TROY -- The Kresge Foundation isn't the same organization it was five years ago. And now the 87-year-old foundation has a new Web site that fully reflects its evolved priorities.
Kresge has shifted from helping to build the nation's nonprofit infrastructure -- hospitals, libraries, academic buildings -- to helping nonprofit organizations address some of society's most pressing problems.
Kresge recently unveiled a new website at kresge.org that gives visitors not only a better sense of the type of projects it supports, but also a more straightforward path to apply for funding, and many more ways to stay in the know about the foundation's work.
"This represents everything new that Kresge has been developing over the last four years -- our new direction, our expansion of grantmaking and investing," says Kresge Foundation Communications Director Cynthia Shaw. "This site is the embodiment of that work."
See foundation president Rip Rapson discuss Kresge's work in a video at www.youtube.com/user/TheKresgeFoundation.
The new Web design revolves around Kresge's seven program areas -- Arts and Culture, Community Development, Detroit, Education, Environment, Health, and Human Services -- and puts stories of the real-world work being done by Kresge grantees front and center in interactive photo tiles strung across the top of each page.
"We worked to deliver engaging visuals and made sure there was strong content behind them," Shaw says. "We hope visitors will gain some solid knowledge about what we're doing and why we're doing it. The site showcases the work of our grantees, so it's both instructional and a way for us to advocate on their behalf."
Visitors can quickly learn what type of projects the foundation funds, and easily find their way to the online application.
"What's different is grantseekers can go to 'apply for funding' and can find out with one click what is open and what is not," Shaw says. "We wanted to make it so easy for them to make the determination, 'Do I fit, or don't I?'"
And because the site now features email subscription, along with a customizable RSS feed, visitors of all tech abilities can subscribe to updates and know right away if a new grant opportunity opens.
The site also links to Kresge's new social media presence -- Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, and a blog. Each gives visitors a new way to follow and share what's happening at the foundation.
Kresge selected Drupal, an open-source content-management system, for the site. It was designed and built by Q Ltd., design consultants with offices in Ann Arbor and San Francisco. The site's information architecture and user experience strategy was developed by Peter Morville of Semantic Studios and a strategic adviser at Q Ltd.
"In the beginning design process, we had a few different designs and I think we had a sense of which one we'd like to go with," Morville said. "Kresge chose the more ambitious, edgy design. It was more challenging to implement but I think it strikes a nice balance between ease-of-use and being a fun, interesting site to explore."
Staff members from across the foundation contributed to a months-long process of developing new content.
In a separate, but parallel effort, Kresge staff members refined a pilot online application system. The Web site provides a portal to that system, MicroEdge's Internet Grant Application Module, or IGAM. Applications begun before the change are not affected.
For more information contact Cynthia B. Shaw, firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-643-9630.
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