The Kresge Foundation in Troy, Michigan, has announced grants totaling $1.5 million in support of eighteen groups working on projects to revitalize neighborhoods across Detroit.
The first grants awarded through the $6 million relaunch of Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit will build on a pilot initiative that supported more than fifty planning and implementation efforts. The pilot phase of the effort ended last year, and a new call for applications was announced in January. Kresge is partnering with Michigan Community Resources to help grantees implement and sustain their projects, and to build a city-wide network of grantees that works to elevate resident priorities.
To that end, planning grants of up to $35,000 were awarded to the Community Treehouse Center and Manistique Block Club for a wheelchair-accessible community education center and event space that will serve residents of all ages in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood; Detroit Horse Power, which is working to establish a youth equestrian center in the Hope Village neighborhood west of Highland Park; the Detroit Sound Conservancy, which will work to engage the community in redeveloping the Blue Bird Inn, an iconic jazz club on Detroit's west side; and the East Davidson Village Block Club and Global Detroit, which will collaborate to build a system of block clubs that facilitate community outreach, events, and engagement.
In addition, implementation grants of up to $150,000 were awarded to the Detroit Narrative Agency, which will support film projects and strategies that enable residents to see their priorities elevated in the films; Feedom Freedom and the College for Creative Studies, which will transform two vacant lots in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood into a community space with a pavilion, farm stand, and creative landscape; and the Northend Christian Community Development Association, which will work with the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning to restore the historic Red's Jazz Shoe Shine Parlor as a space for grassroots retail, community events, and performances.
The foundation also awarded combined planning and implementation grants of up to $150,000 to 360 Detroit Inc. to repurpose several vacant lots in the Virginia Park-Rosa Parks neighborhood into a community park with picnic, sitting, and play areas; Garage Cultural, which will design and construct a co-operative working space and resource hub in southwest Detroit featuring Latin American art, culture and food, including a new coffee shop; and Hope Community Outreach and Development, which will design and build a mobile resource unit led by youth ambassadors in support of environmental and safety efforts in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood.
"Detroit's true revitalization means the broad revitalization of its neighborhoods," said Kresge Foundation president Rip Rapson. "That requires a multiplicity of tools and interlinked strategies. This relaunch of Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit is rooted in the same principles as our recently announced support for the mayor's Strategic Neighborhood Fund, our operating support for community development organizations, our Hope Starts Here partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to make Detroit a city that puts children and families first, and the full suite of our work in the city. We will continue to work with partners to make this broad revitalization a reality."
(Photo credit: Lon Horwedel)