A behind-the-scenes look into the unlikely partnerships, unique collaborations, variety of financial tools and bold bets led by The Kresge Foundation during a 13 year period in Detroit to catalyze a sustainable and equitable recovery for the city and all of its residents.
“…the story of one major American foundation finding its way in the modern landscape of foundations and of how, with many partners, it could 'promote human progress' in its home of Detroit.”
“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency.”
— Daniel H. Burnham, 1907
For close to 50 years, Detroit has held a peculiar fascination for American philanthropy. The prospect of reversing a steep and accelerating decline, a cause at once tantalizing and forbidding, has drawn a number of foundations into repeated, often unsatisfying, efforts at novel civicphilanthropic initiatives there. Like Kafka’s castle, the city’s unique history of triumphs and crises has loomed on the philanthropic horizon as alluring yet stubbornly impenetrable.
Tony Proscio is associate director of the Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society at Duke University and a consultant to foundations and major nonprofit organizations on strategic planning and evaluation. He is co-author, with Paul S. Grogan, of Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Neighborhood Revival (Westview Press 2000), and author of Becoming What We Can Be: Stories of Community Development in Washington, DC (LISC, 2012). A Detroit native, he has held executive positions in New York State and City government and in the 1990s was associate editor of The Miami Herald.
Myron Farber is an award-winning former investigative reporter for The New York Times. From 2001 to 2014, he conducted oral histories for Columbia University on the 9/11 attack, capital punishment, the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and American philanthropy. Educated at the University of Maryland and Northwestern University, he has contributed to Vanity Fair and Smithsonian magazines and is the author of Somebody is Lying: The Story of Dr. X.
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