The Kresge Foundation centers equity as one of its organizational values
Kresge’s core purpose is the expansion of opportunity in America’s cities.
To achieve this goal, Kresge staff commit to and imbue into their work the foundation’s organizational values of respect, partnership, stewardship, opportunity and creativity. Recognizing that true opportunity can never be achieved until institutional, structural and systemic racism are overcome, Kresge adopted in 2019 a sixth value — equity — to infuse the principles of fairness and justice into every facet of our grantmaking, social investing and operations.
The special moment in which we find ourselves — one defined by new understandings of and renewed calls for what equity, justice and fairness should be in the United States — required Kresge to excavate its own bedrock values.
At the same time, Kresge also issued an equity statement acknowledging the “pervasive, enduring, corrosive and invidious impediments to racial equity and racial justice” that have shaped this country since its inception. Kresge’s mission can only be achieved “when those impediments have been dismantled and pathways of equitable opportunity substituted in their place.”
But beyond these words, Kresge is raising consciousness about what equity means, and what it requires of us both in our work in cities and within our own four walls.
By evaluating its work and real-world impact through an equity lens, Kresge is looking at who is at the table — and who is on the sidelines; who is contributing — and who is making decisions. Kresge is also assessing how its actions and processes can accelerate — or have the potential to impede — the operationalization of equity inside and outside the organization.
Kresge’s journey is one of constant movement as staff members collaborate with each other and external partners to listen, learn, test and act to initiate changes toward equity.
In this way, Kresge recognizes that any meaningful advancement of equity outside its walls begins with internal transformation and a willingness to be transformed by its partners — a never-ending dialectic of Inside Out & Outside In.
After all, equity is a journey whose destination has not yet been seen, but for which Kresge and its partners strive to reach each and every day.
Our equity statement is a clarion call for all of our staff who endlessly work to ensure that the world is more equitable and more just.
Our Statement on Equity
Equity to us means that all people — regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, zip code, health and ability status or any other consideration — have equal and inviolable dignity, value and opportunity to participate justly, fairly and fully in all dimensions of civic and economic life . . . to prosper . . . and to reach their full potential.
Since this country’s inception, every facet of community life has been shaped by pervasive, enduring, corrosive and invidious structural and institutional impediments to racial equity and racial justice. The progress toward urban opportunity to which Kresge is dedicated cannot be accomplished without an explicit acknowledgment that these impediments have caused communities of color to suffer systemic and systematic underinvestment, active disenfranchisement, pernicious prejudice and visceral intolerance. Kresge’s mission will be realized only when those impediments have been dismantled and pathways of equitable opportunity substituted in their place.
We commit to examining in all ways and at every opportunity how our foundation’s work can repair, heal and renew communities to be places where diversity thrives, where inclusion and belonging is the norm, and where equity in all its forms is the outcome.
That commitment begins inside our own organization. We welcome difficult conversations and commit to continuous learning about how to do better. Through critical examination of the values, implicit biases, policies and practices that drive both our internal culture and external engagements, we will strive to fashion an institutional role that propels, rather than impedes, progress for the communities we aim to serve. We are unequivocal in our commitment to equity. We invite all to join us in it . . . hold us to it . . . help us deepen it . . . and persevere until we achieve it.