For our third challenge of the 2022-2023 program year, we partnered with E. Warren Development Corp (EWDC), a nonprofit with a mission to support and enhance the E. Warren commercial corridor and adjacent neighborhoods through collaboration, community engagement, and equitable development. Five teams of Fellows worked alongside the EWDC staff and neighborhood stakeholders to create deliverables for this project – learn more from the perspective of each team!

The E. Warren community is thriving, hopeful, and looking at the world with an “only growth from here” mindset while staying grounded about the size and scope of challenges (or, opportunities) that lay ahead. 

After sitting down to hear their stories, our team realized that the throughline connecting many existing E. Warren businesses is their need for an ally who is specialized in co-creating, defining clear next steps, executive decision making, and being “there” for businesses in a continuous way.  Supporting this functional need could be the foundation that would allow EWDC to let their passion for the community stay forward and vibrant.  It’s always a celebration to see how intuitively the puzzle pieces fit together, especially after sitting down and collecting them through the genuine (and often emotional) reflection of those we aim to serve.

Jamie Hendrix, owner of Be HER Detroit, told us she believes that “people are so used to going to other places to shop- they should be able to have it in their community.”  As we began to understand what we were really hearing from our stakeholders, we came up with recommendations to turn into actions. Both new and existing businesses will be critical to implementing the idea that you should not have to leave your community to live in a better one. We know that EWDC’s place in the small business ecosystem is in its heart, where leadership is synonymous with community care, seeds sowed, and shared joy.

Blog by Fellow Team: Ian Hogg, Haley Beverlin, Talia Greenberg, Serena Brewer, Nathan Schooner