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Progress Dashboard

Where have we been?

Where have we been?

Where are we now?

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3

Phase 1 (2016)

We recruited stakeholders to analyze the problem, created a beginning set of system elements, and began considering a framework for a Detroit community development system.

Phase 2 (2017-2018)

We formed an Advisory Council, conducted extensive research resulting in a specific set of challenges and created Task Forces to respond to those challenges and develop test-projects for most of the elements.

Phase 3 (2019-2020)

Stakeholders will champion elements of the system, working closely with CDOs and GROs, by “test-piloting” project ideas:

  • Coordination of Capacity Building Services
  • Community Development Career Navigation Model
  • Neighborhood Vitality Success Framework
  • Neighborhood Voice and Advocacy Framework
  • At least two city-CDO funded partnerships

Simultaneously we will:

  • Activate the System Capitalization element
  • Establish a governance/oversight structure
  • Develop a process to resolve CDO coverage for all neighborhoods

Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI)

When was it organized?


Who is completing this survey? Name and role with organization:

Christine Bell, Executive Director

Choose one category that best fits your organization: 

Community Development Organization (not sponsored by a church or agency or company)

Does your organization have paid staff?

Yes – 6 full time, ~23 part time, 2 volunteer (~15 FTE)

What is the annual budget of your organization?

1 million

Describe the streets or locations that define your organization’s overall focus area (north, south, east and/or west):

  • Fort St — S
  • Dix — N
  • Woodmere — W
  • Waterman — E

Describe in detail the work your organization does, within the role categories below, along with the specific geographic area in which the work is done. Refer to the definitions below of the community development roles we are inquiring about. Include any partner organizations you work with, and how the work is funded or otherwise resourced. Use extra pages if necessary. If your organization doesn’t do work in one or more of the role categories, just skip that portion of the survey.

Convening/Facilitating/Collaborations: General Description

  • All of our work is collaborative; and all of it is done in the boundaries described. We believe that it is important to broker resources into the neighborhood. We know that we cannot be all things to all people.
  • We partner with adult education providers, community colleges, high schools, etc.
  • We use a collective impact model.
  • We were the convener and led the planning process for the Quality of Life Plan (a LISC project). There were a lot of partners (105) in it, including SDBA, SW Solutions and block clubs. Five hundred people and entities were engaged in the process.

It feels like we have to compete for the same dollars as other organizations so we can never build the relationships necessary to move work together.

  • We convene residents for feedback and direction on projects. We also attend resident led groups’ meetings such as the Woodmere Springdale Block Club.
  • Our Youth Advisory Board (YAB) engages in an annual listening campaign of residents and peers. After they listen to the issues most important to residents and their peers, they develop projects to address those issues. They are also members of the 482 Forward Youth Collective.
  • We are a part of a collaborative, Every School Counts Detroit, that is addressing chronic absenteeism. Our partners include the Brightmoor Alliance, Attendance Works, the Skillman Foundation, United Way and 482Forward. Our goal for attendance is to get chronic absentee rates down to 15% in the next 10 years.
  • Our youth employment programs partner with local businesses, residents and partner organizations to provide quality hands on work experiences.
  • Our Southwest Urban Arts Mural Project partners with business owners and homeowners who commission murals from them.
  • We’re part of Partnership for Youth (PFY) funded by Skillman. We worked together on common youth issues and built trust through training. SW Solutions, Matrix, Living Arts and Detroit Food Academy were involved. PFY had Chadsey Condon/SW Detroit and they added PAL and City Connect for the youth employment piece (this no longer exists).
  • We are actively involved with the Youth Development Resource Center’s learning communities.
  • We are active in the Southwest Detroit Housing Collaborative.

Convening/Facilitating/Collaborations: Partner Organizations

  • Bridging the Communities
  • Local Schools
  • Community Colleges
  • Brightmoor Alliance
  • Congress of Communities
  • Attendance Works
  • 482Forward
  • AmeriCorps Vista
  • Local businesses
  • College for Creative Studies
  • Michigan Audubon Society
  • Southwest Solutions
  • Southwest Detroit Business Association
  • Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation
  • Central Michigan University
  • Grace in Action Collectives
  • Wayne State University (this is not an exhaustive list)

Convening/Facilitating/Collaborations: Funders

  • Attendance Works
  • We were funded by MCAN to bring together a local college access network.
  • LISC for the Quality of Life Plan and implementation.
  • Skillman Foundation

Convening/Facilitating/Collaborations: Important Outcomes or Lessons


  • We have accomplished goals in our areas of work in Education, Youth Development and Land Use and Economic Development such as 25 acres of land under stewardship and implementation of 20 projects in the Quality of Life Plan.


  • We need to have the right data and resources to bring partners to the table to work towards common goals.
  • It takes time to develop trusting relationships between the internal, the external and the community.
  • For collective impact, it’s hard to navigate politics and accountability. We need to put the relationships in the hands of people that can be best served — residents — even if that’s not the person that you normally go to.
  • It feels like we have to compete for the same dollars as other organizations so we can never build the relationships necessary to move work together.
  • There’s a lot of compromise and balancing of partners’ self-interests with the immediate needs of the community.
  • A promise of money should not be used to bring people to the table to work together. There should be monetary support for all collaborative members for that work and then money to implement the work.

Resident Engagement/Empowerment: General Description

  • We believe the following:
    • Leadership of the organization and of our work should be from the community.
    • We want to create space so residents can grow in prosperity. We’re not here to do things for, but we’re here to do things with.

Not everybody likes what you do but it is important to always listen to each other, be transparent and be a good partner.

    • Youth Voice is central to our work.
    • As it relates to resident engagement, anyone that lives here is of our concern.
    • Resident engagement should be continuous and ongoing.
  • Examples of how we engage residents are as follows:
    • Currently, our Youth Advisory Board (YAB) and Q (quality) Team have leadership roles in the organization. The Q Team evaluated our youth programs and YAB members participate in our Youth Development Committee that reports to the Board of Directors. We are developing a plan for youth to be members of our Board of Directors.
    • We try to create space that is intergenerational e.g. how our parks are designed. If we don’t provide services, we partner with organizations that provide the needed service.
    • Our land stewardship program is resident led. They select the vacant land that needs to be cleaned and beautified. Once cleaned and beautified, residents then make a long term commitment to steward the land.
    • In our youth programming, 98% of those folks came through the program and now they are staff.
    • We intentionally think through how to develop leadership and I hope that my successor will be a resident.
    • Folks from the neighborhood sit on the board (30% of board live in the neighborhood). Skill sets that you need for board members can exist in the neighborhoods that we serve. This percentage is a work in progress.

Resident Engagement/Empowerment: Partner Organizations

  • Bridging Communities
  • Congress of Communities
  • Schools
  • Southwest Detroit Business Association
  • SW Solutions
  • Latino Family Services
  • DHDC
  • Grace in Action
  • Young Nation
  • Springdale Woodmere Block Club (this is not an exhaustive list)

Resident Engagement/Empowerment: Funders

  • We currently do not have any funding that funds resident engagement specifically. There are funders that fund our work and in our work plans there is resident engagement.

Resident Engagement/Empowerment: Important Outcomes or Lessons


  • 98% of the staff lived or live in this neighborhood.
  • 98% of youth staff are former program participants.
  • Our Light the Night campaign to keep lights on from dawn until dusk.
  • We have 110 lots that are now being cared for by residents.
  • Young professionals that are working in the community.


  • Not everybody likes what you do but it is important to always listen to each other, be transparent and be a good partner. Everyone has the expertise needed to solve the complex issues we are working on.
  • Have fun and celebrate!

Economic Development: General Description

  • Southwest Rides is our social enterprise focused on building a culture of biking with a retail shop, group rides and an Earn-A-Bike program.
  • We have developed public assets such as parks.
    • We redeveloped 9 vacant lots into a park across the street from our Neighborhood Center, we redeveloped two city parks and the playground attached to Phoenix Elementary School.
    • We developed plans for a comprehensive greenway structure.
    • We have completed redevelopment of one side of the Lawndale Center and completed a youth led and driven design for the other side.

There’s not a lot of room for failure in what we do; we are considered incompetent when we do.

  • We were a lead agency for Grow Detroit Young Talent serving 225 youth last summer. We implement three youth employment programs: 1) an apprenticeship program where we partner youth with local businesses. 2) Southwest Urban Mural Project where homeowners and business owners can commission murals 3) The Green Team that work to curate parks and public spaces and to help transform lots and work in our summer programs.
  • We’re working with America Saves so that every youth can start saving money with direct deposit.

Economic Development: Partner Organizations

  • America Saves
  • Grow Detroit’s Young Talent
  • Grace In Action Collectives
  • Local Business
  • Central Michigan University (this is not an exhaustive list)

Economic Development: Funders

  • Chase used to fund directly, but they now fund through: Connect Detroit
  • LISC
  • Kresge
  • Carls Foundation
  • Bank of America
  • DNR

Economic Development: Important Outcomes or Lessons


  • Increased public art in the neighborhood.
  • We have helped youth save by working with America Saves so that every youth can start saving money with direct deposit.
  • $225,000 (roughly) earned by youth in our community.
  • Southwest Rides successfully operating for the last 3 years.
  • 4 Safe and beautiful parks in the neighborhood.


  • It is hard work to start a business.
  • There’s not a lot of room for failure in what we do; we are considered incompetent when we do.
  • Taking risk and failing is important for learning.

Resident Support: General Description

Our work around primary prevention (after school programs, youth employment, etc.) is important so that less people need intervention services.

  • Supporting residents is a critical component our work. If we do not offer the needed service or resource, we have developed relationships with organizations and work with these organizations to support our residents. We have also brokered services into the neighborhood based on our community’s needs. We have developed a process for referring and following up with our residents. We also have a resources manual that is updated annually.

Resident Support: Partner Organization

  • Southwest Solutions
  • We have a resource manual with 50 organizations.

Resident Support: Funders

  • This is not funded directly by any funder.

Resident Support: Important Outcomes or Lessons


  • We’ve graduated kids.
  • Youth can report that they have more positive adult role models in their lives.
  • Youth report feeling good about learning and that school is really important.
  • We added a reading component and 4.4% of kids increased their reading scores.


  • Our work around primary prevention (after school programs, youth employment, etc.) is important so that less people need intervention services.
  • We must work to address avoidable traumas and that is how we will know we are successful.

Community Planning and Advocacy: General Description

Community Planning:

Collaborative is really exciting and very hard work.

  • We have developed the following plans with the community:
    • Quality of Life Neighborhood Plan
    • Greenways Plan
    • Youth Development


  • We are advocates for the neighborhood and the desire of the residents. We are actively engaged in advocacy work around education, after school programing, blight and safety.

Community Planning and Advocacy: Partner Organizations

  • Wayne State
  • SW Solutions
  • Springdale Woodmere Block Club
  • Pathways for Potential
  • Congress of Communities
  • Brightmoor Alliance
  • Congress of Communities
  • DNR
  • America Saves
  • DTE
  • Detroit Zoo
  • Southwest Detroit Business Association
  • Bridging Communities
  • Schools
  • SW Solutions
  • Latino Family Services
  • DHDC
  • Grace in Action
  • Young Nation
  • Schools
  • Community Colleges
  • Attendance Work
  • 482Forward
  • AmeriCorps Vista
  • Local businesses
  • West Vernor Civilian Patrol (this is not an exhaustive list)
  • These organizations might not have a direct stake, but we’ve re-centered the narrative — we belong to each other.

Community Planning and Advocacy: Funders

  • LISC
  • 482Forward
  • Attendance Works
  • Skillman

Community Planning and Advocacy: Important Outcomes or Lessons


  • With partners, we prevented 14 charter schools from opening in our neighborhood.
  • As part of 482Forward, we advocated and got an elected school board.


  • When advocating, we get more done together.
  • Collaborative is really exciting and very hard work.

Frequency Rank

Convening Facilitating


Resident Engagement


Economic Development


Resident Support


Community Planning and Advocacy


Youth Work

5 (always)

Can you please point us to other organizations in Detroit — especially in your immediate neighborhood — that are doing community development work? (Organization name, contact name, email, phone)

  • Springdale Woodmere Block Club
  • Detroit SW Pride

Information current as of April 21, 2017

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