Skip to content

Kresge Foundation initiative to fund more innovative neighborhood projects across Detroit


To continue the revitalization of Detroit’s neighborhoods, Kresge’s Detroit Program is seeking a second round of applications for a three-year, $5 million initiative to fund Detroit-based nonprofits in transformative projects across the city.

As in its first year, Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit grants totaling $1.5 million will be made citywide on a competitive basis. Implementation grants of between $50,000 and $150,000 will be awarded to shovel-ready projects that can begin in early 2016 and be completed within 12-18 months of the grant award.

Planning grants of up to $25,000 will also be awarded to organizations with promising ideas.

This second round of grants will emphasize planning grants to ensure a strong pool of implementation-grant applications in the third year of the initiative. Kresge will seek to award at least one planning grant in each of the seven Detroit City Council districts; it is anticipated that 15-20 planning grants will be awarded.


Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit was launched in fall 2014, and the first round of grants – 11 implementation grants and seven planning grants chosen from a pool of more than 100 proposals – was announced in April. The intention, as stated by Kresge President and CEO Rip Rapson, was to “light up the map with the reality of positive change.”

A number of those changes can be seen already. Projects completed or near completion, include the installation of exercise pocket parks in central Detroit, park development and sculpture installation in North Corktown-Briggs, and the renovation of a vacant building to allow the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program to mentor more young people. Ongoing projects, such as a neighborhood clean-up stabilization effort in the Osborn neighborhood involving thousands of volunteers, have already had dramatic impacts.

“The first round of this grant program proved that Detroit is filled with neighborhood leaders who have the commitment and imagination to plan and execute projects that will have a profound impact on the quality of life,” said Laura Trudeau, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program. “We are excited to see the next round proposals. It’s an honor to be able to amplify the energy and enthusiasm of neighborhood-based organizations through Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit.”

Kresge works to expand opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities. Its Detroit Program uses a comprehensive strategy to promote long-term economic opportunity in the foundation’s hometown. That strategy encompasses efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and the Woodward Corridor along with support for arts and culture, regional transit, early childhood development and the enhancement of civic capacity.

Kresge’s Detroit Program aligns with the Detroit Future City Framework Plan, a long-range development document informed by a multiyear research and community engagement effort, which was funded by the foundation.

Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit applications will be evaluated, in part, by how they advance neighborhood priorities in alignment the Detroit Future City Framework Plan. Projects must be led by a Detroit-based nonprofit organization and take place within the city of Detroit.

Applicants will be asked to pay particular attention to portions of the Detroit Future City framework, including:

To be competitive, a project must also demonstrate:

  • A transformative impact on its Detroit neighborhood
  • Broadly engage the neighborhood and advance neighborhood priorities using inclusive, collaborative processes for design, development and implementation
  • Extend benefits to a broad set of stakeholders and community residents

Applications for the second round of Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit are being accepted now and must be submitted by Nov. 24. Grants will be awarded in March 2016.

Applications for a third round of Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit will be accepted in fall 2016.

Although the initiative is slated for a final round of applications next year, Trudeau said that Kresge’s commitment to project grants to neighborhood-based groups will continue.

“What we learn through this initiative will guide what comes next,” said Trudeau. “Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit is a stepping stone, not the end of this work.”