Skip to content

Kresge Foundation poised to be the ‘next great social justice philanthropy,’ new Philamplify report finds

General Foundation News

The Kresge Foundation is on the path to becoming the next great social justice funder, according to a new report from Philamplify, an initiative of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) that evaluates the impact of grantmakers in the United States. Philamplify’s newest research report – The Kresge Foundation: Will This Bold Grantmaker Become the Next Great Social Justice Foundation? – offers actionable findings and recommendations to help Kresge meet its core mission of advancing opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities.

To arrive at these findings, Philamplify’s researchers gathered and analyzed feedback from Kresge grantees, peer funders and other stakeholders as well as publicly available information to analyze Kresge’s giving. In conducting this comprehensive assessment, Philamplify concluded that:

“…The Kresge Foundation grapples sincerely with its history and values, and with an admittedly impatient desire to tackle climate change, create resilient cities and close gaps in opportunity faced by low-income individuals and families. The foundation is bold, ambitious and outspoken in ways that disrupt and provoke the philanthropic sector, which is historically more patient and conservative….Few foundations have embraced risk as profoundly and publicly as The Kresge Foundation during the past decade; indeed, the foundation has moved 180 degrees from risk avoidance to risk pursuit.”

“This report is thorough, uncompromising, and productive. And we at Kresge were reassured that Philamplify joined our grantees, partners and peers in lauding our approach to address important urban issues – by embracing risk, by working at the intersection of disciplines, and by deploying a variety of tools,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation. “I would like to extend my appreciation to NCRP for undertaking the Philamplify initiative to maximize the impact of our foundation and our sector as a whole.”

Kresge has studied Philamplify’ s strategic recommendations, and the organization has already demonstrated progress on several key fronts, including:

  • In September, Kresge’s Board of Trustees formalized the foundation’s commitment to invest a total of $350 million – representing 10 percent of the organization’s endowment – in areas that are underserved by capital markets but that possess significant potential for positive social change.
  • The foundation’s recently hired a Director of Learning and Evaluation, who will accelerate research and learning activities already underway, deepen understanding of philanthropic impact and that of grantees, identify best practices to share with stakeholders, and develop new evaluation strategies to guide work going forward.
  • Kresge is currently developing – and has begun implementing – a comprehensive set of responses to the 2014 CEP Grantee Perception Survey that will improve operations and responsiveness to grantees and stakeholders.
  • Kresge is committed to solidifying and strengthening its efforts in Detroit’s neighborhoods through continuing community engagement, heightened neighborhood-scale investments, and expanded efforts to ensure inclusive and comprehensive economic recovery.

Philamplify created a video to accompany their comprehensive report: