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Kresge Foundation Employs New Funding Methods in its First Quarter Grant Awards of Nearly $43 Million

Recent grants reflect foundation's ongoing, multi-year expansion to better

address society's pressing issues.

TROY, Mich., May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kresge Foundation's first quarter awards illuminate its evolving values-centered approach to grantmaking as well as its early exploration of new funding methods, including program-related investments, growth-capital grants and program-support grants.

In March, the Board of Trustees approved 54 awards of $42,694,500 in six fields of interest - health, the environment, arts and culture, education, human services and community development. "The expansion of Kresge's grantmaking is well on its way," says Elaine D. Rosen, chair of the board. "These first quarter grants represent significant progress in our efforts to become more flexible in our deployment of resources. In partnering with our grantees, we want to meet them at their area of greatest need."

The use of new capitalization methods signals the beginning of Kresge's expansion of its grantmaking toolbox beyond its signature facilities-capital challenge grant. "This is a time of exploration," says Rip Rapson, president of the foundation. "An expanded array of grantmaking methods permits us to view organizations holistically and to think about their capitalization needs more broadly."

Of the 54 awards approved in the first quarter, 33 were facilities-capital challenge grants to arts and culture, education, environment, health and human services organizations. Kresge has been a driving force in the building of facilities for nonprofit organizations for much of its 84-year history. In 2007, it elevated nine values to serve as the centerpiece of its grantmaking criteria. Its grantmaking decisions in this quarter and going forward pivot most centrally on how well an organization's mission, programs and proposed project advance these values.

Eight grants were made to the Detroit Program, a comprehensive, community-development effort to strengthen the long-term economic, social and cultural fabric of the city and surrounding area.

Three green planning grants were made as part of Kresge's Green Building Initiative. These grants underwrite the integrated design process necessary for historic preservation, green renovation or new construction that aims to achieve the highest levels of environmental sustainability.

For the first time, 10 organizations were awarded one or a combination of program-related investments, growth-capital grants or program-support grants.

A complete list of the awards made, organized by state, is below.

Community-based health care, community revitalization

Kresge made a $2.5 million, five-year program-related investment in IFF Loan Fund and Advisory Services of Chicago. IFF, a community development financial institution, provides below-market rate real-estate loans and other services to nonprofit health, human service and education organizations.

The investment enables IFF, which expanded its lending and advisory programs to Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin in 2005, to finance new loans and leverage its increased portfolio to solicit new bank and foundation investments.

"IFF is a high-performing organization that is actively advancing our values," Rapson says. "It has a track record of building financially sound organizations through its loan and advisory services - work that is essential to community revitalization."

"The primary purpose of program-related investments is to provide access to capital to institutions like IFF that would not be able to secure conventional loans," he adds. "A second benefit is the below-market interest rate."

Kresge also awarded IFF a $500,000 growth-capital grant to support the expansion of its staff and business operations. Growth-capital grants support specific efforts such as retooling, transition, or, as is the case with IFF, scaling efforts that contribute to a more sustainable operating model, Rapson observes.

Expanding quality care for the nation's children

First Children's Finance, a community development financial institution based in Minneapolis, provides below-market rate financing, advisory services, technical assistance and business and management training for child-care facilities in eight states - Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas and Texas.

Kresge made a $1 million program-related investment in First Children's Finance to expand its loan pool to new geographic markets. It also awarded an additional $1 million in two growth capital grants - a $200,000 grant to support the expansion of its multi-state operations and an $800,000 grant to establish and staff a new program office in Detroit and provide it with permanent capital and loan fund reserves.

"First Children's Finance is a pioneer in strengthening the capacity of child-care providers, including the quality of care provided," Rapson says. "It is creating opportunity, assisting providers in underserved geographies and having real community impact. As a result of the 215 loans it has made to date, for example, nearly 3,000 new child-care slots and approximately 330 new full and part-time jobs have been created."

Collaborating with Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

Kresge's values-centered approach to grantmaking consists of nine values, one of which is collaboration - encouraging nonprofit organizations to work across sectors to forge multidisciplinary solutions to complex problems. So it is not surprising that it would practice this value as well.

With $6 million in growth-capital grants, Kresge is participating in the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation's Capital Aggregation Initiative, a $120 million national funding syndicate designed to provide long-term capacity-building capital to high-impact organizations with strong growth potential. Kresge's contribution provides the Memphis, Tennessee-based Youth Villages with $3 million over three years and the Denver, Colorado-based Nurse Family Partnership with $3 million over three years.

Youth Villages is a national organization of 1,300 counselors, teachers and support staff working in 32 cities that provides a continuum of care to children and youth in foster care or returning from state juvenile justice systems. The Nurse Family Partnership is a national, home visitation program providing support, guidance and health care services for low-income, first-time mothers and their children.

"The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation's theory of change is built on the premise that significant, long-term investments in outstanding organizations provide the best opportunity to solve some of the nation's most intractable problems," Rapson says. "We are pleased to partner on this important, large-scale effort."

Scholarships, research, kindergarten readiness

An $800,000 program-support grant was made to MDRC, a New York City-based nonprofit, nonpartisan, social-policy research organization dedicated to improving the education, employment and life circumstances of low-income Americans. The grant, which will be paid over three years, is restricted to three activities: Research on the effectiveness of community colleges to provide access to low-income students and foster their academic progress through performance-based scholarships; communications efforts to support wide dissemination of research findings; and, research on methods to develop the emotional and behavioral readiness of young children to enter kindergarten.

"Foundations have historically funded research, particularly the unconventional and the unpopular," Rapson adds. "This, however, is a new - and important - endeavor for the Kresge Foundation. It is integral to our expansion efforts to support the kind of research that has the potential to advance the state of knowledge about vital community issues."

For the present, Kresge will utilize the new funding methods through an invitation process only. "We look forward to a time when Kresge will apply these tools in a more responsive way," Rapson notes. "But we first need to determine the strategic directions our program areas will pursue. Once we are more comfortable with those directions, the tools can be put into play more fully and flexibly. We encourage grantseekers to watch the Kresge Foundation Web site ( to learn about new developments associated with our expansion. We are committed to communicating as much as we know as early as we can."

Here is a list of awards approved in the first quarter:

(The list includes current and future planned awards. The type of award is noted.)


Arizona Science Center (facilities capital) Phoenix $1,000,000

North Country HealthCare (facilities capital) Flagstaff $250,000

Tucson Zoological Society (facilities capital) Tucson $750,000


Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest County

(facilities capital) Temecula $1,000,000

Resource Area for Teachers (facilities capital) San Jose $275,000

University of California Santa Cruz

(facilities capital) Santa Cruz $700,000


Nurse-Family Partnership (growth capital) Denver $3,000,000


Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches Inc.

(facilities capital) Lake Worth $250,000

Florida Atlantic University

(green planning grant) Boca Raton $50,000


Piedmont Park Conservancy Inc.

(facilities capital) Atlanta $1,500,000

Progressive Redevelopment Inc.

(green planning grant) Decatur $75,000


DePaul University (facilities capital) Chicago $1,000,000

IFF Loan Fund and Advisory Services

(PRI and growth capital) Chicago $3,000,000


Middle Way House Inc. (facilities capital) Bloomington $400,000


Capital Link Inc. (PRI and growth capital) Boston $2,500,000

Health Care Without Harm (program support) Jamaica Plain $600,000

The Nonprofit Quarterly (program support) Boston $130,000

Wheelock College (facilities capital) Boston $800,000


The Chewonki Foundation (facilities capital) Wiscasset $850,000


Black Family Development (Detroit Program) Detroit $100,000

Children's Aid Society (Detroit Program) Detroit $82,000

College for Creative Studies (Detroit Program) Detroit $260,000

Detroit Community Initiative Inc.

(Detroit Program) Detroit $145,000

Detroit Economic Growth Association

(Detroit Program) Detroit $750,000

Detroit Educational Television Foundation

(facilities capital) Wixom $1,250,000

Henry Ford Health System (Detroit Program) Detroit $250,000

New Center Council Inc. (Detroit Program) Detroit $150,000

The Corner Health Center (facilities capital) Ypsilanti $250,000

University of Detroit Mercy (facilities capital) Detroit $2,000,000


First Children's Finance

(PRI and growth capital) Minneapolis $2,000,000


YMCA of Greater St. Louis (facilities capital) St. Louis $530,000

New Jersey

Georgian Court University (facilities capital) Lakewood $350,000

New Mexico

The Santa Fe Opera (facilities capital) Santa Fe $1,000,000

New York

Common Ground Community (facilities capital) New York $750,000

Living Cities Inc.: The National Community

Development Initiative (Detroit Program) New York $1,000,000

MDRC (program support) New York $800,000

Molloy College (facilities capital) Rockville Centre $350,000


Preterm (green planning grant) Cleveland $47,500


Northwest Family Services (facilities capital) Portland $200,000


Moore College of Art & Design

(facilities capital) Philadelphia $400,000

Seton Hill University (facilities capital) Greensburg $400,000

South Dakota

Wellspring Inc. (facilities capital) Rapid City $100,000


Christian Brothers University

(facilities capital) Memphis $1,000,000

Youth Villages Inc. (growth capital) Memphis $3,000,000


Austin Children's Shelter (facilities capital) Austin $700,000

Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast

Texas Inc. (facilities capital) Houston $850,000

The Children's Museum of Houston

(facilities capital) Houston $1,000,000

The Women's Home (facilities capital) Houston $800,000


Chesapeake Service Systems Inc. (growth capital) Chesapeake $500,000


The Health Center (facilities capital) Plainfield $200,000


Boys & Girls Clubs of King County

(facilities capital) Seattle $1,000,000

Child Care Resources (growth capital) Seattle $900,000

Family Services of King County

(facilities capital) Seattle $950,000

Village Theatre (facilities capital) Issaquah $500,000

SOURCE The Kresge Foundation
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