Detroit Regional Chamber > Racial Justice & Economic Equity > Kresge to Make $8 Million in Grants to Detroit Racial Justice Groups

Kresge to Make $8 Million in Grants to Detroit Racial Justice Groups

November 20, 2020
November 19, 2020

Crain’s Detroit Business

By Sherri Welch

  • 20 Detroit groups will share in $8 million in first-round funding
  • Millions more expected for Detroit groups from Troy-based foundation early next year
  • Bulk of funding will provide three-year, “no strings attached” operating support

Racial justice organizations in Detroit will get a boost with $8 million in new grants from the Kresge Foundation and several millions more in yet-to-be-approved grants early next year.

The first-round grants will support 20 Detroit organizations working on frontline activism, strengthening economies in neighborhoods of color and/or supporting small businesses owned by people of color.

The funding is part of $30 million in new commitments from the Troy-based foundation to support national racial justice groups and community-level efforts in Detroit, New Orleans, Memphis and Fresno.

National grantees including Movement for Black Lives and the Black-Led Movement Fund will see about a quarter or $7 million to support their efforts to provide resources to on-the-ground organizations for community organizing, communications, leadership development, research, and state and federal policy change.

The other three-quarters of the commitments totaling $23 million will go to local racial justice organizations to strengthen their capacity over the long term and create a network to share their efforts with one another and with national racial justice organizations. The bulk of that support will provide three year, “no-strings-attached” operating support, Kresge said in a release.

The local and national grants and social investments “seek to ensure that racial justice activists and leaders have sufficient resources to make the lasting changes needed both nationally and in communities across the country,” President and CEO Rip Rapson said in the release.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has made abundantly clear that progress in our country requires a forthright acknowledgment of the longstanding and deeply entrenched impediments to full equality, justice and inclusion,” he said.

“But it also makes clear that we must move further to dismantle — and substitute for — the insidious policies, practices, norms and attitudes embedded in virtually every facet of our society, our economics, our politics, our lives” to end systemic racism, Rapson said.

The Detroit grants include:

  • $1.5 million to Detroit Future City, which created the Center for Equity, Engagement and Research early this year to formalize its research around inclusive, economic growth.
  • $1.25 million to the New Economy Initiative to build a network to undergird small businesses in key commercial corridors, with an emphasis on small businesses owned by people of color.
  • $1 million to the Michigan Justice Fund, a collaborative effort of local and national foundations to support community-driven, criminal justice reform
  • $684,500 to the national organization Enterprise Community Partners to support approximately two dozen community development organizations in Detroit.
  • $500,000 to the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network in support of its planned Detroit Food Commons, a complex planned for the North End, to include a cooperatively owned grocery store, an incubator kitchen for culinary artists and food entrepreneurs, a café and community gathering space.

Other groups receiving support include: the NAACP, New Detroit, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, American Citizens for Justice, the LIVE6 Alliance and FORCE Detroit, a group that focuses on leadership development for youth leaders of color and convening the Live Free Coalition of interfaith, grassroots and public sector leaders for hard conversations about complex community issues from water shutoffs to regional transportation and violence prevention.

The Detroit organizations, most led by people of color, need greater access to grants and capital and to long-term equitable support, said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program, in a release.

“This is the time where we’re going to meet the (Black Lives Matter) movement, to deepen our investments related to racial equity and racial justice in the city of Detroit. The expansion of opportunity that we seek cannot come without racial and economic justice.”

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