Giving Compass’ Take:
• A collaboration between public, private, and philanthropic partners in Detroit led to the creation of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund: a model of revitalization that has brought about significant economic change.
• How can other cities adopt this type of model? Which cities are most in need of a program like this?
Imagine a bustling downtown filled with inviting shops, restaurants, and happy patrons. Just a few blocks away sit neighborhoods with dilapidated houses, buildings, and vacant lots, high unemployment and high poverty rates.
This situation is urgent, but thankfully there is hope: American cities are excellent laboratories for innovation. And no city better reflects this than Detroit.
Since 2014, we have been working closely with Mayor Mike Duggan and community leaders to solve some of Detroit’s most pressing issues. All of our work—from creating a trained workforce to revitalizing neighborhoods to boosting small business expansion—follows a strategy of inclusive growth that strengthens the economy by helping existing residents.
In 2016, public, private, and philanthropic partners jointly developed the Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF), an initiative that brings together community developers and private, philanthropic, and public capital to help distressed neighborhoods.
Over the past two years, the SNF has been using funds to build commercial and residential real estate, preserve and add more affordable housing, and enhance community infrastructure and services such as pedestrian lighting, safer street crossings, park improvements, bike-share lanes, and the removal of blighted homes.
Boosting growth of small businesses, particularly those owned by minority entrepreneurs, has also been a critical part of our approach to neighborhood revitalization.
The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund—facilitated by the Detroit Development Fund, with funding from JPMorgan Chase and the W.K. KelloggFoundation—provides low-cost loans and access to technical assistance to people who can’t obtain traditional forms of capital. This fund has been so successful that in 2018 it attracted new investors, tripling in size to $18 million and recently expanding to San Francisco, Chicago, and the South Bronx.
Read the full article about Detroit’s urban renewal by Peter L. Scher at Fortune.
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