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Leadership and Infrastructure Funding Team (LIFT)


We are dedicated to strengthening our grantees' leadership skills, and the sector overall, through capacity-building with an equity lens.

How We Support Grantees

Support the Field of Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership Development

Provide Equity-Focused Leadership Training Programs and Services

Strengthen Relationships With Associations, Affinity Groups and Infrastructure Organizations

The Kresge Foundation’s Leadership and Infrastructure Funding Team (LIFT) is a 13-person, cross-departmental committee comprising program, practice and operational staff. Our grantmaking is dedicated to supporting the talent and leadership development needs of our grantees and sector-wide capacity-building.

Talent and Leadership Development

One of the many ways Kresge seeks to expand opportunities in America’s cities for people with low incomes is by offering leadership development programs to our grantee partners. Our goal is to enhance the effectiveness of individual leaders and organizations to better solve local problems in cities where they work.

LIFT offers two signature programs to grantees:

  • Fostering Urban Equitable Leadership (FUEL): Kresge launched the FUEL program in 2016 in partnership with Community Wealth Partners with a specific focus on racial equity to address grantees’ talent and leadership development needs. Learn more about the program and its service providers.
  • ProInspire Leadership Institute: ProInspire, a nonprofit dedicated to developing social-sector leaders at all levels, provides leadership development training for a diverse group of rising leaders within Kresge’s partner organizations. Learn more.

Both programs represent Kresge’s commitment to support pivotal organizations working to effect lasting change in U.S. cities.

Sector Infrastructure and Memberships

LIFT makes a limited number of grants each year by invitation to support the field of nonprofit leadership development and to strengthen diversity in the field. The team also also works to strengthens engagement with membership associations such as the Council on Foundations, Council of Michigan Foundations and Independent Sector, as well as philanthropic affinity groups including the Association of Black Foundation Executives, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. We also support key nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure organizations, such as the National Council of Nonprofits, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and the Center for Effective Philanthropy.


We seek potential partners and new funding opportunities through our involvement in meetings and conferences and with partner organizations, institutions and peer foundations. Given the modest size of our budget, proposals are by invitation only. If you would like to contact the team with any funding ideas or questions, please feel free to email [email protected].

Leadership and Infrastructure Funding Team (LIFT) Resources

LIFT Talent Funder Convening Report

In December 2019, the Kresge Foundation’s Leadership and Infrastructure Funding Team (LIFT) hosted a Talent Funder Convening. A total of 21 funders met to share peer learnings in their efforts to…

Leadership and Infrastructure Funding Team

The Kresge Foundation’s Talent and Leadership Development Efforts

This case study from Grantcraft examines key aspects of Kresge’s Fostering Urban Equitable Leadership program (FUEL), including reasons for creating the program, services offered, a recap of the program’s first year…

Leadership and Infrastructure Funding Team