Expanding opportunities in America’s cities
Kresge Annual Reports

Letter from the Board Chair

As you have read in the first half of this annual report, 2006 marks the beginning of a transformation at The Kresge Foundation. Like all strong organizations we at Kresge are seeking to continually advance our mission and increase the influence we have on our changing and increasingly challenging world. With the arrival of our new CEO, Rip Rapson, it seemed an opportune time for us to reassess and update how, in the words of Sebastian S. Kresge, we “promote the well-being of mankind” in the 21st century.

The Board of Trustees, with the able leadership of our former president John Marshall III, has advanced the reach and reputation of the foundation. The national landscape is dotted with capital projects that stand today as a result of Kresge’s distinctive challenge grant program. Nonprofit organizations were able to reach their fundraising goals and construct facilities of value to their communities. Equally important, 37 they gained from the Kresge model new knowledge for expanding and strengthening their base of donor support and becoming more practiced in strategic planning and development.

In our selection of Rip Rapson as Kresge’s sixth president, we have found a leader who brings vision, judgment, experience and deep belief in the power of well-focused philanthropy. He is ideally suited to thoughtfully and systematically stretch our efforts and realize our aspirations for ever greater impact on vital areas of need. He has embraced with genuine excitement the opportunities inherent in times of change yet is respectful of and committed to maintaining all that has been so important to The Kresge Foundation and our various constituencies for so long.

The Kresge Foundation is known for its steadfast dedication to and great success with the capital challenge grant model. That has been our strength and, of late, has served as a vehicle to inform us of how much more we can do. The evolving needs of the nonprofit community, which we have witnessed from our unique vantage point, prompt us to expand our efforts to improve and enrich the lives of our fellow human beings.

Since our last annual report, John Marshall, our CEO of 27 years, retired and our long-time friend and 38 fellow board member, Robert C. Larson, stepped aside following 13 years of dedicated service. We also were pleased to welcome two new board members, James L. Bildner and David W. Horvitz.

The Kresge Foundation Board of Trustees never loses sight of the fact that this highly regarded national institution is also a family foundation. Consistent family participation has kept us true to our mission and ever cognizant of the generosity that gave life to the work we do today. In the coming months we will be forging a new path, determined to foster a transformation that couples agility and innovation with the consistency, responsibility and quiet leadership that has defined The Kresge Foundation. We — the Board of Trustees — are proud to serve at this special moment in time. 

Elaine D. Rosen
Chairwoman of the Board
The Kresge Foundation