funding on Wednesday for city-based nonprofits.

It’s all part of a $5 million, three-year initiative by the foundation to fund Detroit-based nonprofits in their efforts to strengthen neighborhoods across the city post-bankruptcy.

Foundation officials said implementation grants of $50,000 to $150,000 will be awarded to projects that can begin in early 2016 and be completed within 12-18 months of the grant award. Planning grants of up to $25,000 will also be awarded to organizations with promising ideas.

Laura Trudeau, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program, said the second round of grants will focus on planning grants to ensure a strong pool of implementation-grant applications in the third year of the initiative.

Kresge expects to award at least one planning grant in each of the seven Detroit City Council districts and it’s anticipated that 15 to 20 planning grants will be awarded, she said.

The program, Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit, was launched in 2014. The first round of grants —11 implementation grants and seven planning grants chosen from a pool of more than 100 proposals — was announced in April.

Projects completed or near completion include the installation of exercise pocket parks in central Detroit, park development and sculpture installation in North Corktown-Briggs, and the renovation of a vacant building to allow the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program to mentor more young people.

“The first round of this grant program proved that Detroit is filled with neighborhood leaders who have the commitment and imagination to plan and execute projects that will have a profound impact on the quality of life,” Trudeau said.

Applicants will be asked to pay attention to portions of the Detroit Future City framework, including transformation of vacant land, utilization of public space and open space and stabilization of neighborhood, Kresge officials said.

To be competitive, a project must also demonstrate a transformative impact on its Detroit neighborhood; engage the neighborhood and advance neighborhood priorities using inclusive, collaborative processes for design, development and implementation; and extend benefits to a broad set of stakeholders and community residents.

Applications must be submitted by Nov. 24. Grants will be awarded in March 2016.

Those interested in applying can do so here.