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Human Services

Expanding opportunities in American cities by centering racial equity to advance social and economic mobility for families and communities.

Human Services Funding Opportunities

About the Human Services Program

We define social and economic mobility as the movement of families between social strata and their ability to improve their wealth and economic status. This includes a person’s autonomy, power and ability to influence his or her environment and personal outcomes.

The Human Services Program’s work is grounded in power sharing, partnership, co-learning and co-creating with organizations from multiple sectors, families and communities. Centering racial equity, we work with our partners to advance social and economic mobility for children and families through person-centered systems change driven by innovation at multiple levels.

A person-centered approach is strengths-based, grounded in the belief that people are resilient and inherently capable and operate with self-agency. Core to our strategy is a two-generation approach. Two-generation approaches build family well-being by working with children and the adults in their lives together, recognizing the importance of both mothers and fathers.

To support families striving for their American dream, we focus our grantmaking on fostering the next generation of public and nonprofit human services organizations and place-based opportunity ecosystems. We build on this work by making cross cutting investments focused on developing supportive and aligned policy and building a robust field to advance social and economic mobility.

Human Services Resources


All Human Services Resources

We Invest in These Initiatives

Through our initiatives we seek to partner and learn with organizations that go beyond traditional human services delivery methods and move toward new ways to create permanent pathways out of poverty. Initiatives are time-bound, cohort-based learning opportunities. Partners are selected through a competitive grant application process.

Funding from the Human Services Program

We use a full array of funding and investment tools to foster change, including project grants, operating support, planning grants and program-related investments. Program-related investments may take the form of direct loans, guarantees that provide credit support to borrowers, or linked deposits.

Grant opportunities are listed on the foundation’s Current Funding Opportunities page. As we evaluate proposals, we look for efforts that focus on accelerating social and economic mobility, have clear strategic vision and offer innovative and effective approaches that can provide lessons for the field.

Applicants should be person-centered, outcomes focused and data driven, with an explicit focus on recognizing and addressing racial equity as a significant barrier to social and economic opportunity.


How to Apply

Human Services Grants Made

Human Services Social Investments Made

Kresge staff is working remotely, and our offices are closed until further notice.  See our promise to partners during COVID-19.
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