The Kresge Foundation was started in 1924 by Sebastian Kresge, who began the chains of department stores that became Kmart. Before the Giving Pledge, Kresge left 90% of his net worth to the foundation.
“We’ve given away roughly $4 billion in our 99 years of existence,” said John A. Barker, Chief Investment Officer of the Kresge Foundation. “Through luck and skill, we grew our endowment to just over $4 billion.”
2005 was a pivotal year. Rip Rapson came on board as president and CEO. The foundation transitioned from making charitable capital investments that primarily fund buildings at higher education institutions to donations to nonprofits that serve low-income people living in American cities. The foundation focuses on healthcare, education, human services, the environment, and culture. It donates about $150 – $165 million per year.