Kresge's Detroit Program provides $1.55M in grants to ‘support those in greatest need’ amid pandemic

The Kresge Foundation has awarded grants totaling $1.55 million that address a wide range of areas in Detroit, from the arts to water reconnections, to “save the heart and soul” of the city by addressing the emergency needs of residents amid the COVID-19 crisis. It's part of a total $2.6 million in combined grants for Detroit, New Orleans, and Memphis.

Detroit has been hit especially hard by the pandemic, with more than 7,700 confirmed cases and over 600 deaths as of Monday, April 20.

“For many in our community, for businesses and organizations and institutions that are the fabric of our community, the crisis is immediate, and our first concerns have to be with health and survival,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program, in a release. “The crisis casts in bold relief the issues of equity and the need for long-term opportunity for the people of Detroit. We have long said that neighborhoods and their residents are the city’s heart and soul. Our first order of business is to do all that we can to save that heart and soul.”

The grants are the first round of funds from the foundation’s Detroit Program addressing the COVID-19 crisis in the city, with more to follow in the coming weeks in collaboration with the foundation’s national programs.

The Detroit grants include:
  • $1,025,000 to the United Way of Southeastern Michigan’s fund for emergency relief to seniors, children, and low-income families.
  • $200,000 will go to the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan’s (CFSEM) Health COVID-19 Relief Fund, which supports testing, lab processing, and tracking for health care entities and high-risk groups in Southeast Michigan.
  • $200,000 to CFSEM for CultureSource programs, services, and partnerships to support arts and culture sector in the region. The member association for nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in the region and CFSEM launched the COVID-19 Arts and Creative Community Assistance Fund, which offers relief and resiliency support to local nonprofit arts and culture organizations. Applications are due May 1 for the $10,000 grants, which can be used to pay for expenses such as payroll, artist or contractor fees, operating expenses, and unexpected costs as a result of COVID-19.
  • $125,000 for Wayne Metro Community Action Agency for emergency residential plumbing repairs allowing water to be reconnected.

“We are seeking to support those in greatest need, to support and strengthen our grantees and others in the nonprofit ecosystem, and to look for solutions rooted in communities we serve and led by groups rooted in community,” said Jackson.

Jackson said that the Detroit Program team has been reaching out to all of the program grantees, roughly 200, from block clubs to major institutions to learn more about how the pandemic has impacted them and what the needs are.

“What we’re hearing is organizations asking how they can be of service, whether it is reaching out to otherwise isolated seniors down the block to check in with them or putting resources online for the broad community. Organizations are trying to stay afloat, keep their teams safe and intact, and to lend a hand in flattening the curve across the community,” Jackson added.
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