Human Services, Health Organizations and Transit Receive a Majority of Kresge's Nearly $73 Million in First Quarter Grants
"There is an intimate link between human health and the quality of one's environment," Rapson explains. "Air quality is, for example, an environmental health issue. The number-one predictor of high school drop-out rates is a child's attendance. Children with asthma miss a great deal of school. Improving air quality reduces the incidents of asthma, which can, in turn, be a factor in increasing graduation rates."
Detroit: A catalytic investment for today and tomorrow
The over-arching purpose of Kresge's community development work in its hometown is strengthening the City of Detroit's economic, social and cultural fabric. The trustees broke new ground by approving a $35 million investment in the Lower Woodward Light Rail Project (M-1 RAIL), a $120-million transit line that will run along Woodward Avenue from the Detroit River to the New Center area.
"There is no more important investment this region can make in its future health and vitality than a regional mass transit system," says Rapson. "The Woodward line will signal metropolitan Detroit's willingness to jump-start our region's aspiration to create such a system. It will connect inner-city residents with job opportunities. It will give rise to more intensive, sensible land-use, tying neighborhood residents to new community development opportunities. It will draw together a variety of private, philanthropic, public, and nonprofit activities now in place to promote the retention and attraction of talent in the heart of the city."
The light rail investment advances multiple strategic objectives on the part of Kresge. Its 13 planned stations will spur commercial and residential revitalization while linking the city's major arts and cultural institutions and athletic arenas. Because light rail is a clean transportation source and should reduce the number of cars on area roads, the system is expected to reduce carbon emissions, helping to protect the region's air quality and its substantial natural resources.