The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has approved up to $35 million to support a strategy for redeveloping downtown Battle Creek, Michigan, the Foundation’s hometown.
The redevelopment strategy was recently announced by Battle Creek Unlimited (BCU), a local economic development organization. The plan calls for leveraging current and future investments in food science, technology and education to revitalize the downtown area. Elements of BCU’s announcement include a new green office building planned by the Kellogg Company, infrastructure improvements to the downtown gateway, establishment of a research center in food sciences and food protection, as well as other collaborative efforts among the schools, and downtown recreation facilities.
Kellogg Foundation funds will be invested as opportunities arise that resonate with the Foundation’s mission and vision of building a nation where all children thrive.
“It’s a natural fit for us,” said Sterling Speirn, the Foundation’s president and chief executive officer. “We have a historic commitment to investing in the assets of the community in which we are based. We also have a rich legacy of funding food science and healthy living programs, as well as education. By building on both our legacy and existing community assets, this project will help position Battle Creek as a world leader in food science research and place innovation at the center of the community’s ongoing downtown revitalization efforts.”
Speirn said that the Foundation is pleased with the plan developed by Battle Creek Unlimited and looks forward to helping leverage the investments being made by the Kellogg Company and other partners in the community. Over the next several months, he said, the Kellogg Foundation will be taking a closer look at the project as it unfolds and deciding how its investments can best help the community achieve its goals. The Foundation is committed to working with Battle Creek Unlimited to strengthen the downtown economy by improving its aesthetics and reactivating commerce, he said.
“We’re particularly excited about the potential for building a community that actively engages scientists, young people and educators in learning and discovery around the critical issues of food supply and safety,” Speirn said. “We believe the Battle Creek New Vision project will help transform the hometown of our founder, W.K. Kellogg, into a 21st Century community with a global purpose – one that ties together its health and wellness legacy with the growing challenges of food quality, safety and protection,” Speirn said. “These are important issues for the Kellogg Foundation and we look forward to supporting this effort in meaningful ways.”
Read the Battle Creek Enquirer story highlighting this announcement.