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Philanthropic Leaders: Greater Impact on Detroit’s Revitalization Dependent on Business Partnerships

Watch the full panel here. 

The philanthropic community’s contributions – from housing sustainability programs to youth education – was a critical step in Detroit’s post-bankruptcy revitalization. In the discussion, “Detroit’s Resurgence: Philanthropy’s Leading Role,” panelists highlighted how their respective organizations stimulated development throughout the city through projects, initiatives and programs while emphasizing the need for more collaboration with businesses.

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“The foundation community, as well as the corporate community is slowly growing in the understanding that if we work together more, there are great things we can accomplish,” explained Faye Nelson, vice president of DTE Energy and board chair and president of DTE Energy Foundation.

Key takeaways include:

  • The community has needs that the public sector and government cannot address. Individually, philanthropic organizations cannot fill this void.
  • As paradigms shift in Detroit post-bankruptcy, foundations and philanthropic organizations have stepped in to invest in projects that the state and federal government historically funded.
  • Moving forward, for foundations and business it is no longer about investing in as many projects as possible, as much as it is about funding projects that best serve the community.

This session was moderated by Nolan Finley, editorial page editor for The Detroit News. Panelists also included: David Egner, president and CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation; Katy Locker, Detroit program director at the Knight Foundation; and Chris Uhl, vice president of community investments for Rock Ventures. The session was sponsored by DTE Energy Foundation.

Read more from the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference:

Food Experts: Maintaining Detroit’s Momentum Begins with Healthy, Sustainable Meals for Communities