Kresge Foundation Commits $150 Million to Help Implement Detroit Future City Plan

Kresge Foundation Commits $150 Million to Help Implement Detroit Future City Plan

The Kresge Foundation has pledged $150 million over five years toward implementation of the Detroit Future City strategy, the Detroit Free Press reports.

The funds will help support implementation of hundreds of recommendations for urban renewal listed in the report Detroit Future City (347 pages, PDF), ranging from increasing job-training programs, to bolstering transit options for city residents, to creating "blue" and "green" infrastructure in the form of farms on vacant lands and artificial ponds and lakes designed to capture rainwater and reduce runoff into the city's overburdened sewer and drainage systems. The Kresge commitment will be awarded in the form of numerous grants to separate initiatives and many current grantees under the Detroit Future City umbrella.

Since 2007, the foundation has awarded an average of $25 million a year in support of Detroit-based projects; its new commitment of $30 million annually represents 20 percent of the foundation's grantmaking budget over the five-year period, up from 10 percent before 2002, the Free Press reports.

Two years in the making, the plan is designed to leverage the vitality of existing neighborhoods with robust economic and demographic anchors to create "new densities" that can more easily be served by city agencies with limited resources, while helping residents move out of depopulated areas that no longer receive a full complement of city services. While the plan does not include cost estimates, everyone involved agrees it will require billions of dollars to fully implement. The Kresge and W.K. Kellogg foundations have jointly committed $3 million to the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation to hire a project team to oversee the early stages of implementation. Other funders pledging financial support for the effort include the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Ford, Knight, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family, and Hudson-Webber foundations.

During a press conference to unveil the report, Kresge Foundation president Rip Rapson said that large amounts of money from multiple sources, including the federal government, had already been committed to Detroit, and he noted that success would depend to a significant degree on reallocating available funds rather than finding new sources of funding. "It is a fundamental belief on our part," said Rapson, "that every dollar we spend simply has to reinforce the spirit, the letter, and the intent of this plan."