Skip to content

Kresge adopts Equity as its sixth foundation value

General Foundation News

Scientists tell us that there’s no astronomical basis for treating December 31st as the end of one year and January 1st as the beginning of another. And yet, the custom carries an undeniable logic, as we emerge from the depths of our shortest winter days to the possibilities of renewal as we move toward spring. It seems a natural time to reflect on the past and to look ahead to the future.

We at Kresge have chosen to use the past year to excavate our own bedrock values.

During that process, we discovered that the value-set we had adopted earlier in the decade came up wanting; we had missed a value that was implied, but had not been made explicit: Equity.

The Foundation’s North Star is the expansion of opportunity in the nation’s cities, to be achieved through the values of respect, partnership, stewardship and creativity. But without equity, those values are incomplete – insufficiently infused by the imperatives of equality and justice.

Equity to us means that all people – regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, zip code, health and ability status, or any other consideration – have equal, inviolable dignity, value and opportunity to participate justly, fairly, and fully in all dimensions of civic and economic life … to prosper … and reach their full potential.

That begins the statement that I invite all of you to read in full on Kresge’s website. The statement continues to discuss the “pervasive, enduring, corrosive and invidious impediments to racial equity and racial justice” that have shaped this country since its inception. Kresge’s mission can only be achieved “when those impediments have been dismantled and pathways of equitable opportunity substituted in their place.”

And this commitment to equity, by necessity, calls on Kresge to examine our “internal culture and external engagements … to fashion an institutional role that propels, rather than impedes, progress for the communities we aim to serve.”

You will hear more about our commitment to equity in the coming months as a cornerstone to our work when we speak at podiums and join panels. You will read more about this in our publications and on our website. You will see the value of equity centered in our evolving work with you, our grantees and other partners across the country.

In this season of reverence and celebration, we wish you well and look forward to working with you on the common value of equity in a new year and a new decade.

Rip Rapson is the President and CEO of The Kresge Foundation.