DFC Ideas for Innovation Kicked Off this Month

The DFC Implementation Office's Ideas for Innovation is a six part series to accelerate thinking around DFC’s five strategic planning elements and advance collaboration around the implementation of the DFC Strategic Framework. Each Ideas for Innovation event will be followed by a publication that outlines actionable recommendations identified during the events. The funding partner for Ideas for Innovation is The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the media partner is Michigan Radio's "The Next Idea"

“Using the DFC Strategic Framework Plan as their starting point, Ideas for Innovation panelists will discuss critical issues impacting Detroiters and the next steps to grow, stabilize and transform the city to improve the quality of life for everyone,” said Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. “This type of dialogue will help to activate transformative strategies and ultimately create a better Detroit.”

Michigan Radio is posting a series of reaction essays by speakers or panelists from each event. The first essay by Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. can be read here.

The Making of a Great City

The first Ideas for Innovation discussion, The Making of a Great City, was held on April 14, 2015, 6-8 p.m., at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

During the event there was a panel discussion with innovators from Detroit and the Midwest as well as a keynote address by Roxanne Qualls, former mayor and city council member of Cincinnati. During Qualls' three terms as mayor of Cincinnati in the 1990s, she focused on revitalizing neighborhoods, increasing homeownership and redeveloping Cincinnati's central riverfront. She returned to city council in 2007, and subsequently served as Vice Mayor. She led the effort to adopt the city's new Comprehensive Plan and to develop tools, such as a form based code and complete streets policies, so neighborhoods could achieve their visions for livable, healthy communities. 

Jenn White host of All Things Considered on Michigan Radio was the event's moderator. Panelists for The Making of a Great City included:
  • Dayne Walling, Mayor of Flint
  • Gary Brown, Chief Operating Officer, City of Detroit
  • Khalil Ligon, Southeast Michigan Outreach Coordinator, Alliance for the Great Lakes
Each discussion will take place at a different location in Detroit. For more information about The Making of a Great City or future discussions, speakers and topics, visit DFC's website.

DFC Strategic Framework Advances through Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit

Kresge Innovation Projects: Detroit is an initiative by the Kresge Foundation that supports 18 neighborhood revitalization efforts across Detroit. These projects that seek to advance the DFC Strategic Framework, were awarded a portion of $1.6 million to begin work on or develop projects that range from the creation of a new prototype greenhouse in an abandoned home to the development of greenways. 

“Individual neighborhoods will experience the benefits of these inspirational projects and plans directly; however, they will make a long-lasting impact on the social and physical fabric of our entire city,” Kenneth Cockrel, Jr., executive director of the DFC. "These progressive ideas will compel local and national audiences to take notice of what's being done by extraordinary Detroiters, all while enhancing neighborhoods in ways that align with intentions of the DFC Strategic Framework."

Several of the DFC initiative's partners were grant recipients. Denby High School is an example of a grant recipient whose relationship with DFC spearheaded their efforts to revitalize the school's surrounding neighborhood and develop the minds of their students to champion the changes happening in their community.
Learn more about this initiative on DFC's website. 

For a full listing of the projects funded by Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit click here

DFC Awarded through the Knight Cities Challenge

Congratulations to DFC's Erin Kelly on The Buzz being chosen as one of five Detroit projects to win the Knight Cities Challenge, a national initiative to attract ideas that make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work. The Buzz is an initiative that will pair barbers with landscape contractors to transform overgrown vacant lots through workshops that will teach mowing and pattern-making techniques. 

Also, DFC is a partner in Brick + Beam Detroit with the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, another Detroit winner of the Knight Cities Challenge. Brick + Beam Detroit seeks to create a community of rehabbers in Detroit who will collaborate to combat blight and revitalize vacant buildings.

DFC in the News

Detroit News: Regional approach urged to move Detroit forward

WXYZ Channel 7: "The Making of a Great City" - New program to help Detroit reach its full potential

GOOD Magazine: In Detroit, Barbers And Landscapers Unite To Clean Up The City

Dayton Business Journal: Here are 3 things Dayton can learn from Detroit

Detroit Free Press: Five Detroit proposals among Knight Cities winners

K880 Emerging City Champions Fellowship
8-80 Cities, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming cities, is currently accepting fellowship applications from civic innovators with ideas to strengthen mobility, improve public spaces, and enhance civic engagement in their cities.

Supported by the Knight Foundation, the K880 Emerging City Champions Fellowship is now open for civic leaders between the ages of 19 and 35. 

Learn more and apply here
Motor City Match
Motor City Match connects new and expanding businesses with Detroit’s quality real estate opportunities, providing them with funding and tools to fuel the city’s entrepreneurial revolution.

It is a led by a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Learn more here.

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