Detroit Future City, Michigan Community Resources mini grants spur green infrastructure projects

November 8, 2016

Article Summary
The Detroit Future City Implementation Office is working to stimulate the creation of green infrastructure projects in Detroit neighborhoods through a second-year round of Working with Lots mini-grants. The Working with Lots mini-grant program offers up to $65,000 in funds to ten neighborhood groups to revitalize vacant lots. Groups must use lot designs in the Field Guide to Working with Lots, an award-winning DFC tool, to implement their plans.


Two organizations are supporting implementation of green infrastructure in Detroit neighborhoods through competitive mini-grant programs.

Michigan Community Resources (MCR) in partnership with ULI Michigan recently announced the following five awards to community groups to implement green infrastructure:

  • The Jefferson Chalmers Community Food System to build a water catchment system to irrigate their cut flower farm.
  • Urban Neighborhood Initiatives to create a water catchment system on a commercial building
  • Earthworks Urban Farm for research and development of an affordable, modular solar pump that will allow for the captured water to be used for irrigation in urban agricultural systems.
  • North Corktown Neighborhood Association to build a four-season rain garden on a vacant lot.
  • Marygrove Community Association to create a community rain garden with park-like amenities on a residential lot.

Each recipient will receive $5,000 in cash from MCR for materials and construction and an additional $2,000 in cash from ULI for signage, education, and maintenance. ULI will also provide pro bono technical assistance from their network of civil engineers and landscape architects.

According to CEO Jill Ferrari, this program represents a shift in its service strategy and focus.

“MCR envisions a more comprehensive approach to neighborhood revitalization in the City of Detroit,” says Ferrari. “To meet this challenge, we are focusing on more targeted technical assistance that includes support for sustainable community initiatives. We want to empower groups to design and implement projects that have environmental, social and financial sustainability so that their work in the community is more impactful.”

Funding for the MCR mini-grants is provided through a grant from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.

Detroit Future City is also working to stimulate green infrastructure implementation in neighborhoods through a second-year round of competitive mini-grants to support neighborhood transformation of vacant lots into green infrastructure assets.

The program is offering $65,000 in funds to up to ten neighborhood groups to utilize its DFC Field Guide to Working with Lots (available online at dfc-lots.com). Each group will receive a maximum of $5,000 to be used toward lot design and implementation. An additional maximum of $1,500 must be dedicated toward the maintenance of the lot, programming and education. The program is funded by the Kresge Foundation.

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