Levine Museum of the New South Receives Transformative Grant from The Kresge Foundation
August 20, 2012 — Levine Museum of the New South has been awarded a grant of $890,000 from the nationally renowned Kresge Foundation as part of its Facility Investments and Building Reserves grant program.
Highly competitive and now in its final year, the Facility Investment and Building Reserves program's goal is to help communities use arts and culture as a tool to create healthy, vibrant communities. Applicants were required to examine their comprehensive capitalization plans and annual costs associated with operating and maintaining the physical infrastructure. In October 2011, the foundation announced the 2012 grants would be the last for this particular program.
As a result, Kresge received 372 applications from 44 states requesting over $263 million. Levine Museum was one of nine organizations awarded a grant.
With Kresge's support Levine Museum will be able to make long-overdue and much needed building repairs and improvements, including replacement of a compromised roof and re-cladding of the building exterior, as well as fully fund plant reserves. Without Kresge's grant, these initiatives would have taken an estimated ten years to complete and also would have been vulnerable to any negative shift in the economy. Not only will these imitative be addressed in a more accelerated timeframe, but museum staff and board members will now be able to focus fundraising efforts on programming and exhibits and growing the endowment.
"We were particularly impressed with Levine's focus on history as a catalyst for civic engagement and dialogue and in its efforts in redefining the role museums can play in the civic life of their communities," shared Alice Carle, Program Director of Kresge. "Levine also presented a comprehensive capitalization plan designed to support and strengthen its ability to deliver on this mission and we are proud to help support that plan."
"Receiving the news of this remarkable grant will go down as a very special milestone in the history of Levine Museum," stated museum president Emily Zimmern. "Because Levine Museum owns its building, we face steeper challenges in shaping a sustainable business model than institutions who operate in city-owned facilities. Our fixed costs are significantly higher and include all capital repairs and replacement costs, as well as building operations. We are incredibly grateful to Kresge for helping us achieve a sounder capital structure." In addition, the Kresge grant will have an impact beyond the awarded $890,000. It will be matched dollar for dollar by the Leon Levine Foundation 10-year, $3 million challenge grant announced in April 2011.
About The Kresge Foundation The Kresge Foundation, headquartered in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan was established in 1924, with an initial gift of $1.6 million from Sebastian Spering Kresge. Twelve years earlier, he and his business partner, John G. McCrory, opened the first five-and-10-cent store, a revolutionary merchandising idea at the time that years later became known as Kmart. Now, the Kresge Foundation is one of the largest, private foundations in the country with more than $3.1 billion in assets.