The Kresge Foundation has announced  a  new comprehensive grantmaking programs:  The Environment Program. With the announcement of this new program, the foundation is expanding its commitment and narrowing its focus in each field for maximum long-term impact in its strategic areas of interest.  The Environment Program addresses environment-related social issues, particularly those affecting minority, low-income, and other underserved communities. The Environment Program seeks to have tangible effects on the practices and policies associated with climate change and environmental sustainability. The programs are in the development stage; program teams will be refining their grantmaking focus and strategy over the next year.

Our Environment Program works in partnership with like-minded organizations to protect the planet and promote its long-term sustainability for future generations.

We are a national foundation that has been advocating environmental conservation for many years, especially through our Green Building Initiative. In June 2008, we decided to elevate this interest and expand it into a major, comprehensive program to cultivate solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate renewable energy technologies, and support efforts to help society adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Our programmatic approach

Grantmaking strategies within the Environment Program will take shape over the next year. Our work at this time is focused in three broad areas of relevance to climate change:

* Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment
* Accelerating the adoption of renewable energy technologies, with a preliminary interest in the Midwestern United States
* Developing strategies for helping society adapt to the anticipated, negative impacts of climate change

Because the program is in the development stage, we are currently accepting only foundation-initiated proposals for projects other than facilities capital and green planning grants. This practice will be in place until the program’s long-term, strategic direction is determined.

(See below for information on the Green Building Initiative and the facilities capital challenge grant program.)

How we work

In 2007, the Kresge Foundation began an expansion of its grantmaking to better address society’s pressing issues. We believe we have a moral obligation to use our assets for the highest possible good and have elevated nine values – our values criteria – to guide us in our efforts.

Our work is national in scope and devoted to six fields of interest, including the environment. “Over the long term, the new Environment Program aspires to have tangible effects on the policies and practices associated with climate change and environmental sustainability,” says Lois R. DeBacker, program director and Environment Program team leader. “We are particularly interested in strategies that cut across sectors and disciplines.

The Environment Team seeks to work in collaboration with others. We will employ the full array of tools available to support policy work, applied research, communications and advocacy, and general support for organizations whose work directly corresponds with Kresge’s values and the priorities of this program.

With rare exceptions, only projects that address climate change will be competitive for funding, including awards made within our facilities capital Challenge Grant as is described below.

Our process for funding projects

Environment Team members initiate project proposals from organizations that we know are advancing Kresge’s values while doing innovative and exemplary work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment, accelerate the adoption of renewable energy technologies, and develop strategies for adaptation to climate change. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted at this time.

We are interested, however, in learning about new projects that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation so that our program planning can be informed by the new and novel ideas of those working in the field.

Nonprofit organizations working at the state or national level on climate change projects may contact the Environment Team with an e-mail of 500 words or less that describes how the project idea will advance Kresge’s values and help us further the goals of the Environment Program. Your e-mail will be reviewed, and we will respond to let you know whether your proposed idea has potential for grant funding.

Requests for green planning grants

The Green Building Initiative is now a facet of the Environment Program. Through the initiative, we award planning grants to nonprofit organizations to underwrite the integrated design process necessary for historic preservation, green renovation, or new construction that aims to achieve the highest levels of environmental sustainability. The application process and eligibility information can be found on the Green Building Initiative page linked above.

Requests for facilities capital

Successful requests for facilities capital are awarded as challenge grants. We consider the relevance of the proposed project to the mitigation of or adaptation to climate change as well as its ability to advance Kresge’s values criteria. Values of particular importance for facilities projects in the environmental field include environmental conservation, creating opportunity, innovation, collaboration and diversity.

Organizations interested in applying for facilities capital should visit the Challenge Grant page and apply following its application process. It may be helpful to read more about our values criteria before beginning the process.


Who may apply?

* 501(c)(3) organizations that are not classified as private foundations and have financial statements prepared and certified by a certified public accountant in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or Government Accounting Standards. (In rare instances, exceptions are made and this requirement is temporarily waived.)
* Government entities that have financial statements prepared and certified by a certified public accountant in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or Government Accounting Standards. (In rare instances, exceptions are made and this requirement is temporarily waived.)

Who may not apply?

* Individuals and elementary and secondary schools are ineligible and may not apply.

If you have questions, e-mail the Grants Inquiry Coordinator or call 248-643-9630.

The Kresge Foundation
3215 West Big Beaver Road
Troy, Michigan 48084
248.643.9630 telephone
248.643.0588 fax

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

Line Break

Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine,, Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine,, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.