The second round of grants awarded through the three-year, $5 million Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit initiative will be used to renovate vacant buildings, convert vacant lots to gardens, and introduce high school students to the concepts and practices of entrepreneurship. Nine organizations were awarded grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000, while twelve others received planning grants of up to $25,000.
Recipients include Black Family Development, which will use its grant to transform vacant lots in the Osborn neighborhood; LifeBUILDERS, which will rehabilitate Bringard-Boulder Park, including athletic fields and outdoor fitness equipment, to create a safe community space for health and wellness activities; the Mack Avenue Community Church Development Corp., which plans to renovate a vacant 14,000-square-foot commercial building on Detroit's near-east side as a community center; and Michigan Community Resources, which will develop eight vacant lots for flower farming and create a public gathering space in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood.
"When we launched this initiative in 2014, we hoped to shine a light on positive changes by tapping into the knowledge and creativity of city residents," said Wendy Lewis Jackson, deputy director of the foundation’s Detroit Program. "We see in these grantees a strong desire to revitalize neighborhoods physically and to engage residents socially in the process. Our grantees are interested in re-utilizing what’s abandoned and vacant, creating green infrastructure and new community spaces, and developing human capital, particularly among young people."