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Caroline Altman Smith

Deputy Director


Caroline Altman Smith is deputy director of The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. She supports the team’s domestic grantmaking, which funds higher education institutions and national nonprofit organizations that work to help more underserved students enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

Before joining Kresge in 2008, Caroline served for five years as a program officer at the Lumina Foundation in Indianapolis where she worked to create opportunities for low-income, minority and first-generation students to enter college and complete their undergraduate degrees.

Caroline earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from the University of Virginia. In 2022, Caroline received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, where she holds a master’s degree in philanthropic studies and a certificate in nonprofit management. She is a 2017 Crain’s Detroit Business “40 Under 40” honoree, an instructor for The Grantmaking School at Grand Valley State University, previously chaired the Grantmakers for Education and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy boards, and currently serves on the boards of the National College Attainment Network and the National Council of Nonprofits.

Photo: Douglas Schaible

Areas of Specialty

College access and success

Community colleges

Higher Education

Leadership development

Media Mentions

Federal higher ed relief urgently needed for Michigan students

College access and success

Students living with low incomes and students of color who enroll at lower rates and are more likely to end up with unsustainable levels of debt when costs rise. This, in turn, undermines the ability of higher education to serve as a vehicle for upward social and economic mobility.