April E-newsletter 2017: Five Questions for Our New Board Chair and Director of Community & Economic Development

Laura Trudeau has been appointed as the DFC Implementation Office’s chair of the board of directors, succeeding Dr. George Swan.  Laura recently retired from The Kresge Foundation, where she served as the Detroit program’s managing director.  She is noted for championing game-changing initiatives in Detroit, including serving as a fervent advocate for Detroit Future City, both with planning the Strategic Framework and with its implementation.

Tom Goddeeris was recently hired as the DFC Implementation Office’s director of community and economic development.  Tom is an acclaimed community development leader in Detroit. He previously led the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation for 25 years, building it from a start-up non-profit to an award-winning community organization.

For this month’s newsletter, these two community and industry leaders were asked five questions on their views of the city, of the DFC Implementation Office and their outlook on the future. 


In the Media

Detroit Future City discusses its Housing Report on Detroit Public Television

Article Summary

Anika Goss-Foster, Detroit Future City’s (DFC) executive director, sat down with the MiWeek team at Detroit Public Television for a closer look at DFC’s newly-released housing report. 

Detroit Future City Housing Report
By: Detroit Public Television
March 31, 2017

Click here to view the full episode on MiWeek.

Field Guide E-newsletter

March 2017 Field Guide E-newsletter: Planning Your Vacant Lot Transformation

Are you ready for your 2017 spring planting project? With the spring season around the corner, now is the perfect time to begin planning and preparing for your next lawn improvement or vacant lot transformation project in your community. The first step involves dusting off your Field Guide to Working with Lots to identify tools needed to begin installing your lot design, and engaging your neighbors about volunteering to help. Below are some tasks to consider completing between March and April:


Press Release

Detroit Future City Taps Detroit Community Development Veteran Tom Goddeeris to Join its Team

Detroit – The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office announced, today, that Tom Goddeeris will serve as director of community and economic development, after a noted 25-plus years leading the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC). 
In his new role with the DFC Implementation Office starting April 3, Goddeeris will lead the organization’s citywide efforts related to single-family housing, commercial corridors, adaptive reuse and planning. 
“The primary goal of Detroit Future City is to stabilize neighborhoods so that we can enact the 50-year vision of the Strategic Framework,” said Anika Goss-Foster, DFC Implementation Office Executive Director. “Tom has demonstrated a visionary, equitable and effective approach to stabilizing Grandmont Rosedale, respecting the neighborhood’s long-term residents while seeding new investment. He will be a remarkable asset to our team and to advancing the recommendations in the Strategic Framework.”
Goddeeris lead GRDC from a start-up non-profit to an award-winning, well-established community developed organization.  He is regarded for his pioneering community and economic development strategies and programs, including single-family renovation and resale, owner-occupied home repair, blight reduction, foreclosure prevention, main street revitalization, public safety, and placemaking. 
“In many ways, my experience leading GRDC has been to prepare me for this role with Detroit Future City,” said Goddeeris. “If we can apply similar strategies that have helped stabilize Grandmont Rosedale to neighborhoods citywide, we can make great strides in achieving the Framework’s 50-year vision of improving quality of life in neighborhoods for Detroiters.”
Goddeeris’ accomplishments have garnered him and GRDC many recognitions.  He was awarded the prestigious Terrance R. Duvernay Award from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) for lifetime achievement in community development, as well as Nonprofit Developer of the Year from Detroit LISC and Community Development Advocates of Detroit, and the Spirit of Detroit award from the Detroit City Council. 
“The DFC Implementation Office is continuing to expand our capacity while refining our strategies, taking a data-driven approach to identifying gaps and critical needs in our ever-evolving city.  Having Tom, a well-respected community leader with strong local, state and national stakeholder relationships, lead this important work will provide immense value to our ability to provide innovative and equitable impact in Detroit’s neighborhoods,” said Goss-Foster.    
The DFC Implementation Office was launched in May 2013 to advance the recommendations of the DFC Strategic Framework, a 50-year vision for Detroit. In January 2016, the DFC Implementation Office became an independent non-profit organization.  The DFC Implementation Office is governed by a 13-member board of directors and has a 10-member staff.        

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DFC Special Report: Renting in Detroit – A Market that Demands Attention

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Strategic Framework envisions a city of stable, sustainable, distinct and attractive neighborhoods that offer a diverse population of residents a wide range of housing options.  The Framework recommends many strategies to stabilize neighborhoods citywide and improve housing, including targeted code enforcement focused on absentee property owners and landlords, identifying key assets for renovation, and renovating publicly-owned homes in good condition and returning them to responsible, private owners.
In the report, the DFC Implementation Office examines the increasingly important rental market in Detroit – where that market is at today, how it got here, what issues exist, and where there are opportunities for sustainability and growth. 

Click here to read the report.

In the Media

Detroit Future City sponsors Detroit Policy Conference focusing on city’s resurgence, collaboration

Article Summary

Toni Griffin, a nationally renowned urban planner who led the collaboration between Detroit residents and civic leaders that created Detroit Future City’s (DFC) Strategic Framework, will be speaking at the sixth annual Detroit Policy Conference. The conference is sponsored by the DFC Implementation Office and will host workshops and panels with regional business leaders.

Detroit Policy Conference to focus on city’s resurgence, collaboration
Crain’s Detroit
By: Kurt Nagl
February 13, 2017

Detroit’s resurgence is the subject of this year’s Detroit Policy Conference.

The sixth annual conference hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber will take place 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 2 at MotorCity Casino Hotel’s Sound Board.

“In 2013, Detroit was thrust into the national spotlight as a city in bankruptcy,” the chamber’s website reads. “The 2017 Detroit Policy Conference will highlight how unprecedented collaboration inspired countless acts that reignited our iconic city’s innovative spirit.”

Gathering the region’s business leaders and partners, the event will feature panels, workshops and guest speakers, including Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc.; and urban transportation policy expert Janette Sadik-Khan.

Nationally renowned urban planner Toni Griffin is scheduled to deliver the keynote address. Griffin was among those who led a collaboration between public and private sectors that created Detroit Future City, a 20-year comprehensive citywide framework for urban transformation.

Click here for the full article in Crain’s Detroit Business.


DFC Implementation Office is Seeking a Sustainable Landscapes Manager

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office, via Wayne State University’s Detroit Revitalization Fellows program, is seeking a Sustainable Landscapes Manager to help spur vacant land transformation across the city. Apply by the February 10th deadline. For the job description, click here.

Click here to apply!


January 2017 E-newsletter: Field Guide to Working with Lots Mini-grant Program Back for Year Two

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office is thrilled to announce its 2017 class of Field Guide Mini-Grant recipients! Ten Detroit-based, community organizations have been awarded a share of $65,000 in mini-grants to implement lot designs from the Field Guide to Working with Lots to help accelerate vacant land revitalization in Detroit. This is the second year of the DFC Field Guide Mini-Grant program. 

In addition to offering funding to help grantees achieve their visions, the DFC Implementation Office is providing technical assistance through a partnership with Keep Growing Detroit, a nonprofit that promotes food sovereignty in Detroit and educates and empowers residents around land use, and ioby, a crowdfunding platform for small-scale community projects.


In the Media

DFC Executive Director sees a need for more minority-owned businesses in Detroit

Article Summary

Anika Goss-Foster, Detroit Future City’s (DFC) executive director, shares her insight on the challenges facing minority business owners in Detroit and how the DFC Implementation Office is working to create resolutions to these issues using the DFC Strategic Framework.

So many Black businesses, so little clout
The Michigan Chronicle
December 18, 2016

Someone who doesn’t know any better might be inclined to assume that in a city where the population is more than 80 percent Black, and where there are more than 40,000 Black-owned businesses – more per capita than just about any other major city in the country – that the business climate for Black folks in Detroit must be simply tremendous. As a matter of fact, the assumption might be that Detroit must be the Promised Land for Black business.

That assumption would be wrong.

This is not to discount the success stories, or to disregard the progress that has been made and continues to be made, but a quick look at some statistics reveals that something just isn’t right. And at Detroit Future City, compiling and then analyzing data and statistics are one of the things they tend to do quite well. Inside their rather comprehensive report, “Detroit Future City: 2012 Detroit Strategic Framework Plan”, there are some rather alarming statistics. Granted, the book is four years old, but according to Detroit Future City Director Anika Goss Foster, not much has really changed data-wise during the past four years, at least not so much to change the fact that most of what was alarming in 2012 remains just as alarming today.

“At the end of the day the data hasn’t changed that much. The gaps haven’t changed that much,” said Foster.

So with that in mind, here’s one set of statistics that deserves some attention, from page 41 of the report:

“Minorities in Detroit already account for 89% of the city’s population; however, the firms they own account for only 15% of private company revenues. African American-owned businesses account for 94% of the city’s MBEs (minority-owned business enterprises) yet few of these companies grow enough to hire even one employee: Only one in thirty African-American companies in the city has at least one employee compared to one in three White-owned businesses.”

And here’s another one; 70 percent of Detroit jobs are held by commuters, whereas only 30 percent of Detroit jobs are held by Detroiters. And 61 percent of employed Detroiters work outside the city, whereas only 39 percent of employed Detroiters work within the city. Not surprisingly, “

Foster adds that another significant barrier for African American small business is that many of them simply cannot get qualified for bank loans or for any other meaningful investment to help them expand, or at least to upgrade, as compared to White businesses. She concedes that a number of them are not “loan ready” and are in need of a helping hand to get them to the next step, but she still admits she is at a loss to explain how it is that in a city with this many black people, a fair number of whom are in positions of power and influence when compared to other cities, that there is such a huge disparity between white and black business clout.

“I don’t have an answer for that,” she said. “It’s crazy.”

Yes. It is. But that hasn’t stopped DFC from working toward some form of resolution to the problem, a problem which Foster readily admits is attracting the concerned efforts of not only DFC but a number of other organizations as well. What’s needed, however, is for there to be more cooperation and coordination between agencies, she said.

“One of the things we really want to do is focus on the system and working with the existing organizations that are already providing technical assistance and already making grants so that we’re not duplicating services.”

That’s for starters, but the overall approach as described by Foster is much bigger than that.

“What I think is part of the challenge is we don’t have a connected system that supports Black-owned businesses. What I mean by that is there are all of these small business support programs, right? All of them are exceptional programs, but they operate independently. They all do their own thing. None of them are really connected to each other.

“We haven’t gotten to the point where all of these programs are trying to achieve the same thing in terms of increasing the financial capacity and the business capability of these African American small businesses to actually grow and sustain. And that, in my opinion, that’s really part of the weak link in small business development.

“One of the things we want to be able to do is work with all these partners on the commercial corridors. Commercial corridors should be the base for the system.”

Commercial corridors are defined as areas such as the well-known Avenue of Fashion on Livernois where a number of small businesses are anchored – and help anchor the surrounding community.

“At Detroit Future City we don’t have all of the answers, but one thing we do know is that these commercial corridors are the anchors of these neighborhoods. And if we focus on them, they can actually provide a base of support and opportunity for neighborhood businesses and, in particular, African American businesses. …I really think that by focusing on the corridors where these businesses are gives us an opportunity to increase the opportunity. To increase businesses in commercial corridors, and to be able to focus on those businesses to be able to increase their own individual business capacity. And I truly believe that will help us begin to close that inequity gap that we see right now between AA businesses and other businesses.”

“Now we’re creating a system where these African American businesses should be and where they already are, which is in the neighborhoods. That’s how we can actually build that base.”

Click here to read the full article in The Michigan Chronicles.

In the Media

Neighborhoods Rising: The Growth, Development Within The City Of Detroit

Article Summary

Dr. George Swan, Detroit Future City’s (DFC) board chairman, speaks with WWJ’s Stephanie Davis about Detroit’s growth, and the positive impact the DFC Implementation Office is having in the city thanks to its efforts to fight blight, invest in neighborhoods and ensure inclusiveness.

Neighborhoods Rising: The Growth, Development Within The City Of Detroit
CBS Detroit
December 28, 2016

WWJ Newsradio 950 in partnership with ARISE Detroit presented Neighborhoods Rising – an hour-long feature addressing the growth and ongoing development within the city.

ARISE Detroit Executive Director Luther Keith, Tahirih Ziegler of LISC, Dan Lijana of the M-1 Rail, QLine, and George Swan, chairman of the board of Detroit Future City discuss the current state of Detroit neighborhoods and what the future holds with WWJ’s Stephanie Davis.

Luther Keith is the group’s executive director – he says that change starts from within:

” … on the east side of Detroit, she said she kept hearing that ‘they should clean that up, they should clean that blight up. They should knock that down.’ Who is ‘they should’ she asked, ‘Is that a person?’,” Keith telling WWJ.

Keith said the woman took on the challenge herself to organize a blight-fighting effort in her neighborhood.

He says the key is to get organized — “getting people together to draft a plan — connect with programs like a Michigan Community Resources”

Dan Lijana with the QLINE project says there is some growth along the Woodward route.

“We envision that this project would bring $3 billion in investment and 10,000 new housing units over 10 years – we are already, we’re not even operational yet, and we are at $1.8 billion,” says Lijana. “So, it’s obviously having a really important effect and you are starting to see that spread from downtown and Midtown even with a lot of announcements with things happening in New Center and now the north end as well.”

Click here to read the full article and to listen to the discussion about growth and development in Detroit.