2018 Summit Synopsis
In late 2018, we convened our third annual summit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: “Laying the Foundation and Taking Action for Detroit Neighborhoods.”
Over 180 people representing more than 100 stakeholder organizations participated in the event. The largest stakeholder cohorts were CDOs and Intermediaries at over 20% each of the total representation.
The first part of the event was dedicated to a presentation by several 2018 BECDD Task Force leaders of foundational directions for community development in Detroit: an Equitable Development Framework, a Statement of Commitment to Equity in the Community Development Profession, a Call To Action for Policy Priorities and Principles of Engagement Between City Government and Neighborhoods. Participants discussed and supported these statements, citing the importance of dealing with structural racism in neighborhoods and calling for more emphasis on engaging grass roots residents in the process and helping young people enter the community development field.
Later that morning, a panel representing community development stakeholders from Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston and Cleveland discussed how city government engaged with community development in their respective cities. The guests from Philly, Boston and Cleveland set great examples for Detroit on how community development corporations organized through their trade associations to create a seat at city government tables and influence policy and program formation.
The lunch timeframe was dedicated to a presentation and discussion with Dr. Peter Hammer, Director of the WSU Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. Dr. Hammer presented an analysis of how spatial racism has affected southeastern Michigan, and how our tendency to rely on capital-based projects (primarily real estate) hasn’t always resulted in strong neighborhood economies for cities populated primarily by people of color. He called for more investment in labor-based enterprise.
The afternoon focused on small-group discussions on five specific project concepts developed during 2018 by BECDD Task Forces: a Community Development Career Navigation Model, Coordination of Community Development Capacity Building Services, a Neighborhood Vitality Success Framework, a Neighborhood Voice and Advocacy Framework and Partnerships between CDOs and the City of Detroit. Participants dug into the details of these ideas and offered excellent feedback.
The last session involved a reporting out on these small group discussions and a general discussion on the direction of community development in Detroit. A working definition of community development was reviewed, with strong suggestions to emphasize collaboration, youth and resident leadership development and the importance of alliances with public education and workforce development.
Participants’ evaluations were overwhelmingly supportive. Nearly 90% of the participants felt the event was useful and informative, an event they would attend again. The highest-rated component of the event was the Dr. Peter Hammer presentation on “spatial racism.”
We’d like to thank our event sponsors: the Kresge Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation, and WK Kellogg Foundation and Ford Foundation. We’re always thankful to our core partners: Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Lawrence Technological University and Michigan Nonprofit Association.