Momentum for a green culture shift is building in Detroit’s East Ferry Warren neighborhood. In recent months, new plans and resources were completed and announced to leverage existing investments in a green future for the community.
Detroit Future City facilitated a year-long neighborhood green space planning process which concluded in December, with support from the East Ferry Warren Community Association and neighborhood residents – resulting in a 50-page report.
“We found strong alignment between how the neighborhood was developing and our own commitment to a green culture shift for Detroit,” said Anika Goss, President and CEO of Detroit Future City. “Our project team was excited to engage with neighborhood residents and community organizers around how they could further link and connect their green space visions with each other and begin to take the work to the next level.”
Community engagement work continued in the neighborhood over the past 18-months, to ensure residents had an opportunity to voice their opinions about the neighborhood’s greener direction. Once the pandemic took hold in March 2020, this work switched to mostly remote platforms but continued unabated.
“There is so much history and momentum in the East Ferry-Warren community around neighborhood green spaces,” said Goss. “Our engagement with neighborhood residents was really designed to help put it all down on paper, make sure folks knew about it, and give them a framework for continuing and scaling what are already very promising trends.”
Support for this project was made possible through the generous funding support of The Americana Foundation. The published report will be coming soon.
New Grant Awards Grow DFC Impact
Nonprofit, corporate, and foundation grantmakers made several funding awards to Detroit Future City in the past few months. These awards will further the organization’s impact, especially in the areas of economic equity-building, managing stormwater overflows, and strengthening the local housing market.
“We are so grateful for the generous support from our funding partners over the past few months,” said Anika Goss, President, and CEO, Detroit Future City. “Their support will allow us to undertake a multi-front attack on some of the most serious challenges facing Detroit today.”
The Kresge Foundation awarded Detroit Future City $1.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Funding support from this longtime funding partner is earmarked to continue economic equity programs, undertake another bi-annual study of local and national attitudes about Detroit’s redevelopment, and support general operations of Detroit Future City.
Bank of America named Detroit Future City one of two “Neighborhood Builder” award winners in Detroit for 2020. The award came with formal recognition at a community event in November and a 2-year, $200,000 grant award to support the overall work of Detroit Future City.
The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation awarded Detroit Future City a $250,000 grant that will allow the organization to offer programming over the next year to help Detroiters better manage stormwater overflows. These overflows, combated in partnership with members of the Land + Water Works Coalition, threaten Detroit homeowners through higher water bills and lower water quality.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund program awarded DFC with a $259,446 grant. The grant will support the Elmwood Forest Pathway project, which will create a pathway and forest stand on the lower east side, in the Poletown neighborhood S of 94, E of 75). This project was developed with and will be completed in partnership with Arboretum Detroit, a community-based organization that DFC previously supported through its Working With Lots program.
The Housing Quality Pilot Project – now known as Rebuilding Home Together – received two grants of support for its efforts to build the capacity of community development organizations in Detroit. Awards of $50,000 each from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and Enterprise Community Partners will underwrite pre-development and research and training activities related to Rebuilding Home Together’s efforts to build community development organization capacity through an 80-home rehab program designed to create quality and affordable single-family homes for low and moderate-income Detroiters.
In acknowledgment of its growth over the past few years, Detroit Future City’s board recently voted to change the titles of its two most senior executives. Anika Goss, formerly Executive Director, is now the President and CEO. Tom Goddeeris, formerly the Deputy Director, is now the Vice President of Operations.
Detroit Future City has hired its first full-time Development Director, Kate Cherry, on January 1st. Ms. Cherry was formerly Program Director for Development and Strategy at Connect Detroit. She has also held roles at the Detroit Institute of Arts and The Guidance Center. She has been consulting with DFC for the last two years, until recently stepping into a permanent role.
“At my previous position, I had the opportunity to consult with Detroit Future City,” said Cherry. “The work was so meaningful and the staff so talented – I am grateful and excited to join the team full time.”
Ashley Williams-Clark, Director of the Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research at Detroit Future City, was recently named among Michigan’s Most Valuable Professionals by Corp! Magazine for her work to foster economic equity in Detroit. Ms. Williams-Clark was recognized formally at an event in her honor on February 23rd.
“It’s really a great honor to be recognized in this way,” says Williams-Clark. “This award validates the importance of the work that my team and I believe in and do every day, which feels very nice.”
Shari Williams, Senior Program Manager for Community Engagement, recently received two validations of her work. First, Ms. Williams was named to the board of the New Leaders Council, a hub for progressive Millennial leadership. Second, she was selected for inclusion in the Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Training program. Ms. Williams will participate in that national program alongside Detroit Future City President and CEO, Anika Goss.
“These appointments will help me expand my state and national relationship networks,” said Williams. “I’m grateful for them both and know they will help me to have even more impact at home, here in Detroit, as I work through them both.”