Applications now open for Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit grants for local nonprofits

Local nonprofits working to improve quality of life in Detroit neighborhoods and reflect residents’ culture and history are invited to apply for a piece of least $1.5 million in grants through Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit.

The grants provide a “systematic way of inviting, evaluating, and supporting” organizations and their plans for improving communities, Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program, said in a statement. “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.

Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit (KIP:D) has awarded 99 grants since 2015 for a total of $10.4 million across the city for projects ranging from repurposing of vacant lots for creative green uses to shared kitchen spaces for neighborhood co-ops. 2019 was a record-setting year, with 25 nonprofit community organizations receiving $2.4 million in grants from the organization.

The funding has helped organizations like the Eden Gardens Block Club on Detroit’s east side, which received $150,000 earlier this year to save a vacant neighborhood house from the city’s demolition list and transform it into the Stair Steps to Change Home, a training center for literacy as well as life and work skills.

The KIP:D grant “was a hallelujah moment,” says Eden Gardens Block Club President Karen Knox. “It broke the glass ceiling so we can keep improving the community.” With the aid of the KIP:D grant, an architect has worked on plans to renovate the buildings based on the activities envisioned for the space.

"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,” Jackson said. “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.”

Planning grants of up to $35,000 are available and up to $150,000 for the implementation of projects that engage residents.

New this year are $20,000 awards for smaller organizations seeking assistance to assess neighborhood needs, brainstorm possibilities, and develop materials for a future KIP: D application.

Applications to KIP: D are open through Dec. 6. Interested organizations must register and create an account through Kresge’s online system by Nov. 22.

The application begins with a short concept proposal – two written pages or a 3-5-minute video – and basic organizational information. Selected applicants will be invited to submit a more detailed proposal, including financial audits and detailed budgets for final consideration. Grants will be announced in May 2020.

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 the following locations:

  • 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at St. Stephen AME Church, 6000 John E Hunter St.
  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Marygrove College, 8425 McNichols Road
  • 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Knapp Branch Library, 13330 Conant St.
  • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Redford Branch Library, 21200 Grand River Ave.



Read more articles by Dorothy Hernandez.

Dorothy Hernandez is managing editor of Model D. Prior to joining Issue Media Group, she was a food journalism fellow with Feet in Two Worlds and WDET and has contributed to NPR, Thrillist, Eater, and a variety of other local and national publications. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter @dorothy_lynn_h.
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