On the interview trip and orientation, Detroit Experience Factorygave us a bus tour – “Why Detroit did declined?” her answer was “policy,” such as FHA mortgage loans: redlining and suburban flight and Federal highway funding, as described by Jamon Jordan of The Black Scroll Network. The City experienced deindustrialization, disinvestment and suburban migration such as many other “rust belt” cities. Detroit’s also experienced a distrust in all levels of government. Nonprofits and public-private partnerships emerged as a response to failing government policies and continual disinvestment, usually working in specified neighborhoods or districts.

Neighborhoods are vital to thriving cities, but most importantly to the next generations; they shape our quality of life and socialize our children. Organized communities produce goods and provide asset building opportunities. In Detroit’s neighborhoods I see an urban planning method, asset-based community development: evaluating the strengths and opportunities in the neighborhood and then creating an asset map identifying resources and to building effective relationships. Many organizations I’ve had an opportunity of hearing from, meeting or working with through Challenge Detroit take this community development approach of tapping into the talents of residents and working from there to strengthen and build opportunities.

Detroit is home to some of the most passionate, dedicated and driven people I’ve ever met or read about. Here are just a few our cohort has had the pleasure of meeting or partnering on an impact project:

* Eastside Community Network

* Laticia Johnson and MECCA Development Corporation

* Joe Rashid: E Warren Tool Libraryand E Warren Development Co.

* Nicole Lindsey and Timothy Paule of Detroit Hives

* Jevona Watson of Detroit Sip

* Brilliant Detroit’s neighborhood-based literacy programs    

* Brittany Rhodesand MATHgicsubscription boxes

* Sharlonda Buckman and her DPSCD Family and Community Engagement team, passionately driving intentional changes in the school district with students at the forefront of each decision being made (Impact Project #1)

* Charity Dean and her knowledgeable team at the City’s Office of Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity(Impact project #2)

* Sinai Grace Guild Community Development Corporation(Current Impact Project #3)

* Rebel Nelluplifting women through employment and their T.E.A. program, a person-centered financial relationship model (Impact Project #2)