Our Past Challenge Projects

The Challenge Detroit Challenges

Challenges are the heart of the program. In partnership with local nonprofits, the challenges are designed to positively impact the city and region while giving the Fellows an opportunity to learn by doing. Challenge Detroit has supported over 50-nonprofits through challenge projects.

Past project features

Equitable small business growth & entrepreneurship

The Detroit Economic Growth Corp (DEGC), through its Motor City Match program helps start new businesses in Detroit’s commercial corridors, by assisting throughout the start-up and building renovation process and pairing businesses with Detroit real estate. To accomplish this, they provide grants, loans and counseling to building and business owners.

For this challenge project, Fellows conducted interviews to understand the obstacles that impact Motor City Match’s small businesses across Detroit neighborhoods. Using these insights, they generated key findings and actionable recommendations across areas including business-to-business support, resource navigation, and factors that may cause businesses to close, in order to help expand and maximize equitable development opportunities for neighborhood small businesses. Fellows had the opportunity to partner with Kyla Carlsen, DEGC Small Business Manager and Challenge Detroit Alumni Fellow (2015-2016).

Following the project, Motor City Match staff implemented Fellow’s deliverables to address small business challenges including a YouTube financial challenge series, contractor and FAQ resources, a quarterly check-in survey, website and training infographics, and even a pilot internship program.

Homelessness

Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) is an organization dedicated to alleviating homelessness in Detroit by providing an array of services that enable people to achieve self-sufficiency and obtain quality affordable housing.

For this challenge project, Fellows helped COTS increase their awareness and stakeholder involvement. The Fellows engaged stakeholders including staff, volunteers, partners, supporters, and residents of COTS to learn more about homelessness and its impact on Detroit. Based on their findings, Fellows designed creative campaigns to attract new donors, better support the individuals served by the organization, cultivate existing relationships and increase overall recognition of the organization’s missions and services. Specifically, Fellows designed a highly impactful marketing and fundraising campaign - “One Step Away” - aimed at sharing the different stories and perspectives of COTS’ stakeholder groups to increase an overall awareness and understanding of the organization.

Following the project, COTS implemented the campaign idea and raised over $40,000 to support their work and shelter.

2018-2019 (Year SEVEN) Challenge Projects ARCHIVE view +
Challenge #1Oct 13 - Nov 17 2018
TOPIC:
Community Economic Development
PARTNER(S):
Eastside Community Network
Challenge #2Dec 8,2018 - Jan 26, 2019
TOPIC:
Arts & the Community
PARTNER(S):
Michigan Opera Theatre, Hannan Center
Challenge #3Feb 9 - Mar 16 2019
TOPIC:
Neighborhood Resources
PARTNER(S):
Century Forward
Challenge #4Apr 6 - May 11 2019
TOPIC:
Prevention & Family Support Services
PARTNER(S):
Mariners Inn
Challenge #5Jun 1 - Jul 27 2019
TOPIC:
Summer Impact Projects
PARTNER(S):
20+ Nonprofit Partners
2017-2018 (Year SIX) Challenge Projects ARCHIVE view +
Challenge #1Oct 13 - Nov 17 2017
TOPIC:
Challenge #1
PARTNER(S):
DEGC
Challenge #2Dec 8,2017 - Jan 26, 2018
TOPIC:
Challenge #2
PARTNER(S):
Detroit Homecoming, Slow Roll
Challenge #3Feb 9 - Mar 16 2018
TOPIC:
Challenge #3
PARTNER(S):
Detroit Land Bank Authority
Challenge #4Apr 6 - May 11 2018
TOPIC:
Challenge #4
PARTNER(S):
Detroit67, UNI
Challenge #5Jun 1 - Jul 27 2018
TOPIC:
Summer Impact Projects
PARTNER(S):
20+ Nonprofit Organizations
2016-2017 (Year FIVE) Challenge Projects ARCHIVE view +
Challenge #1Jun 2 - Jul 27 2017
TOPIC:
Culminating Impact Projects
PARTNER(S):
Fellows will be collaborating with over 30 different organizations that serve Detroit.
Challenge #2Apr 21 - May 26 2017
TOPIC:
Place-based Entrepreneurship
PARTNER(S):
Tech Town, Southwest Economic Solutions
Challenge #3Mar 3-31 2017
TOPIC:
Sustainability // Storytelling
PARTNER(S):
EcoWorks, Belle Isle Conservancy
Challenge #4Jan 20 - Feb 17 2017
TOPIC:
Youth Development // Art & Community Health
PARTNER(S):
Downtown Boxing Gym, Beaumont Family Medicine & Detroit Central City
Challenge #5Nov 11 - Dec 16 2016
TOPIC:
Food Security
PARTNER(S):
Forgotten Harvest
Challenge #6Sep 20 - Oct 28 2016
TOPIC:
Community Development
PARTNER(S):
MACC Development
2015-2016 (Year FOUR) Challenge Projects ARCHIVE view +
Challenge #1May 20 - Jun 17 2016
TOPIC:
Economic Development
PARTNER(S):
RecoveryPark
Challenge #2Apr 8 - May 6 2016
TOPIC:
Land Use
PARTNER(S):
Detroit Future City (DFC)
Challenge #3Feb 26 - Mar 25 2016
TOPIC:
Neighborhood Engagement
PARTNER(S):
Downtown Detroit Partnerships (DDP)
Challenge #4Jan 15 - Feb 12 2016
TOPIC:
Workforce Development
PARTNER(S):
Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) & Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit
Challenge #5Nov 6 - Dec 11 2015
TOPIC:
Education Empowerment
PARTNER(S):
Detroit Public Schools
Challenge #6Sep 25 - Oct 23 2015
TOPIC:
Neighborhood Small Business
PARTNER(S):
Mayor's Office, City of Detroit
2014-2015 (Year THREE) Challenge Projects ARCHIVE view +
Challenge #1Sep 26 - Oct 24 2014
TOPIC:
Community Engagement
PARTNER(S):
RecoveryPark
Challenge #2Nov 7 - Dec 12 2014
TOPIC:
Cars & Community
PARTNER(S):
Vehicles for Change + Detroit Lions
Challenge #3Jan 16 - Feb 13 2015
TOPIC:
Education Empowerment
PARTNER(S):
Detroit Food Academy, Junior Achievement of SE MI, The Future Project, Detroit Youth Energy Squad, WCCCD
Challenge #4Feb 27 - Mar 27 2015
TOPIC:
Neighborhood Activation
PARTNER(S):
Detroit Collaborative Design Center
Challenge #5Apr 10 - May 8 2015
TOPIC:
Health Disparities
PARTNER(S):
Health Disparity Coalition
Challenge #6May 22 - Jun 19 2015
TOPIC:
Economic Development
PARTNER(S):
8 Mile Boulevard Association
2013-2014 (Year TWO) Challenge Projects ARCHIVE view +
Challenge #1Sep 27 - Oct 25 2013
TOPIC:
Community Arts
PARTNER(S):
University of Detroit Mercy’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center’s Impact Detroit Initiative & Bleeding Heart Design
Challenge #2Nov 8 - Dec 13 2013
TOPIC:
Multimodal Transportation
PARTNER(S):
ModeShift
Challenge #3Jan 17 - Feb 14 2014
TOPIC:
Homelessness
PARTNER(S):
Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS)
Challenge #4Feb 28 - Mar 28 2014
TOPIC:
To Be Announced
PARTNER(S):
To Be Announced
Challenge #5Apr 11 - May 9 2014
TOPIC:
Land Conservation & Community Engagement
PARTNER(S):
The Riverfront Conservancy
Challenge #6May 23 - Jun 20 2014
TOPIC:
Land Re-Utilization
PARTNER(S):
Detroit Future City
2012-2013 (Year ONE) Challenge Projects ARCHIVE view +
Challenge #1Sep 14 - Oct 5 2012
TOPIC:
Community Impact
PARTNER(S):
Matrix Human Services
Challenge #2Oct 12 - Nov 2 2012
TOPIC:
Increasing Food Access
PARTNER(S):
United Way
Challenge #3Nov 9 - Dec 7 2012
TOPIC:
Immigration
PARTNER(S):
Global Detroit
Challenge #4Jan 11 - Feb 1 2013
TOPIC:
Education
PARTNER(S):
Excellent Schools Detroit
Challenge #5Feb 8 - Mar 1 2013
TOPIC:
Community Enterprise
PARTNER(S):
DCDC
Challenge #6Mar 8-29 2013
TOPIC:
Health & Wellbeing
PARTNER(S):
Beaumont Health System
Challenge #7Apr 5-26 2013
TOPIC:
Environmental & Social
PARTNER(S):
Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice
Challenge #8Jun 7-28 2013
TOPIC:
Arts & Culture
PARTNER(S):
Culture Source
Challenge #9Jul 12 - Aug 2 2013
TOPIC:
Entrepreneurship
PARTNER(S):
Techtown Detroit