Kresge announces $5M initiative for Detroit projects

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Kresge Foundation refocused its attention Monday on Detroit’s neighborhoods, announcing a new $5 million initiative to boost city-based nonprofits with shovel-ready projects.

The Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit is the three-year program that will provide nonprofits between $50,000 and $150,000 for up to 10 projects that can be completed in 18 months. Smaller planning grants will be awarded to organizations with promising ideas, Kresge officials said.

Rip Rapson, Kresge’s president and chief executive officer, said nonprofits throughout the city are actively working to transform Detroit, neighborhood by neighborhood. Kresge wants to help accelerate that work by helping nonprofits deliver larger projects and more of them.

“We want to expand our pool of nonprofit partners, particularly those working at the grass roots, by recognizing and amplifying that energy and enthusiasm,” Rapson said. “We want to help light up the map of Detroit quickly with the reality of positive change.”

The initiative’s first year will consist of a pilot program funded by up to $1.5 million. Applications for this first round of funding are due Dec. 2. Grant recipients will be announced by March.

Kresge, a $3 billion national foundation headquartered in Troy that has become a high-profile player in the redevelopment of downtown Detroit, has spent millions on neighborhood projects in Detroit.

They include $1.6 million on the Detroit Future City Plan, a framework to guide the city’s revitalization; $1.1 million for the Detroit Land Bank Authority; $1 million for police cars and emergency service vehicles; and $1 million with Excellent Schools Detroit.

In 2013, Kresge paid out $128 million in grants nationally, with $27 million to Detroit.

Kresge is among 10 foundations that banded together to pledge $366 million over 20 years to the “Grand Bargain,” a proposed fund that would pay down the city’s pension obligations and shield the art collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts.