March 13, 2023
With an impetus to empower residents, small businesses, and nonprofits in Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park to turn under-used areas, and blighted and vacant properties into vibrant community gathering spots with innovative programming the Detroit Regional Chamber and General Motors came together in a unique collaboration to develop NeighborHUB in 2018.
The program is now on its fifth cohort of awardees bringing its grant recipient total to 64 organizations that have in total received nearly $2 million in cash funding and consulting services.
About how this unique collaboration came to be, Genna Young, Senior Manager and Detroit Program Officer of Corporate Giving and Communications for General Motors says, “In 2018 I was fresh on my job at General Motors as program officer managing philanthropy in Detroit. We had the desire to help small organizations and non-profits break down the barriers to obtaining philanthropic funding. We wanted to open the door to community-based work in this way, so we reached out to the Detroit Regional Chamber.”
Said Devon O’Reilly, Senior Director of Community Engagement and Leadership Development for the Chamber, “We loved the idea of partnering with GM on this. This type of funding is very hard for small businesses and non-profits to come by and we’ve been able to create opportunities and activity where there was none before. This is so important and rewarding for everyone.”
By design, NeighborHUB is meant to bring cash into under-invested neighborhoods to develop spaces and create change. Another core belief behind the program is that the residents and stakeholders know best what their communities need, and it lets those closest to the neighborhood (nonprofits, block clubs, small business owners) dictate and design projects and spaces that directly address those needs.
Today, their efforts have affected countless communities that have come together to utilize the funds to develop a variety of place-based activities and initiatives.
One case in point is 360 Detroit in the Virginia Park neighborhood, where multiple vacant lots are now playscapes, a community gathering spot and a center for after-school learning programs.
Another is Jo’s Gallery on the Avenue of Fashion. Says O’Reilly