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Rapson: Adding one word to our tagline as we begin a celebratory 2024

Centennial, From the President, General Foundation News

As we turn the calendar into 2024, I wish you a happy new year. For Kresge, an organization founded in 1924, turning that page marks not only a new year but also the beginning of a new century.

We intend for our centennial year of 2024 to be a celebration of the history that has brought us to this point and a recommitment and rededication that extends the premises of our work as it has evolved over 100 years.

For several years, we’ve used a tagline you may have heard on National Public Radio to explain our work: Expanding Opportunities in America’s Cities. It’s a shorthand for our complex, multilayered, and expansive engagements with more than 700 nonprofit partners in our hometown of Detroit and nationwide.

As we approached the centennial, however, it seemed the right time to amend that tagline with a single word: equity.

Let's stay in touch Sign up for our newsletters SubscribeIn 2019, we added equity to our organizational values alongside creativity, opportunity, respect, partnership, and stewardship. That decision made explicit what had previously been implied.

Including equity in our tagline explicitly addresses the question of for whom we seek to be in service: Those for whom enduring structural impediments to opportunity and justice have blocked full and robust participation in America’s economic, civic, and democratic systems.

Those who continue to be marginalized by norms, behaviors, and unconscious or unspoken attitudes about diversity and inclusion. Those who have no choice but to work harder and fight longer for a fair share of what our cities promise.

Thus, our new tagline becomes Expanding Equity and Opportunity in America’s Cities.

Over the next year, we’ll look back over 100 years to reflect on Kresge’s impact – on Detroit, on the nation, and on the practices of philanthropy. We’ll also celebrate the foundation’s evolution since its creation through a generous gift from Sebastian S. Kresge – creator of the S.S. Kresge Co. department store chain.

But perhaps most importantly, we’ll look to the future. We invite you to take that journey with us.