Challenge Detroit is founded on the principles of attracting and retaining diverse, top talent. That means our Fellows are from Detroit and the metro area, the greater region, other parts of the country, and even other parts of the world. They join us with backgrounds in graphic design, communications, social work, journalism, urban planning, business, and more. No matter where they are from or what their field of study, they are here to make an impact. And they are doing just that. Year-over-year, our Fellows are serving communities and changing lives through the work they do at their host companies, the challenge projects we tackle supporting non-profits in the city, and the time they commit above and beyond the program. Fellows consistently affirm that Detroit is a city where talent can find an interesting job, make a meaningful contribution, and live an exciting life. We share our Fellows’ experiences over the year through social media, regular blogging, events and other media to provide people in the region, around the country and across the world a positive and balanced view of Detroit.

Our Mission

We challenge leaders to learn by doing through a year of meaningful employment and intellectual work with area nonprofits designed to positively impact our diverse, culturally vibrant city.

What We Do

  • Attract and retain innovative, college-educated professionals to the greater Detroit area by promoting and supporting the opportunities within the city and the neighborhoods
  • Portray Detroit and the surrounding region as a place people can live, work, play, give and lead
  • Contribute to community development efforts of the city and region through incremental impact and learning by doing

How We Do It

  • Launch a local and national recruitment effort to raise awareness of Challenge Detroit and the issues and opportunities in the city
  • Act as a platform to share balanced and positive messages about Detroit, showcasing the Fellows, companies, and non-profit partners that bring the program to life
  • Create jobs and stimulate the economy by partnering with top companies to serve as hosts to Challenge Detroit’s Fellows
  • Further work with these companies to build partnerships that ultimately support the professional development of the local workforce while contributing positively to community impact efforts
  • Spearhead a robust leadership program, centered around innovation and design thinking to support ongoing skill development that helps Fellows in their jobs and their work with Challenge Detroit’s non-profit partners
  • Design five-week team challenge projects to leverage the power, resources and intellectual capital of Fellows to positively impact operations, fundraising, programming, marketing and other critical aspects of our non-profit partners’ organizations

Core Values

Challenge Detroit is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a vision founded on the following core values:

  • Collaborate

    We believe combining individuals’ intellect, unique experiences and perspectives will have a greater impact on our region than if each individual worked alone.

  • Community and Fellowship

    We strive to create a sense of community and inclusiveness, reflective of our region’s diversity, culture and talent.

  • Intellectual Capital

    We believe making an impact is less about the contribution of money and more about how we can combine intellect and knowledge to contribute to the greater good.

  • Courage, Passion and Drive

    We believe it takes courage to think inventively and productively; passion to motivate change; and drive to move forward in turning vision into reality.

  • Philanthropy

    Through collaboration, community, intellectual capital and vision, we have the desire to impact our community in a positive way and work toward the revitalization of our region.

  • Sacrifice

    We believe any great accomplishment comes with an unwavering commitment to the cause.

  • Humility

    We acknowledge the dedication of all the individuals and organizations that have and will continue to make a significant impact in the city and region.


Diversity and inclusion are a cornerstone of Challenge Detroit. We believe that all persons are entitled to equal opportunity. We do not discriminate against qualified applicants because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding or related medical condition, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, genetic characteristic, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. We strive to support a culture where people can be themselves and feel included while including others.