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Human Services, Health Organizations and Transit Receive a Majority of Kresge's Nearly $73 Million in First Quarter Grants

Nonprofits in 28 states, the District of Columbia and South Africa are recipients.

TROY, Mich., April 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Signaling the importance of affirming and strengthening philanthropic support for nonprofits in times of crisis, the trustees of The Kresge Foundation awarded nearly $73 million in grants in the first quarter of 2009. The awards represent the largest quarterly commitment in the 85-year-old foundation's history. It also reflects the foundation's continuing effort to build-out its longer-term strategies to fortify the essential components of healthy, vibrant communities while identifying ways to help improve the life circumstances of low-income citizens in the here-and-now.

"As a large, private foundation, our time to lead is now," says Elaine D. Rosen, chair of the board of trustees. "It is tempting to look at a reduction in our assets and fall back into a cautious, defensive posture. But we have decided that we must instead step forward, investing where we can to strengthen the social safety net without sacrificing our long-term objectives."

The metropolitan Detroit-based foundation focuses its grantmaking in six fields of interest: health, the environment, community development, arts and culture, education and human services. Seventy-five awards were made in 28 states and the District of Columbia; two grants were awarded to higher education institutions in South Africa.

A complete list of the first quarter grant awards is provided below.

Human Services: Nimbleness at a time of great need

Kresge awarded $10.6 million in grants to 19 human service organizations around the country that provide food service and distribution, shelter to homeless individuals and families, affordable housing for the poor, and legal aid to residents of North Carolina's Appalachian Region.

The largest single human service award - $1.45 million - went to Mid-Ohio Foodbank. As the state's largest food bank, it distributes more than 29 million pounds of food to 20 counties through a network of 530 food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, homeless shelters and after-school programs.

Another food provider, Open Arms of Minnesota, received an $800,000 award. Located in Minneapolis, it is the state's only agency that prepares and delivers free meals to low-income individuals living with chronic and progressive diseases, including HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and other conditions.

The Salvation Army USA, provides food, shelter, clothing, utility assistance, after-school programs and other neighborhood-related needs. To coordinate these efforts, it has divided the nation into four territories: East, West, South and Central. Kresge has awarded the Central Territory (headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois) and the Southern Territory (headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia) each a $1 million grant for construction of needed facilities in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Memphis, Tennessee.

A $500,000 award went to Pisgah Legal Services of Ashville, North Carolina. The office has been coordinating a network of 300 volunteer attorneys who provide free civil legal assistance to low-income and vulnerable people for 30 years, including disadvantaged children, seniors on fixed incomes, the abused, homeless and disabled.

"We are trying to help strong organizations do more of what they do best - work on the front lines of human suffering to meet the basic human needs of adults and children," says Rip Rapson, president of the Kresge Foundation. "For these organizations and so many others, the economic crisis means that their clientele is increasing while their charitable support is decreasing. Philanthropy can't provide any silver bullets, but we can try to provide some ballast where it is most needed and can best be used."

Health: Cleaner air, better outcomes

Approximately $6.7 million was awarded to organizations that advance Kresge's twin health priorities: fostering good health by addressing harmful environmental and social factors and increasing access to high-quality health care for low-income adults and children.

Improving air quality was the focus of two grants: a $950,000 award to the University of Southern California for its Trade, Health and Environment Impact Project, and a $450,000 award to the Oakland, California-based Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment and its Bay Area Environmental Health Collaborative. Both grants support cutting-edge work to reduce diesel-related air pollution in the port vicinities of Los Angeles, Long Beach and the Bay Area.

"There is an intimate link between human health and the quality of one's environment," Rapson explains. "Air quality is, for example, an environmental health issue. The number-one predictor of high school drop-out rates is a child's attendance. Children with asthma miss a great deal of school. Improving air quality reduces the incidents of asthma, which can, in turn, be a factor in increasing graduation rates."

Detroit: A catalytic investment for today and tomorrow

The over-arching purpose of Kresge's community development work in its hometown is strengthening the City of Detroit's economic, social and cultural fabric. The trustees broke new ground by approving a $35 million investment in the Lower Woodward Light Rail Project (M-1 RAIL), a $120-million transit line that will run along Woodward Avenue from the Detroit River to the New Center area.

"There is no more important investment this region can make in its future health and vitality than a regional mass transit system," says Rapson. "The Woodward line will signal metropolitan Detroit's willingness to jump-start our region's aspiration to create such a system. It will connect inner-city residents with job opportunities. It will give rise to more intensive, sensible land-use, tying neighborhood residents to new community development opportunities. It will draw together a variety of private, philanthropic, public, and nonprofit activities now in place to promote the retention and attraction of talent in the heart of the city."

The light rail investment advances multiple strategic objectives on the part of Kresge. Its 13 planned stations will spur commercial and residential revitalization while linking the city's major arts and cultural institutions and athletic arenas. Because light rail is a clean transportation source and should reduce the number of cars on area roads, the system is expected to reduce carbon emissions, helping to protect the region's air quality and its substantial natural resources.

As with past grants of similar magnitude, the trustees conditioned payments - which will be made over four years - on meeting a series of project benchmarks. "We have every expectation that these benchmarks will be met in a timely way, leading to the beginning of construction this year and the line's completion in late-2010," adds Rapson.

The trustees approved ten other grants and one program-related investment to Detroit-area nonprofit organizations. The total, including the light rail investment, was $40.1 million.

In other fields of interest, awards were made to community colleges and early childhood education organizations, arts and culture organizations, and environmental organizations working to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy.

"No community is immune to the effects of the economic maelstrom we are experiencing," concludes Rapson. "Our hope is that we can help improve the day-to-day quality of life of our most disadvantaged citizens while increasing their long-term prospects for opportunity and self-sufficiency."

Here is a list of grants approved in the first quarter 2009:

(The list includes current and future planned grants.)

    Arizona Bridge to Independent Living          Phoenix           $500,000

    Hendrix College                               Conway            $750,000

    Downtown Women's Center                       Los Angeles     $1,000,000
    Exloco                                        Sausalito         $100,000
    Oakland Museum of California Foundation       Oakland         $1,000,000
    ODC Dance - San Francisco                     San Francisco     $750,000
    TechSoup Global                               San Francisco      $90,000
    The Arc of San Diego                          San Diego         $350,000
    The Rose Foundation for Communities and the   Oakland           $450,000
    University of Southern California             Los Angeles       $950,000

    St. Vincent's Medical Center                  Bridgeport      $1,000,000

    National Association for the Education of     Washington        $700,000
      Young Children
    Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater    Washington        $300,000
      Washington, D.C.
    Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future Washington        $600,000

    Central Florida Community College             Ocala             $450,000
    In the Pines Inc.                             Delray Beach      $195,000
    NANAY Inc. (National Alliance to Nurture the  Miami             $125,000
      Aged and the Youth)

    Boys & Girls Clubs of Athens                  Athens            $370,000
    The Salvation Army, USA Southern Territory    Atlanta         $1,000,000

    Treasure Valley Family YMCA                   Boise             $500,000

    The Salvation Army, USA Central Territory     Des Plaines     $1,000,000

    Boys & Girls Club of Evansville Inc.          Evansville        $250,000

    Dubuque County Historical Society             Dubuque         $1,000,000

    Women's Crisis Center Inc.                    Covington         $260,000

    Local Initiatives Support Corporation         Baton Rouge       $700,000
    Market Umbrella                               New Orleans       $250,000

    Veteran Homestead Inc.                        Fitchburg         $800,000

    Belle Isle Women's Committee                  Birmingham        $100,000
    City Year Detroit                             Detroit           $400,000
    Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan   Detroit           $500,000
    Community Health and Social Services Center   Detroit         $1,000,000
    Council of Michigan Foundations               Grand Haven       $250,000
    Council of Michigan Foundations               Grand Haven       $150,000
    Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation      Detroit           $250,000
    Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation    Detroit            $75,000
    Henry Ford Health System                      Detroit         $2,500,000
    Legal Services of South Central Michigan      Ann Arbor         $442,500
    M-1 RAIL (Regional Area Initial Link)         Detroit        $34,600,000
    Michigan Primary Care Association             Lansing           $200,000
    Neighborhood Centers Inc.                     Detroit            $60,000
    Southwest Detroit Business Association        Detroit            $70,000
    University of Michigan                        Ann Arbor          $25,000
    University of Michigan - Flint                Flint              $50,000
    Wayne State University                        Detroit           $600,000

    Fresh Energy                                  St. Paul          $350,000
    Highpoint Center for Printmaking              Minneapolis       $250,000
    Open Arms of Minnesota Inc.                   Minneapolis       $800,000

    Places for People Inc.                        St. Louis          $20,000

    Boys & Girls Club of Manchester               Manchester        $500,000

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey   Camden            $100,000

    Environmental Grantmakers Association         New York           $20,000
    New World Foundation                          New York           $32,000
    Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc  New York          $440,000

    Pisgah Legal Services                         Asheville         $500,000

    Clark State Community College                 Springfield       $850,000
    Mid-Ohio Foodbank                             Columbus        $1,450,000
    The Toledo Zoo                                Toledo            $600,000

    Clackamas County Children's Commission        Marylhurst        $200,000
    Lane Community College                        Eugene            $800,000
    National Center for Conservation Science and  Ashland           $750,000
    Oregon College of Art and Craft               Portland          $900,000
    Resource Innovation Group Inc.                Eugene            $750,000

    YMCA of Reading and Berks County              Reading           $200,000

    Providence Children's Museum                  Providence        $150,000

    El Centro del Barrio - CentroMed              San Antonio       $400,000
    Fort Worth Museum of Science and History      Fort Worth      $1,500,000

    YWCA of Salt Lake City                        Salt Lake City    $500,000

    CASA Latina                                   Seattle           $300,000
    Community Health Care                         Tacoma            $550,000
    Northwest Maritime Center                     Port Townsend     $600,000
    Prosser Memorial Hospital                     Prosser           $550,000
    Puget Sound Educational Service District      Renton            $600,000

    Clean Wisconsin Inc.                          Madison           $230,633

    International Association for Digital         Braamfontein      $400,000
    Rhodes University                             Grahamstown       $900,000

    For more information, contact Cynthia Shaw,, or call

SOURCE The Kresge Foundation
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