Detroit Future City to Become Independent Non-profit An Exciting Step in its Evolution

June 12, 2015

The DFC Implementation Office announced it will launch its next phase by making the transition to an independent non-profit organization governed by a board of directors. A new transition management committee made up of members of the Detroit Future City Implementation Office Steering Committee and headed by Dr. George W. Swan III will oversee the process over the next four to six months.

“This is an exciting next step in the evolution of Detroit Future City. Since the launch of the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework Plan in early 2013, the DFC implementation office has overseen efforts to activate the strategies within that framework and successfully coordinated collaborations around pilot projects to jump start its implementation,” said Swan. “Several factors lead us to take this step: the positive launch of the office, the City’s emergence from bankruptcy, and the Mayor’s vision to grow and rebuild. Now is clearly the right time for DFC to become an independent, non-profit organization to sustain and increase its momentum.”

Since its inception, DFC has operated as a sponsored project of Detroit Economic Growth Association (DEGA), an affiliate of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). Rodrick T. Miller, president and CEO of DEGC said, “The work of Detroit Future City is very important to the long-term economic success of the city, and we are proud of DEGC’s part in supporting the original research and incubating the implementation office as it has launched innovative pilot projects. We expect to continue to work closely with DFC as one of our key partners in redeveloping Detroit.”

DFC’s independence brings multiple benefits, including a broader base of constituents, closer ties to the community, and its own board of directors specifically charged with governing, guiding and supporting DFC. This board will help shape the future direction and decision-making of DFC to ensure its most meaningful positive impact on the city’s revitalization.

Rip Rapson, president and CEO, The Kresge Foundation, the lead funder of Detroit Future City to date, said, “The original structure allowed the DFC team to work in an ‘incubator’ setting, which works well for a startup organization. We always hoped it would grow the capacity to stand on its own, and we are pleased that it has reached that stage. To continue its innovative work the new structure will create better opportunities to involve more partners and broaden its outreach in the community. In light of this important step, we are pleased to announce that our Board of Trustees has approved a $1.2 million grant to continue funding DFC’s operations and important programs during this transition.”

Swan added, “Detroit Future City is unique in the way it has integrated technical recommendations from experts in economic development and land use with local knowledge and engaged leadership. This is an opportunity to sustain the important work that has been done because it makes DFC a community-based organization rather than a program of another agency.”

As part of the transition, Ken Cockrel, Jr. will leave his position as executive director at the end of June, and the organization will conduct a national search to fill this critical leadership role.

“Ken has done an excellent job of guiding the DFC team as it advanced the recommendations of the strategic framework. He moved this project from a comprehensive report into an office of energetic people eager to implement the pilot projects,” said Swan.

During the transition, the transition management committee will conduct a search for a permanent executive director, recruit directors for a new board and decide on the appropriate non-profit classification for the organization. Dan Kinkead, currently the innovation director, will serve as the acting director of DFC during the search for a new executive director. DFC’s current and new projects will continue during the transition.

The transition management committee includes Jed Howbert, executive director, jobs and the economy, city of Detroit; Alice G. Thompson, CEO, Black Family Development; Laura Trudeau, managing director, community development/Detroit, The Kresge Foundation, as well as Miller and Swan.

About Detroit Future City

The Detroit Future City Strategic Framework is a highly detailed, long-term guide that articulates a shared vision for Detroit’s future and recommends specific actions for reaching that future. The DFC Implementation Office is the steward of the Framework, and coordinates actions and resources to achieve five priorities: employ more Detroiters; fulfil regulatory reform; renew city systems strategically and innovatively; stabilize neighborhoods; and transform vacant land into an innovative open space network. Detroit Future City receives support from the Kresge Foundation, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and works in collaboration with the city of Detroit.

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