Quarterly Newsletter – Fall 2021

November 8, 2021

News and Resources 

DFC Focuses on Greening Detroit Alleys in New Report

“These projects are cropping up across the country and here in Detroit,” says Sarah Hayosh, Director of Land Use and Sustainability. “We wanted to identify and share strategies for replicating more of them here, in the city so that Detroiters can benefit from this opportunity for innovation.”

This month, Detroit Future City, in partnership with EcoWorks, released “Green Alleys: Detroit’s Opportunity for Innovation,” a new report on greening Detroit’s aging alleyways. This detailed report describes opportunities to use green alleys as an innovative land use and green stormwater infrastructure technique in Detroit. Through case studies and best practice findings, ‘Green Alleys’ provides recommendations for policy change, pilot projects, and more to make green alleyways more common in Motown.

Read The Full Report Here

Searching for Detroit’s
Middle-Class with Model D
and Metromode

Detroit Future City has partnered with Model D and Metromode to produce “On the Ground in Detroit: Exploring Economic Equity.” This series of stories expands on DFC’s most recent reports – Growing Detroit’s African-American Middle Class: The Opportunity for a Prosperous Detroit and The State of Economic Equity in Detroit. The first article searches for Detroit’s middle-class, while highlighting stories from residents in Rosedale Park, an historic neighborhood in the City of Detroit.
Read The Article Here

Detroit Future City’s Economic Equity Series Planned 

DFC’s Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research plans to launch a new Economic Equity Innovation Series this year which seeks to inform, inspire, challenge, and activate cross sector innovation to advance economic equity in Detroit and the region. The first event will center on growing Detroit’s African American middle class as an indicator of economic equity. Join the Center’s stakeholder list to make sure you stay informed
Subscribe to the Stakeholder List Here

Anika Goss Kicks Off The
Mackinac Policy Conference 

The 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference began with a dynamic panel discussion entitled “Poverty to Prosperity: Building Equity into Michigan’s Economic Future,” presented by The Kresge Foundation featuring Detroit Future City President and CEO Anika Goss, Kimberly Trent, Dr. Andre Perry, and Dr. Darrick HamiltonThe discussion highlighted policy decisions and discriminatory practices that contributed to the racial wealth gap and undermined opportunities for people of color in Detroit.

“We had the first session of the day at the policy conference,” said Anika. “I’m not sure the audience had their coffee yet, but after our panel, they probably didn’t need it anymore. We pulled no punches.”

Anika spoke about building a greater Detroit, goes beyond, “less poverty,” to one where, “You can grow the middle-class that’s already here.” She noted that only 6 of 11 middle-class neighborhoods in the city grew during the last Census, and that those neighborhoods only grew because upper-income White households increased there.

“The city has to [have] places…of opportunity for middle-class families,” said Goss, stressing the need to grow middle class jobs and neighborhoods for people of color.

Watch the Panel Discussion Here

Open Space Gets a Boost in Two Detroit Neighborhoods

Detroit Future City’s Working With Lots program sites are thriving since their planting last Fall. The two recent project participants, Detroit Hives and Emerald Isles CDC both projects utilized the Perennial Propagator design from the Field Guide to Working with Vacant Lots but with different purposes. Detroit Hives uses their design to transform vacant land into urban bee habitat, while Emerald Isles CDC uses their design to beautify the Morningside neighborhood on Detroit’s East Side.

“We’re just so proud of all of our Working With Lots program partners,” said President and CEO Anika Goss. “They are transforming vacant land across the city and, these two, in particular, have done an outstanding job with their projects.”

The Working With Lots program has transformed more than 50 vacant sites in Detroit into green and sustainable spaces that benefit neighborhood residents and groups. Funding for the program has been provided by Rocket Community Fund, Bank of America, Target Corporation, The Kresge Foundation, and other generous donors.

Read the Field Guide to Working With Lots Here

 Keys for Industrial District Revitalization Highlighted
in New Report 

Detroit Future City, in collaboration with the Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) and the Detroit Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), released their new report, “Exploring Opportunities for Equitable Development in a Southwest Detroit Industrial District.” This study explores how community-based organizations can utilize equitable development practices to influence the future development of an industrial district in Southwest Detroit. This report also provides recommendations to SDBA to effectively leverage existing assets to strengthen the Michigan Avenue neighborhood industrial corridor centered around Livernois Avenue.

“With this work, we engaged local stakeholders using a community development lens,” said Tom Goddeeris, Chief Operating Officer at Detroit Future City. “We focused on using existing assets, connecting residents to jobs, and equitable development concerns; This is different than a traditional industrial development approach, which focuses on land assembly, tax incentives, and big bet projects.”

Read The Full Report Here

New Senior Program Manager
Bolsters Community and
Economic Development Team

The Community and Economic Development Department at Detroit Future City is pleased to welcome its latest team member, Senior Program Manager Alissa Shelton. Alissa comes to Detroit Future City after leading Brick + Beam Detroit and Bank Suey, a business and community space in Hamtramck.

In her new role, Alissa will support Kimberley Faison in program development and implementation, staffing, and managing the Detroit Neighborhood Housing Compact, a cross-sector initiative to expand the availability of quality, affordable housing in Detroit neighborhoods.

“We are so pleased that Alissa is joining us this Fall,” said Kimberly Faison, Director of Community and Economic Development for Detroit Future City. “Alissa has such a wealth of experience in community development and really shares our values; she’s a great addition to the team.”

Click Here to Meet Alissa

New Grant Awards Grow DFC Impact

Detroit Future City recently received three grant awards that will help the organization to further its mission of improving quality of life in Detroit.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded DFC with  a 2-year, $500,000 grant of general operating support. Funds will help build out DFC’s Economic Equity Report Series.
JPMorgan Chase Foundation awarded DFC a 2-year, $250,000 grant. These funds will be used to support the Detroit Neighborhood Housing Compact and to maintain the Economic Equity Dashboard.
Justice40Accelerator awarded DFC with a  $25,000 grant for general operating support. These funds will be used by DFC to participate in the Justice40Accelerator program, which seeks to help community organizations led by people of color to secure more federal funding.
Detroit Future City is extremely grateful for these generous grants of support and looks forward to working with each of its funding partners to advance the mutual aims represented by these recent funding agreements.

Organizational News

DFC Welcomes New Team Members

Kendall Nash
Venture for America Fellow

Kendall is serving as a Project Manager for Community and Economic Development at Detroit Future City. He is committed to leveraging his studies in economics and community engagement for community development. Kendall previously served as a Teaching Assistant and McGregor and Calvin Research Fellow at Calvin University in Grand Rapids. Kendall has a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Calvin College

Joseph Kemp

Joseph is a graduate student at Wayne State University and is serving as an intern for The Center for Equity, Engagement, and Research. Joseph has a bachelor of arts degree in African American Studies and Business

Detroit Future City in the News

Racial equity is key in efforts to revive Detroit

Report: Black homebuyers more likely to be denied mortgages in metro Detroit

Equity Pathways: The business case for investing in diversity and inclusion: ‘Trillions of dollars of potential unlocked value’


Detroit Strategic Framework
Economic Equity Dashboard