2017 Phase II Kick‐Off Meeting
Fifteen Community Development Organization executives joined with:
- A dozen community development intermediaries including LISC and Enterprise Detroit
- Various City of Detroit and State officials led by Arthur Jemison of the Housing and Revitalization Department, Councilman Scott Benson, and executives of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and the Detroit Department of Neighborhoods
Over 85 stakeholders helped usher in Phase Two of “Building the Engine” at the DNR Outdoor Recreation Center on Friday, March 31.
- Several foundation and corporate leaders
- University faculty and staff from Wayne State, University of Michigan and Henry Ford Community College
- Several Grass Roots Organization resident leaders
BECDD Core Partners Sarida Scott and Kelley Kuhn welcomed the group. Sarida emphasized the importance of recognizing how community development has changed, and responding accordingly. Maggie DeSantis introduced BECDD’s new Project Manager, Lauren Boone. She reviewed a summary of what was accomplished in Phase One, the updated “Seven System Elements” and the structure and process for Phase Two. Kelley thanked our past and current funding partners as of March 31 – Kresge Foundation, Erb Family Foundation, Bank of America and Detroit LISC – whose investment starting in early 2016 made it possible for this process to begin and continue.
Kelley then announced the appointments to four important committees that will work through Phase Two to develop each of the System Elements. Almost 85 individuals representing 80 stakeholder organizations and entities committed to work on the critical elements of a community development system.
Four speakers offered pointed comments on the challenges and opportunities in community development:
Orlando Bailey, Manager of Business and Resident Development for Eastside Community Network (formerly Warren/Conner Development Coalition), described a typical “day in the life” of a community development practitioner. He then summarized what he learned from his participation in a recent BECDD stakeholder study trip to Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. He emphasized the high level of trust among stakeholders, the amazing level of funding provided to CDCs to do their work, and the importance that is placed on mentoring/training younger practitioners to come into the field.
Jill Ferrari, CEO of Michigan Community Resources, a key capacity building intermediary in Detroit, offered her perspective on what it will take to build a cohesive community development system in Detroit. Jill emphasized the importance of:
- Racial equity and inclusivity in the practice of community development
- Trust among stakeholders
- Eliminating siloed Initiatives
She described a Cincinnati effort called “Strive Partnership” that used a collective impact strategy to improve student outcomes in Cincinnati — and opted NOT to bring their work to Detroit because they feared they couldn’t succeed. She urged the group to change that dynamic.
Arthur Jemison, Director of the Detroit Housing & Revitalization Department, made it clear that the City wants to invest – significantly – in community development training in Detroit. He qualified that investment, emphasizing that the effort has to be data‐driven and that “leveraging is key.”
Tom Burns of Urban Ventures, BECDD’s national consultant, complimented BECDD’s effort, saying that to his knowledge there has been no other similar process in the country. He emphasized the importance of understanding and learning from best practices, creating consensus and taking the long view. He cautioned that for this process to work we need to:
- Make a clear and compelling case and set of messages for why it is important to support community development
- Be thoughtful about how we scale this investment
- Create a means by which new practitioners and new organizations can break into community development work
- Decide early how CDO resource decisions will be made
These comments were followed by a priorities discussion with participants. Key points included:
- Capital for grass‐roots entrepreneurs/small business owners
- A streamlined city process for physical infrastructure (housing, commercial, greenspace)
- A citywide housing policy for equitable housing development
- Engaging young people in community development
- Training and development for adult residents (Detroit has a 40% adult illiteracy rate)
- Collective impact targets, including:
- Social outcomes
- Fighting concentrated poverty
- Creating economic diversity
- Creating long‐term sustainability within our residents and their neighborhoods (creating “communities for a lifetime”)
- The system’s relationship with the Detroit Public School system is key — each CDO should have a relationship with its local schools
BECDD 2017 Kick Off Event
Photographs from the 2017 Kick‐Off Meeting on March 31 at the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center. Stakeholders representing philanthropy, academia, community development organizations, grassroots organizations, government and intermediary organizations convened to learn about Phase Two of BECDD’s work — a year of research and planning to continue building out a community development system for Detroit.