Grants & Social Investments

Grants & Social Investments

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Detroit.

Some of our programs accept applications on an ongoing basis. Others proactively invite or solicit applications. Visit the Apply for Funding page to learn about our open grant opportunities.

Funding Methods

We award single and multiyear grants and – through our Social Investment Practice – make program-related investments that provide capital via loans, loan guarantees and other mechanisms. Taken together, our grantmaking and investing methods constitute our funding toolbox.

Our types of funding consist of:

  • Operating support grants
  • Project support grants
  • Program-related investments

In collaboration with our grantees and partners, we seek to use these grantmaking and investing tools to create pathways for vulnerable people to improve their life circumstances and join the economic mainstream.

You can learn more about grants made in each program area through our searchable Grant Highlights and Social Investment Highlights features, our Annual Report or the Foundation Center’s Grants Database.

A Historical Note About the Kresge Challenge

For decades, the challenge grant was our signature funding method. It was an effective way for us to help nonprofit organizations meet their fundraising goals for new facility construction or renovation. The challenge grant was designed to spur charitable giving by donors to our grantees' capital campaigns. 

The evolution of full-time advancement and fundraising specialists coupled with a desire to meet society’s most pressing needs led our Board of Trustees to chart a new direction in 2007. Today, we operate as a strategic philanthropy.

We remain proud of the libraries and academic buildings, the community centers and medical facilities the challenge grants helped build. And we look for opportunities to take the lessons of the challenge grant and apply them in different ways. We periodically award an operating or project support grant and – in consultation with the grantseeker – include a challenge component as an incentive to increase donor contributions for a range of fundraising goals.

Because of our long experience, we make reference material about the challenge grant available for others who might find it useful. It is a resource for others. This funding is not available from Kresge.