Kresge Seeks Detroit Non-profits for Grants

Wendy Lewis Jackson, Managing Director – Kresge’s Detroit Program

The Kresge Foundation is looking for Detroit-based nonprofits – from block clubs to community development corporations – to share at least $1.5 million dollars for projects that improve the quality of life in neighborhoods in 2020.

The funding comes from Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit (KIP:D), which, since 2015, has awarded 99 grants totaling $10.4 million across for projects from repurposing of vacant lots for creative green uses to the renovation of vacant buildings as community assets to modifying streets and sidewalks for greater walkability.

Grants of up to $35,000 are available for planning and up to $150,000 for the implementation of projects that engage residents and reflect the foundation’s priorities.

A category of grants introduced this year makes awards of $20,000 available for smaller organizations that want assistance to assess neighborhood needs, brainstorm possibilities and develop materials for a future KIP:D application.

“There are so many unsung heroes that have been working as block club captains, leading our community development organizations, working as volunteers in various groups and projects,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program. “We want to make sure they have the resources to not only keep doing what they’re doing but to take their work to the next level.

“KIP:D began on the premise that Detroiters and their organizations have actionable ideas to improve the places they live, work and play,” Jackson added. “What was needed was a systematic way of inviting, evaluating and supporting those plans. Each round of proposals has taught us more about needs across the city and has revealed neighborhood-level ideas for addressing them. KIP: D is one of our most important tools to make sure the city’s revitalization reaches neighborhoods.”

The four pillars of the program that KIP:D’s funding and technical assistance goes to are:

  • Take place within the city and are led by a Detroit-based nonprofit organization.
  • Demonstrate a transformative impact.
  • Fulfill the Detroit Future City strategic framework and advance neighborhood priorities.
  • Use inclusive, collaborative processes for design, development and implementation 
  • Extend benefits to a broad set of stakeholders and community residents.
  • Will be completed in 12-18 months from the date of the grant award.

Jackson pointed to the example of the Eden Gardens Block Clubon Detroit’s east side, which received $150,000 earlier this year to rehab a vacant neighborhood house as a center for training in literacy and life and work skills. It’s being called the Stair Steps to Change Home, said block club president Karen Knox. The KIP:D grant follows a smaller grant through MCR for the kind of brainstorming and needs assessment that’s now available through applying to KIP:D.

Kresge Foundation KiPD Grant recipients: Eden Gardens Block Club.

“This was a hallelujah moment. It broke the glass ceiling, so we can keep improving the community,” Knox said of the KIP:D grant. She said the block club has about 20 core members with many more supporting its various activities. Through the KIP:D grant, an architect has worked on plans to renovate the buildings for the activities already identified. The block club members have cleaned the building and spruced up the yard and applied for zoning approvals to proceed with their plans. That work has already been enough to have the building pulled from the city’s demolition list. “We saved the building,” Knox said.

Before KIP:D, Jackson pointed out, there was no mechanism for reaching organizations like Eden Gardens, which was one of 163 organizations that responded to the prior KIP:D application round, and one of 25 organizations that shared in $2.4 million. That was the largest total funding for a cohort of grantees in the history of KIP:D.

Of the 25 grants announced earlier this year, nearly 20 percent, including the Eden Gardens grant, went to organizations with annual budgets of less than $100,000, Jackson added.

Applications to KIP:D are open through Dec. 6, although interested organizations must register and create an account through Kresge’s online FLUXX system by Nov. 22. Applications can only be made through FLUXX.

As part of the foundation’s effort to make KIP:D more accessible to a broader array of organizations, the application process was streamlined last year. Grants will be announced in May 2020.

Kresge also has made support and assistance available fromMichigan Community Resources (MCR)to help grantees in the process. MCR has as its mission to support Michigan nonprofit organizations that serve low-income individuals and communities through pro bono and low cost legal and other services, organization development and other guidance assistance. MCR convenes KIP:D grantee cohorts to share lessons, attend workshops, engage in city-wide dialogue as well as increase grantee awareness of additional funding opportunities.

As part of the application process, Michigan Community Resources is holding open office hours for one-on-one assistance for any interested organization.

Appointments are on a first-come-first-served basis on these dates at these locations:

·     Thursday, Nov. 7, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Stephen AME Church (6000 John E Hunter St)

·     Thursday, Nov. 14, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Marygrove College (8425 McNichols Rd)

·     Wednesday, Nov. 2, 1 to 5 p.m. at Knapp Branch Library (13330 Conant St)

·     Tuesday, Dec.  3, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Redford Branch Library (21200 Grand River Ave)


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