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Smith: Kresge’s Arts & Culture Program refines its funding focus areas, reflects on investments

Arts & Culture

This commentary is adapted from the February edition of ReFrame. ReStore. ReImagine., the Kresge Arts & Culture Program’s newsletter. Sign up for it and other Kresge newsletters here.

As a national funder that supports place-based initiatives, Kresge’s Arts & Culture Program positions culture and creativity as drivers of more just communities. Through this strategy, a cross-sectoral approach that integrates creative practices into community development, we aim to ensure that creativity is valued widely as an integral resource for healthy and sustainable places and for residents of color to live abundant and self-determined lives.

Earlier this year, we announced the refinement of our funding focus areas to ensure we are explicit about where, with whom, and how we intend to deploy our grant dollars — in place, with people, and through partnerships — to advance the preconditions for long-term change. The preconditions include resident agency, narrative control, social cohesion and collective action, to name a few.

The newly refreshed focus areas include:

To be transparent, we share these refinements to reflect how we’ve invested over the past several years. We invite you to learn more about our full program strategy. While we are not accepting unsolicited applications, please forward any questions to [email protected].

We know that our work does not exist in a bubble. In our February edition of the Arts & Culture Program newsletter, ReFrame. ReStore. ReImagine., we offer a range of updates, new reports, resources and announcements. If you missed the White House Domestic Policy Council and National Endowment for the Arts Summit: Healing, Bridging and Thriving, or Philanthropy for Civic Engagement’s podcast on how democracy needs poetry, I encourage you to read the newsletter.

Finally, this year marks The Kresge Foundation’s Centennial. Since 1924, the foundation has awarded over $5 billion across the United States and beyond. Plans for this year include several events for community and grantee partners to come together to reflect on the past and dream for a more just future in cities. The Centennial website is the place to keep track of what’s happening.

We, along with many partners, still have much work to do. The Arts & Culture Program looks forward to staying the course to ensure that culture and creativity are dimensions for achieving sustainable places where residents live abundant and self-determined lives.