Record amount of grant dollars awarded to neighborhood organizations in 2019 KIP:D round

A vacant elementary school to be transformed into a neighborhood center.

Revitalized gazebos, walking paths, and soccer fields for a historic Detroit park.

A shared kitchen space for neighborhood co-ops.

These projects and 22 more make up the record-setting 2019 cohort of the Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit initiative, or KIP:D.

In total, 25 nonprofit community organizations have been awarded $2.4 million in grants from the organization, far exceeding the initial $1.5 million planned for this year's initiative, now in its fifth year.

Detroit Program Fellow Joi James credits the Kresge's national Arts & Culture, Health and Human Services programs with contributing the extra dollars to the KIP:D initiative.

"These are community-driven projects for and by Detroit residents," James says.

"It’s our largest pool of awards given, which shows the high amount of ability of these organizations."

As the KIP:D initiative has evolved since its first iteration five years ago, officials have emphasized becoming more accessible to smaller organizations.

Jones says that they have accomplished this in two ways.

First, KIP:D judges applicants on the strength of their concepts, and less so on the strength of their supplementary materials, including budgets and the like. This opens the door wider for smaller organizations not familiar with the philanthropic process.

Second, Jones credits the Michigan Community Resources organization as an on-the-ground asset in guiding applicants through the application process.

"Year by year, we’ve watched our projects map as a sign that revitalization that engages residents, that is largely led by residents, is gaining traction in neighborhoods of the city," Kresge President and CEO Rip Rapson said in a release.

"There is an enormous amount of work left to do; there are also strong indications and growing hope that we can do it."

Visit KIP:D online to view the full list of winning organizations.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.