We aspire to change the city of Detroit’s trajectory to one of long-term economic opportunity that advances social equity, promotes cultural expression, and re-establishes our hometown as the center of a vibrant region.

Program Overview

We are a national foundation with deep roots in Detroit. Since our founding in 1924, we have provided continuous philanthropic support to the area’s nonprofit organizations and community initiatives. In recent years we have taken a proactive approach, engaging and collaborating with others seeking to renew the city that was once a place of opportunity.

The Detroit metro region is home to 4 million people. Decades of economic disinvestment have undermined the tax base and destabilized public finances. However, there is a strong sense that Detroit’s challenges are offset by a significant window of opportunity.

Working with other philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, business, government and other partners, we are investing in areas that leverage Detroit’s strong assets and present opportunities for helping Detroit residents imagine and build a vibrant 21st-century version of their city. We believe that if we can make headway against the extreme social and economic challenges here, the lessons will have broader applicability to other communities.

Our lens for viewing our Detroit work is a comprehensive framework we call Re-Imagining Detroit. Its nine components are closely integrated.

Those areas of investment are:

Detroit arts and culture
Education reform  
Entrepreneurial development: Growing small business
Green economy: Sustainable city
Mass transit development: M-1 Rail
Complete neighborhoods
City land use
Anchor institutions: Woodward creative corridor

How We Work

We work with multiple partners. Many become grantees over time as a result of those partnerships.

Because of our long-term commitments and time horizons, we’re seldom able to fund requests for support from individual organizations that are not closely linked to a broader network of collaborators.

In 2011, we provided grants for the Re-Imagining Detroit framework for a total investment of $25.5 million.

Funding Process

Our Detroit team members are deeply engaged in the community and make every effort to be aware of emerging and ongoing initiatives with potential to accomplish the community’s goals.

The Detroit Program periodically offers open grant opportunities to organizations within a certain sector. We recently completed the application period for Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit.

5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 2.

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