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Kresge, Erb and Hudson-Webber Foundations commit more than $12M to 78 arts organizations


Seventy-eight arts and cultural organizations in the Detroit metropolitan area will share a more than $12 million investment in their general operations over the next three years.

This multi-year funding initiative, known as Detroit Arts Support (DAS), is a collaboration between The Kresge Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, and Hudson-Webber Foundation. The program aims to strengthen the sector broadly through consistent support for a diverse set of organizations.

Among grantees is the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, home of Charles McGee’s sculpture “United We Stand.” (Kresge photo)

Grant recipients range from small to large organizations spread throughout the region, including Detroit Opera, Huron Valley Council for the Arts, and Sphinx Organization.

The three participating foundations shared a single application and review process before making independent decisions. This partnership streamlined the application process for nonprofit arts organizations while offering shared learning opportunities and improving systems for data collection and analysis necessary for the participating foundations to make funding decisions.

“Metro Detroit’s array of arts and cultural organizations is one of our greatest strengths, one of the keys to our resilience,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program. “We seek to support them for their unique roles in anchoring us to tradition and opening windows on our future possibilities.”

The funding process also included focus groups that informed and excited participating arts advocates, community leaders, and artists about the breadth of creativity in the region’s cultural sector. The focus groups provided DAS applicants with feedback about perceptions of their organizations from current and prospective supporters, and they helped DAS funding partners discover arts groups beyond those they have existing relationships with. Taking place over four days, these focus groups represented an important learning component of DAS and emphasized the initiative’s core values of transparency and mutual benefit.

Detroit Arts Support grants provide unrestricted operating support to nonprofits in the performing, visual, and literary arts, as well as to arts service, education, media and broadcasting, and cultural organizations.

“Arts and culture organizations have endured tremendous challenges in recent years, and those experiences highlight the critical importance of consistent, unrestricted funding for the sector,” said Dr. Neil Hawkins, president of the Erb Family Foundation. “We hope these grants will help enable them to continue to innovate and create—and enrich the lives of all people in our region.”

Detroit Sound Conservancy members, from left: Michelle Jahra McKinney, executive director; Jonah Radun-Silverstein, operations director; Larry Williams, president; and Alyson Turner, vice president. Behind them is the Blue Bird Inn, a historic jazz club which the group is bringing back to life. The organization is among those receiving support over the next three years through Detroit Art Support. (Photo by Lon Horwedel for The Kresge Foundation)

General operating support is not tied to a specific initiative, allowing nonprofits to use these grants to support their day-to-day work, and lessen the impact of unexpected costs such as canceled gigs or shifting funding priorities. This type of support for an organization’s core work helps them to sustain and grow their business over an extended period.

“The arts connect us with each other, deepen our understanding of ourselves, have the power to transform communities, and are a critical economic asset for the city and the region,” said Melanca Clark, president and CEO of Hudson-Webber Foundation. “The Foundation’s commitment to the Detroit Arts Support Program is a natural extension of our long-standing mission to support arts and culture organizations that enrich the quality of life of Detroiters.”

Detroit Arts Support also aims to offer additional support to nonprofit arts groups beyond grant funding. This cycle, DAS grantees can have a one-on-one consulting session with TDC, the nonprofit finance firm that analyzed the financial statements of all DAS applicants. Consultants can share insights about each organization’s financial status and planning opportunities and dialogue about sector trends. In late-2023, DAS expects to release a comprehensive report on the initiative, reflecting on the great work of grantees and the impacts of multiyear general operating funding.

The Erb Family Foundation and Hudson-Webber announced their funding recipients in September 2022, with Kresge making its decisions later in the year. Grants from individual foundations generally range from $5,000 to $100,000 per year, based on the organization’s size. Eligibility criteria included 501(c)3 status, having at least one employee, annual revenues of at least $100,000, and a record of presenting programs for at least two years.

Kresge launched the Detroit Arts Support initiative in 2007, and the Erb Family Foundation began partnering with Kresge on the application and review process in 2010. Hudson-Webber joined the collaboration prior to the launch of the 2019–2022 cycle.

CultureSource, a coalition of more than 170 nonprofit arts organizations in Southeast Michigan, served as the administrator for the DAS initiative, coordinating the collaboration of funding partners.

Learn more about Detroit Arts Support.

The organizations receiving funding through Detroit Arts Support are:

826michigan A Host of People
Accent Pontiac ACCESS – Arab American National Museum
Akropolis Reed Quintet All the World’s a Stage
Allied Media Projects Anton Art Center
Arts and Scraps Arts League of Michigan, Inc.(The Carr Center)
Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Inc. Birmingham Community House (Community House Association)
Birmingham YMCA Chamber Music Detroit
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Community Arts Partnerships (College for Creative Studies)
Cranbrook Educational Community Culture Source
Design Core (College for Creative Studies) Detroit Artists Market
Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings Detroit Children’s Choir, Inc.
Detroit Historical Society Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit Jazz Festival Foundation Detroit Metropolitan Youth Symphony (DMYS)
Detroit Opera Detroit Public Theatre
Detroit Puppet Company Detroit Repertory Theatre
Detroit Sound Conservancy Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Detroit Zoological Society DPL (Detroit Public Library) Foundation
DPTV and WRCJ (Detroit Public Television Foundation) Eisenhower Dance Detroit
FAR Therapeutic Arts and Recreation Garage Cultural
Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival Heidelberg Project
Heritage Works Huron Valley Council for the Arts
InsideOut Literary Arts Project Live Coal
Living Arts Macomb Center for the Performing Arts and Lorenzo Cultural Center
Matrix Theatre Company, Inc. Meadow Brook Theatre
Michigan Science Center Michigan State University – Community Music School-Detroit
Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit Motown Historical Museum, Inc.
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
Pewabic Pottery Planet Ant Theatre, Inc.
Plowshares Theatre Company Rackham Symphony Choir
Shakespeare in Detroit Sidewalk Detroit
Signal-Return Sphinx Organization, Inc.
Teen HYPE The Detroit Creativity Project
The Henry Ford The Scarab Club
Troy Historic Village University of Michigan-Dearborn, Stamelos Gallery Center
Wayne State University — Freer House Wayne State University — WDET Radio
Wayne State University Community Arts Wayne State University Department of Theatre and Dance
Wayne State University Press We Are Culture Creators
WEMU Radio (Eastern Michigan University) YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit – Y Arts
Young Nation Zekelman Holocaust Center