For our third challenge of the 2020-2021 program year, we partnered with nonprofit Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC). GRDC is led by Executive Director Sherita Smith and we were honored to collaborate alongside Sherita and her staff as well as Grandmont Rosedale community members during our six-week project collaboration. GRDC is both a challenge project partner and a host company partner this year. Jocelyn Moss is the Operations Manager at GRDC and also a 2020-2021 Challenge Detroit Fellow — learn more about our challenge project from Jocelyn’s perspective!

What is the mission of Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC)? 

Our mission at GRDC is to preserve and improve the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhoods in Northwest Detroit. Under the leadership of Sherita Smith, I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand the wonderful progress toward the vision and mission of GRDC. We have been able to continue our work in presenting people with the chance of homeownership, commercial and economic development. I am absolutely grateful to be a part of such a wonderful team at GRDC and to be a Fellow in the Challenge Detroit program this year.

GRDC Staff (L to R) – JeNiece Freeman-Holt, Kitty Yarbrough, Jocelyn Moss, Tom Ridgway, Sherita Smith, Kathy Garrett and Kiki Louya

What was the GRDC challenge project focused on? 

Our cohort focused on commercial revitalization and economic growth in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhoods. It is important to know, GRDC makes up five very distinctive neighborhoods – Grandmont, Grandmont 1, North Rosedale Park, Rosedale Park, and Minock Park. For this project, we were tasked with not only finding ways to maintain each neighborhood’s identity, but also to design innovative ways to support the growth of bustling, walkable business corridors. 

From your perspective as a Fellow, what did you enjoy most about our GRDC challenge project? 

This project challenged me to recognize my own ability to not only be led but be a leader. As a Fellow, I was a team lead for the Commercial Corridor Growth Team, focusing on West McNichols businesses. I was able to share a lot of knowledge about our neighborhoods that the whole cohort appreciated. I also enjoyed hearing the perspectives of all the Fellows who don’t work in Grandmont Rosedale everyday. 

From the perspective of working at GRDC, what is valuable about collaborating with Challenge Detroit on a project? 

The advantage or added value of working with an organization like Challenge Detroit allows GRDC to get a vantage point from fresh, additional perspectives. Challenge Detroit’s partnership helps small nonprofits like ours move forward on projects that may have been dormant due to lack of funding or staffing.

Snapshot of digital marketing deliverables highlighting neighborhood businesses, created by Fellows

What have the teams of Fellows created for GRDC?

The project deliverables created by the five teams of Fellows are all AMAZING and I am excited to see how we at GRDC can move forward with implementing them. Deliverables include marketing and outreach tools for our co-working space, The Grand River WorkPlace, small business marketing and attraction ideas for both the Grand River Corridor and the West McNichols Business Corridor, as well as commercial designs for both the WorkPlace and the upcoming development project on Grand River. I hope the Fellows will have a chance to visit Grandmont Rosedale coming out of the pandemic and see thriving small businesses on our corridors and feel that they played a part through this project.

Anything else?

I also have to give a shoutout to my GRDC residents, business owners and co-workers for the opportunity to be a part of this great work and community.