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How to Apply

Application Process

The Kresge Foundation awards grants in the following areas: American Cities, Arts & Culture, Detroit, Education, Environment, Health, Human Services and Social Investment Practice. Most often, we proactively invite or solicit applications from individual organizations. Occasionally, program teams will do an open call for proposals within a focus area. For initiatives, we often use a request for proposals process to fund specific efforts in a cohort model. Whenever available, we share grant opportunities on the Current Funding Opportunities page.

To Apply

Before considering applying to Kresge, we recommend first visiting the relevant pages in the Our Work section to explore our current strategies. Also read the following information about eligibility carefully. And check our Current Opportunities page to see what funding opportunities are open. In certain situations, when project proposals offer opportunities to advance the goals of multiple teams, those teams will jointly fund the request for support.

Our Process:

Most applications can begin with a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) that details the work and organization making the request. If using Fluxx, you will receive a request ID number via email.


Once reviewed, a program officer will work with your organization to refine the request to move it forward to the full proposal process, or communicate back that the LOI is not advancing and why.


Next, you will complete a full proposal in Fluxx. This will require a narrative explanation of the work as well as documentation about your annual budget, project budget, demographic data and audited financial statements.


You will receive an email confirmation when your proposal is submitted. In many instances, a program officer will contact you to discuss your proposed project.


In the review period, our program team will discuss the opportunity and its alignment with our strategies. We aim to make decisions on all invited applications within 10 to 12 weeks. You will hear from your program officer if that timetable will be longer than expected, with updates along the way.


Once approved, you will receive communications from your program officer and will sign a formal grant agreement.

Getting Started

The Kresge Foundation uses the Fluxx platform to manage our grantmaking process.

First-time Fluxx visitors will first need to create an account. Fluxx is configured to work optimally in Google Chrome browser, so first install it for use as your browser.

Instructions for creating an account and for installing the Google Chrome browser are available in “Fluxx Portal Instructions and Helpful Tips” in the resources section above.

Who Is Ineligible?

Organizations that fail to comply with all applicable Federal and State Statutes and local laws relating to nondiscrimination. Organizations that fail to take affirmative action to ensure that employees are treated during employment and applicants are considered for employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, ancestry, age, physical or mental handicap unrelated to ability, marital status, or unfavorable discharge from military service. See Non-Discrimination Statement and Screening Policy.

Any organization which uses any of the categories outlined in the non-discrimination provision found in the Form Grant Agreement in staffing or hiring decisions or in who receives services, will not be eligible for Foundation grant opportunities.

Organizations that require membership in a certain religion or advance a particular religious faith. (Faith-based organizations may be eligible for funding if they welcome and serve all members of the community regardless of religious belief.)

Programs operated to benefit for-profit organizations.

Program Application Details

American Cities

At this time, the American Cities Program is not accepting unsolicited proposals. We invite applications for specific efforts. When we have open calls for proposals, you can find them on the Current Funding Opportunities page.

As we evaluate proposals, we look for efforts that:
  • Will result in expanded opportunity for city residents, with a particular emphasis on the city’s low-income residents.
  • Engage the community in a real and meaningful way.
  • Have potential for long-term sustainability or community impact.
  • Have potential for scalability or translation to other neighborhoods, communities or cities.
We generally do not fund:
  • Single-site initiatives outside of Memphis and New Orleans.
  • Research, convening or knowledge exchange that is not focused on places, or for urban practitioners.

Arts & Culture

At this time, the Arts & Culture Program is not accepting unsolicited proposals. We invite applications for specific efforts. When we have open calls for proposals, you can find them on the Current Funding Opportunities page.

As we evaluate proposals, we look for efforts that:
  • Position arts, culture and community-engaged design as central elements of community development and planning.
  • Adopt an explicit equity lens that seeks to dismantle structural inequities.
  • Empower residents with low incomes to advocate for and lead change in their community.
  • Take an asset-based approach when working in historically marginalized communities.
  • Promote models of distributed leadership and wealth.
  • Reinforce collaborations and equal partnerships across multiple sectors.
  • Advance just practices and principles in the Creative Placemaking field.
  • Create career pathways and learning opportunities for next-generation Creative Placemaking leaders of color.
We do not fund:
  • Capital and facility projects.
  • Scholarships, pre-K-12, and university campus projects.
  • Arts education, access, and outreach activities.
  • Festivals and public art projects.
  • Playgrounds, parks, and community gardens
  • Activities that do not expand opportunities for people with low incomes in America’s cities.

Creative Placemaking initiatives that fall outside Kresge’s criteria may be eligible for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Detroit

At this time, the Detroit Program is not accepting unsolicited proposals. We invite applications for specific efforts. When we have open calls for proposals, you can find them on the Current Funding Opportunities page.

As we evaluate proposals, we look for efforts that:
  • Engage neighborhood residents and meaningfully reflect the community in organizational leadership and implementation of project activities.
  • Align with one or more of the Detroit Program Focus Areas.
  • Show an understanding of and address the ways in which racial inequities have impacted the city.
  • Work toward a broad, equitable and sustainable revitalization in the city’s neighborhoods.
  • Complement and/or connect to networks of collaborators engaged in similar work, or who are working in the same geographic area.
We do not fund:
  • Projects or programs located outside of the city of Detroit unless the effort provides a compelling circumstance that is mutually beneficial to the city’s progress.
  • Startup enterprises, whether nonprofit or for profit.
  • K-12 scholarships for individuals or families.
  • Capital campaigns.

Education

At this time, the Education Program is not accepting unsolicited proposals. We invite applications for specific efforts. When we have open calls for proposals, you can find them on the Current Funding Opportunities page.

As we evaluate proposals, we look for efforts that:
  • Support research, policy advocacy, evaluation, technology, partnerships and direct services.
  • Support technological or practice enhancements that decrease costs for and improve effectiveness of institutions seeking to improve student success.
  • Include networks of institutions (not individual colleges).
  • Represent the potential for broad scalability or replicability to lead to systemic changes or long-term sustainability.
  • Offer opportunities to work in our foundation focus cities of Detroit, Memphis or New Orleans, or cities within our Education Program focus states of California, Florida, Michigan and Texas.
  • Support work in other large cities or statewide initiatives.
  • Support work in South Africa, the only country where our foundation makes grants outside of the U.S.
We do not fund:
  • Capital projects.
  • Early childhood or K-12 programs.
  • Programs at individual colleges or universities.
  • Projects at organizations with budgets of less than $1 million a year.
  • Projects outside the U.S. or South Africa.
  • Scholarships.

Environment

At this time, the Environment Program is not accepting unsolicited proposals. We invite applications for specific efforts. When we have open calls for proposals, you can find them on the Current Funding Opportunities page.

As we evaluate proposals, we look for efforts that:
  • Enable people and institutions to work together to address the climate crisis, with an eye toward innovation, problem-solving and informed risk-taking.
  • Explicitly address racial equity.
  • Focus on outcomes.
  • Have a tangible impact on policy and practice.
  • Work across sectors and disciplines.
  • Promote integrated, system-based initiatives.
  • Engage and promote the leadership of historically underserved people and communities.
  • Closely align with our strategies and have strong potential to bring about positive change.
  • Are based and serve populations in the U.S.
We do not fund:
  • Environmental education programs or the development of curricula.
  • The construction or renovation of facilities or individual renewable-energy installations.
  • The acquisition of land, other property or conservation easements for land-conservation purposes.
  • The design and planning of environmentally responsible buildings.
  • Primary scientific research.
  • Research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Projects that are local in scope without clear replication potential.
  • Projects outside the U.S.

The Environment Program engages with nonprofits and others active on climate resilience issues and makes every effort to be aware of ongoing and emerging initiatives.

Health

At this time, the Health Program is not accepting unsolicited proposals. We invite applications for specific efforts. When we have open calls for proposals, you can find them on the Current Funding Opportunities page.

As we evaluate proposals, we look for efforts that:
  • Adopt an explicit equity lens.
  • Represent genuine community priorities.
  • Build community leadership and power.
  • Facilitate cross-sector partnerships and connections to achieve the community’s vision of health.
  • Link practitioners to objective evidence and science.
  • Promote community or population health.
  • Direct resources to upstream solutions.
  • Promote access to opportunities that can improve health.
  • Employ effective communication strategies.
  • Evaluate and disseminate the impact of health initiatives, programs and investments.
We rarely fund:
  • Projects that are primarily focused on direct health or social services.
  • Health education, promotion or counseling programs.
  • Research projects.
  • Organizations with annual budgets of less than $250,000, except when invited or when specified during a formal request-for-proposal process.
  • Construction or renovation of facilities, including the acquisition of medical equipment.
  • Projects whose total cost is less than $100,000, except when invited or when specified during a formal request-for-proposal process.

Human Services

At this time, the Human Services Program is not accepting unsolicited proposals. We invite applications for specific efforts. When we have open calls for proposals, you can find them on the Current Funding Opportunities page.

As we evaluate proposals, we look for efforts that:
  • Focus on advancing and accelerating social and economic mobility.
  • Offer innovative and effective approaches that can provide lessons for the field.
  • Have a clear strategic vision and are able to articulate what works and why.
  • Have shared and adaptive leadership.
  • Recognize that racial equity is essential to social and economic mobility and have an explicit focus on dismantling barriers standing in its way.
  • Are intensely person-centered in their approach and utilize best practices (brain science informed, two-generation, whole-family, trauma-informed approaches, etc.).
  • Are outcome-focused and data-driven.
  • Measure organizational and programmatic efforts against the Human Service Value Curve.
  • Are committed to person-centered, co-created and power-sharing systems that address structural barriers through policy solutions; are positioned to inform and influence communities of practice; and build the public will for supportive public policies.
We do not fund:
  • Capital requests.
  • Individuals.
  • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status.
  • Organizations that require membership in certain religions or advance a particular religious faith. (Faith-based organizations may be eligible if they welcome and serve all members of the community regardless of religious belief.)
  • Programs operated to benefit for-profit organizations.

Social Investment Practice

At this time, the Social Investment Practice is not accepting unsolicited proposals. We invite applications for specific efforts. When we have open calls for proposals, you can find them on the Current Funding Opportunities page.

FAQs

Application Process

What does an application involve?

The application system requires applicants to provide information about their organization and the grant request, answer a set of narrative questions, provide demographic data and submit additional documentation, which may include a preliminary project budget and financial statements. Please note that narrative questions may vary depending on the program and specific funding opportunity.

How much time will it take for me to complete an application?

It will depend on the exact application, whether it is responding to an open request for proposals or an invited application. While we try to streamline the process as much as possible, we recommend allotting yourself up to a full day to complete an application.

Do you accept unsolicited grant proposals?

While many of Kresge’s programs do not accept unsolicited grant proposals, we regularly invite applications for specific efforts or solicit applications from individual organizations. On occasion, a program may announce a national call for applications through a request-for-proposal process. When available, grant opportunities are listed on the Current Funding Opportunities page.

What form should my organization’s annual budget be in?

We will accept an annual budget in any format. We offer a sample budget format for requests for project support.

Fluxx Portal

How do I log into the Fluxx Portal?

Access The Kresge Foundation’s online portal at www.kresge.fluxx.io. Please use Google Chrome as your web browser. If you do not have a login, you may start the registration process by clicking on the “Create an account now” button to register.

How do I create a new account?

To start the registration process, click on the “Create an account now” button in the Fluxx portal. Please note that it can take five to seven days for a registration to be approved for your login info. After you receive that, you can begin your proposal.

How do I navigate the Fluxx Portal?

For useful information and helpful tips on navigating the Fluxx Portal, see our “Fluxx Portal Instructions.” This guide is also available once you enter the portal for easy reference.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you have a question about the application process, please select “Grant Applications and FLUXX inquiries” in the inquiry field on the Contact Us page. We do our best to respond to inquiries within three business days.

Review Process

When will I find out if my grant was approved?

You will receive an email confirmation when your application is submitted, and a second email when your application is assigned a request number. In many instances, a program officer will contact you to discuss your proposed project. In most cases, we will let you know about the status of your application within 10 to 12 weeks.

Reporting

What are the reporting requirements for my grant?

Program officers determine the reporting requirements for their grantees, often in consultation with the organization receiving the funding. These requirements are explained in the section of the grant agreement titled “Reporting.” In most cases, grant reports include a narrative update and financial report, both due at certain intervals during the grant period.

Contacting Kresge

How do I find out more?

Use the contact form on our Contact Us page, and we’ll follow up shortly.

Kresge staff is working remotely, and our offices are closed until further notice.  See our promise to partners during COVID-19.
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