Interview with Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation

Rip Rapson is the quintessential mid-westerner: quiet, modest, the last person in the world to toot his own horn. But if you look at what he’s accomplished and the insight he brings to his current work, you’ll get a much better picture of who he is and the challenging, important work he spearheads at the Kresge Foundation.

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to speak with him, trace his experiences and the projects he conceived or championed over the years (some of which we’ve written about, but, not surprisingly, without his name attached to them) and drill into the opportunities and difficulties faced by a large philanthropic organization as it works to integrate its grant making interests with the way real communities operate—as dynamic entities with systems that fully integrate, even if they do so in a seriously dysfunctional way.

One interest Kresge has is in arts and culture, and we spent some extra time talking with him about the importance and role of arts and culture in community health and development.