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Kresge Foundation to fund more innovative neighborhood projects across Detroit

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Do you have shovel-ready project or a promising idea that will help nourish Detroit’s renewal? Does it need planning support?

If so, the Kresge Foundation has just the thing.

Its Detroit Program is ready to fund Detroit-based nonprofits that have projects that will help transform the city’s neighborhoods. This is the second round of applications for the three-year, $5 million initiative.

Applications are being accepted now through November 24.  Please click here to apply.

As in its first year, Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit grants totaling $1.5 million will be made citywide on a competitive basis. Implementation grants of between $50,000 and $150,000 will be awarded to shovel-ready projects that can begin in early 2016 and be completed within 12-18 months of the grant award. Planning grants of up to $25,000 will also be awarded to organizations with promising ideas.

This second round of grants will emphasize planning grants to ensure a strong pool of implementation-grant applications in the third year of the initiative. Kresge will seek to award at least one planning grant in each of the seven Detroit City Council districts.

Between 15 and 20 planning grants are expected to be awarded.

Kresge President and CEO Rip Rapson says the program will “light up the map with the reality of positive change.”

Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit was launched in fall 2014. In that round 11 implementation grants and seven planning grants were chosen from a pool of more than 100 proposals. Those chosen were announced last April.

“The first round of this grant program proved that Detroit is filled with neighborhood leaders who have the commitment and imagination to plan and execute projects that will have a profound impact on the quality of life,” says Laura Trudeau, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program. “We are excited to see the next round proposals. It’s an honor to be able to amplify the energy and enthusiasm of neighborhood-based organizations through Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit.”

Several projects are either completed or near completion.

Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp. is transforming seven vacant lots into pocket parks

Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp. is transforming seven vacant lots into pocket parks

Building on its healthy-neighborhood strategy, Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp. is transforming seven vacant lots – all under 50 feet wide and unbuildable – into pocket parks, connected by a walking path to foster healthy, active living in the Middle Woodward Corridor. Fitness equipment, native plantings and trees will be added to the lots, and users will be encouraged to walk park-to-park for additional exercise.

In the North Corktown-Briggs neighborhooda community-centered pocket park commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks

In the North Corktown-Briggs neighborhooda community-centered pocket park commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks

Over in the North Corktown-Briggs neighborhood vacant lots at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks boulevards are being transformed into a community-centered pocket park that commemorates King and Parks. This grant supports the implementation of the community-driven design, including the installation of new hardscape, greenscape and benches and new public art informed by students from the adjacent elementary school, Burton International School. It also includes the development of a plan for ongoing maintenance and programming.

A vacant building on the eastside is being renovated to allow the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program to mentor more young people. The Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program has operated out of a former car wash on St. Aubin on the city’s near east side for eight years. It couples boxing with strong academic support and a commitment to community volunteerism. One measure of its appeal is that it has 65 youth participating and 400 on a wait list. The first phase of renovation of a nearby 12,000-square-foot facility has allowed the program to relocate and begin accepting youth from the wait list.

Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program mentors young people

Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program mentors young people

Ongoing projects have also made a dramatic impact.

The 13-month initiative in the Osborn neighborhood in northeast Detroit engages residents and other stakeholders to establish short- and long-term land-use plans. Based on those plans, Black Family Development Inc. has worked with Life Remodeled, another Detroit nonprofit, to mobilize 5,000 volunteers for a six-day cleanup. The work included clearing, preparing and securing side lots available for purchase by neighbors through the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

Resident and stakeholders in the Osborn neighborhood will establish short- and long-term land-use plans

Resident and stakeholders in the Osborn neighborhood will establish short- and long-term land-use plans

Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit applications will be evaluated, in part, by how they advance neighborhood priorities in alignment the Detroit Future City Framework Plan. Projects must be led by a Detroit-based nonprofit organization and take place within the city of Detroit.

If you are applying for one of the grants please pay close attention to specific portions of the Detroit Future City framework, including:

To be competitive, a project must also demonstrate:

  • A transformative impact on its Detroit neighborhood
  • Broadly engage the neighborhood and advance neighborhood priorities using inclusive, collaborative processes for design, development and implementation
  • Extend benefits to a broad set of stakeholders and community residents

Applications for the second round of Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit are being accepted now and must be submitted by Nov. 24. Grants will be awarded in March 2016. Please click here to apply.

Applications for a third round of Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit will be accepted in fall 2016.

Although the initiative is slated for a final round of applications next year, Trudeau said Kresge’s commitment to project grants to neighborhood-based groups will continue.

“What we learn through this initiative will guide what comes next,” she says. “Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit is a stepping stone, not the end of this work.”

Kresge’s goal is to expand opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities. Its Detroit Program uses a comprehensive strategy to promote long-term economic opportunity in the foundation’s hometown. That strategy encompasses efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and the Woodward Corridor along with support for arts and culture, regional transit, early childhood development and the enhancement of civic capacity.

The Detroit Program aligns with the Detroit Future City Framework Plan, a long-range development document informed by a multiyear research and community engagement effort, which was funded by the foundation.

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