Rip Rapson is president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation. Since his appointment in 2006, Rapson has led the 95-year-old foundation to adopt an array of grantmaking and investing tools to improve the economic, social, cultural, and environmental conditions of urban life.
Rapson began his career as a legislative assistant to U.S. Rep. Don Fraser. After attending law school, Rapson became increasingly interested in philanthropy’s role in urban and economic development while representing several Minnesota nonprofit organizations as a partner at Leonard, Street & Dienard. Rapson later served as the deputy mayor of Minneapolis from 1989 to 1993 and was the primary architect of its neighborhood revitalization program. In 1993, Rapson was named a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Design Center for American Urban Studies. While at the Design Center, he also served as a consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Rapson was appointed president of the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis in 1999.
Rapson currently serves as board chair of Living Cities and ArtPlace America, and is a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Detroit Branch, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Downtown Detroit Partnership, and M-1 Rail.
Rapson earned a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College and a Juris Doctorate from Columbia University Law School. He is the recipient of dozens of philanthropic and civic honors and accolades.