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The Kresge Foundation Returns to a Greener Headquarters

General Foundation News

TROY, MICHIGAN – The Kresge Foundation has returned to its newly-renovated headquarters on West Big Beaver Road in Troy, Michigan. The 82-year-old Foundation has added a 19,500-square-foot structure, restored a prairie landscape, and maintained and restored 19th century farm buildings on its three-acre site. The new office building is an innovative model for sustainable design. Including the farmhouse, the project encompasses 26,000 square feet.

The Foundation chose to remain in its current location, in part, for the opportunity to preserve a historic farmstead and to introduce green features – including green roofs, geothermal wells, and extensive use of recycled materials.

“Foremost, we wanted to create a workplace that promotes health and productivity for Foundation staff, trustees, and the many nonprofit organizations that visit our space each year,” says John E. Marshall III, CEO and president of The Kresge Foundation. “Preserving the historic structures was also very important to us. In building green, we found a way to do both and more: We’re preserving the past, supporting current needs of the Foundation and its grantees, and doing so in a way that is sustainable and respectful of future generations.”

Chicago-based architecture firm Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA), in association with Farr Associates also of Chicago, is responsible for design of the headquarters. The JM Olson Corporation of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, served as Construction Manager. Ron Gagnon, retired Vice President of Ford Land Development, was Project Manager.

The project began in spring 2004 after the Foundation recognized it had outgrown its facilities, which were last renovated and constructed in 1984.

The Kresge facility is expected to meet Gold, or possibly Platinum, LEED rating criteria established by the U.S. Green Building Council. A green or sustainable building is a facility which in its design, construction, and operation makes a minimal draw on non-renewable resources and gives high priority to respecting the natural environment.

The Foundation and its design team employed an integrated design process in the development of the site, considering the environment at every step.

The green building features in Kresge’s project combine cutting-edge technology and low-tech solutions. New technologies, including geothermal energy and sophisticated control systems, are complemented by simple strategies, such as careful location of windows and other light sources.

The U.S. Green Building Council selected The Kresge Foundation for its 2005 Leadership Award recognizing outstanding individuals and organizations providing “vision, leadership and commitment to the evolution of green building design and construction.”

The award responds to The Kresge Foundation’s Green Building Initiative, intended to increase the awareness of sustainable or green building practices among nonprofits and encourage them to consider building green. The Initiative offers educational resources and special grants to help nonprofits during the planning phase critical to achieving the full benefits of green building.

“We use challenge grants to do two things: to build or renovate buildings and to make stronger connections to their stakeholders. We help growing nonprofit organizations build a lot of buildings,” says Mr. Marshall. “We also feel it is an opportunity to help them consider how building green might benefit their organizations, as well as the environment.”

As of February 2006, The Kresge Foundation has awarded 64 green building planning grants totaling $4,196,000. The Foundation also awarded 42 grants totaling $7,200,000 as a bonus program for grantee organizations achieving LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Kresge Foundation is a national foundation with $2.9 billion in assets. It seeks to strengthen nonprofit organizations by catalyzing their growth, helping them connect with their stakeholders, and challenging them with grants that leverage greater support. The Foundation concentrates its programming on capital campaigns as a key opportunity for nonprofit growth.

In 2005, the Foundation awarded 217 grants totaling $131,770,027 to organizations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Mexico.