Rip Rapson, attorney and expert in urban policy, is president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, a $3.7 billion national, private foundation based in Detroit. Rapson came to Kresge in 2006 and led the philanthropy in a multiyear transition to expand and recalibrate its grantmaking. Strategically focused programs emerged: arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. Each program seeks to expand opportunities in America’s cities so that vulnerable people can lead self-determined lives and access the economic mainstream.
Rapson has helped lead a partnership of private, public and philanthropic funders to revitalize the city of Detroit, including the construction of the first leg of a light rail line, M-1 Rail. He worked with other philanthropic leaders to create a $366 million fund — Foundation for Detroit’s Future — to blunt the impact of municipal bankruptcy on city of Detroit pensioners and safeguard city-owned holdings at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Moderator: Jane Wales, vice president, The Aspen Institute