Community Foundation Awards First Grants from the Detroit Neighborhood Fund

More than $4 million awarded to build stronger and healthier neighborhoods.

Detroit, MI, September 12, 2008 --( The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan ( today announced more than $4 million in grants to benefit Detroit’s near-eastside neighborhoods adjacent to the newly transformed east riverfront. These are the first program grants to be made from the Community Foundation’s $15 million Detroit Neighborhood Fund, made possible by a partnership with the W. K Kellogg Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

“These grants are the Foundation’s investment in the future of Detroit’s neighborhoods,” said Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation. “They support efforts led by residents and capable organizations and institutions that are part of and committed to the community for the long term. In each case, these projects will make an immediate difference. They also will have a ripple effect that builds momentum and encourages others to invest and get involved in making Detroit’s near-eastside neighborhoods a model of urban living.”

Involved residents and engaged community organizations are essential to strong and healthy neighborhoods. With these grants, the Community Foundation is supporting the development of a new neighborhood center, school-community partnerships, an alliance of senior citizens, a community planning charrette and community programming on the riverfront.

“Large, long-term investments are sometimes required to dramatically affect the vitality of a neighborhood, open up new opportunities, change attitudes and encourage new investment,” said Larry Coppard, senior consultant to the Community Foundation. “For this reason, grants have been made to help expand retail services along Jefferson Avenue, open a new grocery store in Lafayette Park, build a new school close to the riverfront and increase pedestrian access to the Eastern Market.”

The Detroit Neighborhood Fund grants and grantees include:

Detroit Economic Growth Corp. - $1.25 million for the Jefferson Retail Readiness Program

The Jefferson Retail Readiness Program will provide financial incentives to encourage new retail development along East Jefferson that serves those that live and work in the area. Through this program property owners and businesses will have access to funds to leverage additional financing to make exterior and interior building improvements necessary to open new businesses.

Shorebank Enterprise Detroit - $150,000 for the establishment of a neighborhood grocery store

This project will assist Shorebank Enterprise Detroit in providing financing and additional help to open a full service grocery store in the Lafayette Park neighborhood.

New Urban Learning - $1.5 million for site acquisition and construction of University Prep Science and Math High School

This new high school will be built in the Riverfront Development District and provide a globally competitive education in mathematics and science. The school will focus on strong student-teacher relationships, individualized learning and internships in the community.

Communities in Schools of Detroit Inc. - $250,000 for the Riverfront Village Schools Initiative

The Riverfront Village Schools Initiative is open to all 16 public and private schools in the near-eastside neighborhoods. It will build community school partnerships that will encourage improved student performance and school programming by drawing on community resources and creating supportive relationships with parents, residents and local businesses.

Friends School in Detroit Inc. - $225,000 for a community building initiative

This initiative will involve residents and community organizations in the Lafayette Park and Elmwood neighborhoods. Using Friends School as a venue the initiative will sponsor community events, expand cultural and recreational opportunities and address community problems.

Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit - $100,000 for the initial planning of the extension of the Dequindre Cut Greenway

This project will explore ways of extending the existing Dequindre Cut Greenway from Gratiot Avenue to provide direct and safe pedestrian access to the Eastern Market for residents in the adjacent neighborhoods.

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy - $500,000 to create a sustainable community programming unit

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy will establish a permanent unit to work with community organizations, churches, schools and businesses to develop recreational, fitness, cultural and educational programming attractive to near-eastside residents.

Adult Well-Being Services - $150,000 for the Senior Alliance Initiative

The Senior Alliance Initiative will involve senior residents in developing social programs for seniors and working with local agencies to make their community more senior-friendly.

Adult Well-Being Services/Villages Community Development Corp. - $35,000 for the Strong Communities Initiative

The Strong Communities Initiative will involve residents in several near-eastside neighborhoods by organizing a community-wide planning charrette in cooperation with local universities. The goal is to identify steps that can be taken to do such things as making their neighborhoods more walkable, increase use of parks, expand recreational opportunities and make commercial areas safer and more attractive.

The Community Foundation through its Detroit Neighborhood Fund is helping to build stronger and healthier neighborhoods on Detroit’s near-eastside. The Foundation is doing this by encouraging collaboration and stimulating investment of financial and human capital.

The Community Foundation supports people and organizations that are working to make their communities better and create positive change. Information about Community Foundation and its work throughout southeast Michigan can be found by visiting the Foundation’s Web site, or by calling 313.961.6675.

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
Mike Ingberg
Theresa Fraley
(313) 961-6675