Good news for Detroit neighborhoods


April 5, 2007

Foundation has money to unify Detroit neighborhoods

David Josar / The Detroit News

DETROIT — The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan unveiled a $15 million grant fund Wednesday to solidify a large swath of the eastern part of the city that abuts the Detroit River.

Potential applicants were told to think big and outside the box and try to find ways to bring together that community, where a third of the residents live in poverty.

“We’re inviting everyone to the table so we can build off of one another’s work,” said Cassandra Joubert, vice president of community investment.

About 500 people representing nonprofit groups and businesses attended the briefing at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.

Community Foundation President Mariam Noland said the guidelines for what the foundation is willing to fund are deliberately vague, to encourage different ideas.

“We really want projects that are going to make a difference,” she said.

For example, the target area includes Eastern Market, so organizers aren’t necessarily looking for another farmers market. But, Noland explained, because so many senior citizens live in that part of the city, one proposal might focus on a way to provide seniors with transportation to the market.

The target area is roughly Woodward on the west, McClellan to the east, I-94 to the north and the Detroit River to the south, with the priority for projects being south of Gratiot and more intense along the riverfront.

There is no application deadline, and groups can get more than one grant. Businesses and nonprofits are eligible for funding. For-profit groups must demonstrate that their proposed project has a charitable purpose.

“Transformation grants” will be awarded to support improvements that address the critical needs, such as transportation and local stores, of people who live and work in the targeted neighborhoods.

They are eligible for as much as $1.5 million.

Smaller, “social capital grants” will be awarded to build community involvement and leadership that will link neighborhoods, so they can work together.

The Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan was founded in 1954 and has given out more than $247 million in grants.

For more information, contact the foundation at (888) 933-6369 or visit the Web site at

You can reach David Josar at (313) 222-2073 or



~ by Keith A. Owens on April 5, 2007.

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