TROY, Mich., Aug 25, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Economic-crisis relief is an ongoing theme for the Michigan-based private foundation.
The Kresge Foundation's grantmaking continues to seek a balance between responding to the immediate hardships arising from the economic downturn and the longer-term challenges of addressing enduring social, environmental, and economic problems. At its second-quarter board meeting in June, Trustees awarded 73 grants totaling $26 million for nonprofit organizations in 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Ireland.
"We want to help move the needle and alleviate some small measure of human suffering now by supporting organizations that are working on the frontlines to assist those most affected by the downturn in the economy," says Elaine D. Rosen, chair of the Board of Trustees.
Grants were made in Kresge's six fields of interest -- human services, health, arts and culture, education, community development and the environment. In each field, awards were made to provide short-term relief while also contributing to the build-out of the 85-year-old foundation's strategic objectives.
"At the same time we seek to buttress these lifeline organizations," says Rip Rapson, president of the foundation, "we have to bear in mind that the underlying challenges they face pre-existed the economic recession and will continue once economic conditions improve."
"In each of our fields of interest," he continues, "we work steadily to chip away at some of the most intractable problems affecting low-income and vulnerable populations. At the same time, there is a palpable urgency to our efforts as we take immediate action to assist those individuals and communities hardest hit by the recession. As in past quarters, the grants awarded in June reflect this."
Human Services: Food, shelter, and emergency assistance
Food banks, homeless shelters, legal outreach and child-support services were the primary recipients of Kresge's awards in the human services field.
Anticipating a 12 percent increase in demand for food in Arizona, St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix received a $1 million grant. The nation's oldest food bank (founded in 1967), it currently works in partnership with 500 human service organizations at 700 sites -- domestic violence shelters, senior centers, churches, and transitional housing facilities, among others -- to distribute nearly 45-million pounds of food annually, including to 25 Kid's Cafes, food centers that provide meals to youngsters eligible for free or reduced school-lunch programs. St. Mary's saw a 36 percent increase in the number of meals delivered in November and December 2008 in comparison to the same period in 2007.
MUST Ministries, which received a $500,000 grant, provides housing to those in need of shelter in metropolitan Atlanta. The organization offers emergency shelter for those needing short-term assistance -- up to six weeks -- as well as transitional housing for up to six months, and permanent shelter for the chronically homeless, many of whom are mentally or physically disabled. "The grant funding will contribute to an overall expansion effort to increase much-needed services," explains Rapson, "including increasing the number of beds available, expanding the health clinic, establishing a food bank and clothes closet, and offering employment training."
Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, a San Francisco-based firm offering legal, social and educational services in 13 languages, helps residents of some of the poorest neighborhoods in the greater bay region in the areas of elder abuse, domestic violence, immigrant rights and youth violence protection. A grant of $130,000 will contribute to the organization's efforts to expand their reach to other underserved areas where language barriers prevent access to needed services.
Health: Environmental quality and health-care delivery
Kresge's Health Program has focused its grantmaking in three areas: fostering safe, healthy places for vulnerable populations to live, work and play; supporting health-care safety-net institutions in underserved urban and rural areas; and exploring, testing and promoting new methods for improving the health of those living in poor and low-income neighborhoods.
The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy illustrates Kresge's work in promoting healthy environments. The organization, which received a $300,000 grant, works to improve environmental conditions that contribute to poor health as well as increase access to employment, quality health care, and fresh foods, among other measures. Kresge's grant will go toward efforts to reduce truck emissions in the neighborhoods adjacent to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach -- the nation's two busiest ports, handling 40 percent of container shipping in the United States. Almost 44 percent of the families living in the Long Beach area live below the federal poverty level and have disproportionately higher rates of respiratory disease and cancer.
HealthNet, a federally qualified health center in inner-city Indianapolis, is a network of five primary-care health centers, an obstetrics and gynecology center, a pediatric/adolescent-care center, eight school-based clinics and support services. With a $250,000 grant from Kresge, the nonprofit plans to expand into a nearby facility in order to more efficiently serve its 50,000-plus clients -- men, women and children -- 74 percent of whom live below the federal poverty level.
With a $500,000 grant to the Medical Legal Partnership for Children, a national health-care/legal intervention model based at Boston Medical Center, Kresge is helping the program grow its operation and plan for its long-term sustainability. Medical Legal Partnership consists of 80 partnerships in 160 hospitals and health centers and exemplifies an emerging and promising practice.
"This organization is transforming the delivery of primary care to low-income children and their families," Rapson says. "They have found that many health problems, such as asthma, need legal as well as medical attention. They bring lawyers and other legal services into the clinical setting to help address the social and environmental factors that influence health."
Arts and Culture: Supporting artists, promoting community engagement
With a $300,000 grant to the Cultural Development Corporation in Washington, D.C., Kresge is investing in an organization that creates affordable housing and studio space for artists, offers technical, business-management advice to arts and cultural organizations and artists trying to earn a living from their work, and operates two facilities that provide affordable rehearsal, performance, exhibition and administrative space for individual artists and arts and cultural organizations.
"Grants to organizations such as the Cultural Development Corporation are always necessary," Rapson continues, "because arts and culture are an essential component of community life. In times like these, supporting the arts is absolutely essential -- they are community assets that offer hope in times of distress."
A $600,000 grant to the Erie Art Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania, was made for the same reason. The museum, which attracts more than 40,000 visitors a year, nurtures community engagement through its exhibits, art classes, lectures and concerts. It also supports arts organizations and local artists, leads a jobs-training program for refugees, and offers Kids as Curator, its largest educational program teaching urban, rural and suburban middle-school children how to curate, interpret, design and install exhibits that are tied to science, language arts and other academic subjects. Seventy-five percent of all visitors and program attendees at Erie Arts participate free of charge.
In other fields, awards were made to environmental organizations working to advance energy efficiency, higher-education institutions and community development organizations. Twenty-five grants were made in Michigan, predominately in the metropolitan-Detroit area, the home of the Kresge Foundation.
Here is a list of grants approved in the second quarter of 2009:
(The list includes current and future planned grants.)
St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance Phoenix $1,000,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco San Francisco $800,000
Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy Los Angeles $300,000
Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach San Francisco $130,000
Pacific Clinics Arcadia $150,000
San Francisco Medical Center Outpatient San Francisco $250,000
Improvement Program, Inc.
University of California - Santa Barbara Santa Barbara $176,073
COMPA Ministries Denver $250,000
Fort Lewis College Durango $1,000,000
District of Columbia
Alliance to Save Energy Washington $650,000
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Washington $800,000
American Rivers, Inc. Washington $800,000
Cultural Development Corporation Washington $300,000
Defenders of Wildlife Washington $800,000
Grantmakers In Health Washington $10,000
Independent Sector Washington $125,000
National Housing Trust Washington $375,000
The National Alliance for Hispanic Health Washington $250,000
Children's Home Society of Florida - Ft. Pierce $500,000
Treasure Coast Division
MUST Ministries Marietta $500,000
Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, Inc. Atlanta $750,000
Hawaii Building Industry Foundation Honolulu $250,000
HealthNet, Inc. Indianapolis $250,000
Louisiana Public Health Institute New Orleans $250,000
Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans New Orleans $75,000
Boston Medical Center Boston $500,000
Stockholm Environment Institute U.S., Inc. Somerville $250,000
Accounting Aid Society Taylor $220,000
Alternatives for Girls Detroit $225,000
American Civil Liberties Union Fund of Detroit $225,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan Farmington $15,000
City Connect Detroit, Inc. Detroit $60,000
Community Legal Resources Detroit $332,640
Copper Country Community Arts Council Hancock $60,000
Detroit Area Agency on Aging Detroit $100,000
Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program Detroit $450,000
Detroit Educational Television Foundation Wixom $474,000
Detroit Zoological Society Royal Oak $225,000
Fair Food Network Ann Arbor $980,000
Hope Medical Clinic, Inc. Ypsilanti $400,000
Junior Achievement of Southeastern MI Detroit $225,000
Macomb Community College Warren $620,000
Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance Lansing $100,000
Michigan's Children Lansing $250,000
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Detroit $60,000
Next Detroit Neighborhood Initiative Detroit $200,000
St. Paul's United Methodist Church Rochester $100,000
The Baldwin Center Pontiac $100,000
Think Detroit PAL Detroit $400,000
United Way for Southeastern Michigan Detroit $500,000
University Cultural Center Association Detroit $250,000
Virginia Park Henry Ford Hospital Non-Profit Detroit $275,000
Augsburg College Minneapolis $50,000
Neighborhood Development Center Saint Paul $400,000
Arts & Education Council of Greater St. Louis St. Louis $200,000
Mississippi Children's Home Services Jackson $460,000
The Center for Community Transitions Charlotte $140,000
2030, Inc. / Architecture 2030 Santa Fe $400,000
Natural Resources Defense Council New York $75,000
Natural Resources Defense Council New York $750,000
Sustainable South Bronx Bronx $300,000
World Hunger Year, Inc. New York $200,000
The Children's Home of Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati $300,000
Ecotrust Portland $100,000
Community College of Philadelphia Philadelphia $1,200,000
Energy Coordinating Agency Philadelphia $240,000
Erie Art Museum Erie $600,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of Edinburg Rio Grande Edinburg $800,000
National Wildlife Federation Reston $75,000
Virginia Organizing Project, Inc. Charlottesville $600,000
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Williston $300,000
Future Generations Franklin $50,000
Lyric Theatre Belfast, County $850,000