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Kresge Foundation Meets Economic Downturn Head On, Awarding a Record $63.6 Million in Grants in Fourth Quarter 2008

General Foundation News

Grants advance foundation’s strategic objectives in 30 states, particularly in the areas of community development, health and the environment.

TROY, MICHIGAN – The state of the economy did not deter the trustees of The Kresge Foundation from awarding $63.6 million in grants at its fourth-quarter board meeting in December, making the quarter, together with the $181 million in grants for 2008 as a whole, the most generous in the foundation’s 85-year history.

“If ever there was a time for Kresge to put its resources on the line to help nonprofit organizations serving the poor and disadvantaged,” says Elaine D. Rosen, chair of the board, “it is now. The magnitude of the economic contraction demands we be both creative and aggressive in our grantmaking.”

The foundation made 125 awards in the fourth quarter to organizations in 30 states, and the District of Columbia plus Canada, Great Britain and South Africa. This complements 2008 grants made in the third quarter, the second quarter and the first quarter, in its six fields of interest – health, environment, community development, arts and culture, education and human services.

A complete list of the fourth quarter grant awards is provided below.

Detroit Program

The foundation made 19 grants to advance the five strategic objectives of Kresge’s community development work in metropolitan Detroit, its home town: strengthening the downtown, revitalizing city neighborhoods, re-tooling the regional economy, supporting arts and culture, and enhancing the environment.

A $4 million grant to the College for Creative Studies is emblematic of the kind of investment the foundation believes will be central to re-invigorating the region’s economic health. The grant will help complete a $145 million renovation and repurposing of the historic Argonaut Building in Detroit to house a new master’s of fine arts program, undergraduate and graduate student housing, and a new charter middle school and high school focused on art and design that will serve the city’s youth.

With the opening of the Argonaut Building, the College for Creative Studies, a fully-accredited, degree-granting institution, expects to create 200 new knowledge-economy jobs and expand its enrollment by 250 students with its new MFA program.

“The College for Creative Studies’ restoration of the Argonaut is an extraordinary example of a project that ripples in multiple ways beyond the immediate needs of the educational institution,” says Rip Rapson, president of the foundation. “It will contribute momentum to the Woodward Corridor’s increasingly dynamic creative economy. It will signal the importance of directing investment to the corridor’s historic physical infrastructure. And it will provide a vital updraft for young people aspiring to enter careers in the design professions. We are tremendously excited at its promise on all fronts.”

Health Program

Kresge’s Health Program is working to improve the environmental conditions that disproportionately contribute to chronic health problems among low-income populations. It also supports efforts to both increase access to health care and improve the quality of care for the poor and disadvantaged.

Lead abatement is one such effort. Building upon a previous grant in September 2008 to the Get the Lead Out Initiative, the board awarded multi-year grants to Alameda County Community Development Agency in Oakland, California ($225,000); the Department of Family and Child Well-Being in Newark, New Jersey ($1.5 million); and the Detroit offices of the Michigan Department of Community Health ($55,000) and the Southeastern Michigan Health Association (two grants totaling $900,000), in support of efforts to decrease and eventually eliminate lead poisoning in children.

To complement the lead abatement work, a multi-year award of $180,000 was made to Greensboro Housing Coalition in Greensboro, North Carolina, in support of its nationally recognized program to improve health by improving overall housing conditions.

“Healthy housing should be a given for families and individuals at all income levels,” Rapson adds. “Greensboro is quite innovative in its approach, using nurses and social workers to identify potential health risks, contractors that employ healthy work practices while making repairs, and evaluation methods to measure the changes in housing and health conditions.”

Environment Program

Climate change is the over-arching priority of the Environment Program. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment, accelerate the adoption of renewable energy technologies, and assist in the development of adaptation strategies.

A $5 million grant to the Energy Foundation of San Francisco expands its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings – the cause of approximately 40 percent of carbon emissions in the United States. The multi-year grant enables the Energy Foundation to advance national and state building codes and appliance standards. It also assists in advancing the twin objectives of increasing utility investments in energy efficiency and spurring the adoption of renewable energy policy, particularly in the Midwest and Southern states.

“The Kresge Foundation has been an early and ardent proponent and funder of environmentally sustainable construction and renovation projects in the nonprofit sector,” explains Rapson. “We understand the built environment. Through the work of the Energy Foundation, we are able to extend our reach and influence to address the fundamental issues necessary to propel a shift to energy efficiency and sustainability within our nation’s building infrastructure.”

Advancing adaptation strategies is the focus of multi-year grants made to the Conservation Biology Institute ($1,020,000) in Corvallis, Oregon, and the Center for Resource Economics-Island Press ($600,000) in Washington, D.C. In collaboration with other partners, the Conservation Biology Institute will create an open-access Web database – the Data Basin Climate Center – that will standardize the format and centralize the climate-change related data submitted and used by researchers, policymakers, practitioners and others interested in the field.

Island Press, the nonprofit publishing house for the Center for Resource Economics, is partnering with EcoAdapt, a nonprofit organization dedicated to climate change adaptation issues, to build a Web-based Climate Adaptation Knowledge Environment that will gather, synthesize and disseminate knowledge and informational tools on adaptation to climate change for practitioners as well as create an online environment for users to share information. The Data Basin Climate Center (mentioned above) will be one of the resources available to users.

Awards also were made to arts and culture organizations, community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and a broad array of human service organizations.

Here is a list of grants approved in the fourth quarter:

(The list includes current and future planned grants.)


Arkansas Repertory Theatre Little Rock $600,000
Economic Opportunity Agency of Washington County Springdale $600,000
St. Bernards Healthcare Jonesboro $500,000


Alameda County Community Development Agency Oakland $225,000
Aquarium of the Pacific Long Beach $75,000
Communities for a Better Environment Huntington Park $750,000
Community Partners Los Angeles $400,000
Downtown Women’s Center Los Angeles $50,000
The Energy Foundation San Francisco $5,000,000
Liberty Hill Foundation Santa Monica $325,000
National Health Services Shafter $100,000
Occidental College Los Angeles $395,000
Reconnecting America Oakland $1,000,000
State Center Community College District Fresno $800,000
Tides Center San Francisco $600,000
Vista Community Clinic Vista $250,000


Crow Canyon Archaeological Center Cortez $50,000
Su Teatro, Inc. Denver $50,000

District of Columbia

American Association of Museums Washington $100,000
Children’s Environmental Health Network Washington $150,000
Island Press – Center for Resource Economics Washington $600,000
Neighborhood Funders Group Washington $45,000
Rails-to-Trails-Conservancy Washington $975,000


Brevard Neighborhood Development Coalition Melbourne $100,000
Glades General Hospital Belle Glade $1,500,000
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Florida Pensacola $500,000


Domestic Violence Action Center Honolulu $325,000


Children’s Home + Aid Chicago $500,000
Hospice of Southern Illinois Belleville $400,000
The Joffrey Ballet Chicago $200,000
Town of Normal Normal $75,000
Puerto Rican Arts Alliance Chicago $300,000


The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Indianapolis $1,500,000
Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne $75,000


Eastern Iowa Community College District Davenport $90,000
Maharishi University Fairfield $50,000


Fort Scott Community College Fort Scott $900,000


The Healing Place Louisville $800,000


Xavier University New Orleans $2,000,000


Center for Urban Families Baltimore $375,000


Second Nature Boston $1,242,000
Shakespeare & Company Lenox $800,000

The Pewabic Society


Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) Dearborn $500,000
Brightmoor Community Center Detroit $100,000
City of Troy Troy $40,000
College for Creative Studies Detroit $4,000,000
Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Detroit $3,500,000
Corporation for Supportive Housing Brighton $100,000
Curious Kids’ Museum St. Joseph $300,000
Detroit 300 Conservancy Detroit $100,000
The Detroit Public Library Detroit $100,000
Don Bosco Hall Detroit $150,000
Greater Detroit Area Health Council Detroit $200,000
Grosse Pointe Artists Association Grosse Pointe Park $10,000
Kalamazoo County Parks and Fairground Kalamazoo $800,000
Local Initiatives Support Corporation – Detroit Detroit $3,000,000
Macomb Community College Warren $100,000
Macomb Symphony Orchestra Clinton Township $15,000
Madonna University Livonia $1,500,000
Matrix Human Services Center Detroit $300,000
Mercy Education Project Detroit $204,000
Michigan Community Action Agency Association Lansing $50,000
Michigan Department of Community Health Lansing $55,000
Michigan Interfaith Trust Fund Detroit $100,000
Motor City Brass Band Southfield $20,000
New Detroit Detroit $25,000
City of Novi Novi $24,000
OmniArts in Education Southfield $36,000
Detroit $75,000
Plymouth Historical Society Plymouth $30,000
The Scarab Club Detroit $30,000
Southeastern Michigan Health Association Detroit $300,000
Southeastern Michigan Health Association Detroit $600,000
Southern Great Lakes Symphony Riverview $15,000
The Sphinx Organization Detroit $50,000
Stagecrafters Royal Oak $40,000
University of Detroit Mercy Detroit $250,000
Wayne County Community College District Detroit $300,000
Wayne State University – Center for Urban Studies Detroit $50,000
Wayne State University – Press Detroit $70,000
Wellspring Detroit $190,000
YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit Detroit $70,000


St. Joseph’s Area Health Services Park Rapids $250,000

New Hampshire

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua Nashua $500,000

New Jersey

Department of Family and Child Well-Being Newark $1,542,000

New York

ACCION USA New York $200,000
Adirondack Community College Queensbury $350,000
American Jewish Committee New York $50,000
Iona College New Rochelle $550,000
Living Cities, National Community Development Initiative New York $1,000,000
Northeast Parent & Child Society Schenectady $125,000

North Carolina

Greensboro Housing Coalition Greensboro $180,000
Mars Hill College Mars Hill $60,000
Peace College Raleigh $350,000
Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina Chapel Hill $300,000


LifeCare Alliance Columbus $400,000
The Rainey Institute Cleveland $500,000
Youngstown State University Youngstown $1,200,000


Conservation Biology Institute Corvallis $1,020,000
Fruit & Flower Child Care Center Portland $60,000
Kids Unlimited of Oregon Medford $600,000
Portland State University Portland $50,000


Erie Art Museum Erie $50,000
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia $1,500,000

South Carolina

Lowcountry Food Bank Charleston $450,000


Meharry Medical College Nashville $100,000
Nashville Opera Association Nashville $350,000


Corpus Christi Metro Ministries Corpus Christi $200,000
Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corp Austin $100,000


Artspace Salt Lake City $80,000
Westminster College Salt Lake City $1,000,000


Center in the Square Roanoke $50,000
GuideStar Williamsburg $750,000
United Negro College Fund Fairfax $60,000


Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County Bellingham $350,000
Catholic Charities of Spokane Spokane $160,000
MultiCare Health System Tacoma $2,000,000


Madison Children’s Museum Madison $750,000
Urban League of Greater Madison Madison $380,000


Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation Powell $900,000


Waterloo Region Green Solutions Kitchener, Ontario $50,000

Great Britain

Whitechapel Art Gallery London $600,000

South Africa

South Africa Institute for Advancement Cape Town $110,000
University of Stellenbosch Stellenbosch $100,000
University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg $1,500,000