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Detroit Revitalization Fellows announces new cohort

August 7, 2017


The Detroit Revitalization Fellows has announced its 2017-19 cohort, which will bring talent from across the United States to 19 civic, community and economic development organizations in Detroit. The fellowships begin today.

The Fellows, all midcareer professionals, were selected from a highly competitive national pool of more than 350 applicants. They come from Detroit, throughout Michigan and across the United States. They will begin two-year appointments with Detroit organizations following three weeks of immersive learning and team-building. This is the fourth cohort of Detroit Revitalization Fellows. They join 67 Fellows who have participated in three successive two-year cohorts since the program began in 2011.

The 2017-19 Fellows will lead projects in fields including neighborhood commercial and riverfront development, community engagement, public health, and placemaking initiatives. Partner organizations include the City of Detroit Health Department, Covenant Community Care, Detroit Public Schools Community District, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Eastside Community Network, Focus:HOPE, the Michigan Science Center and MoGo.

“We are excited to welcome 19 dynamic leaders to our program from around our city, state and the United States,” said Detroit Revitalization Fellows Director Asandi Conner. “Over the last six years, our Fellows have played integral roles in key projects driving progress in Detroit. We look forward to extending our network and deepening our impact with our newest cohort of Fellows.”

Detroit Revitalization Fellows was founded in 2011 with support from the Kresge Foundation and other funders with the aim to attract and retain top talent in Detroit while building the capacity of organizations at the forefront of revitalization efforts.

A recent impact report details the mark the program has made on the city in its first six years.

Fellows have led more than 50 high-impact projects, including the Jefferson Avenue Streetscape, Detroit Public Lighting Authority, REVOLVE (which evolved into Motor City Match) and Motor City Mapping. Moreover, the report shows that more than 75 percent of Fellows remain in the city after their fellowships, contributing to the city through their work, volunteerism and business pursuits, as well as in the neighborhoods where they live. The full report is available at bit.ly/DRFimpact.

 “Detroit is a city that provides great opportunities for talented professionals to partner with community-focused organizations to make a positive impact, and this is one of the nation’s premier urban fellowship programs to help midcareer professionals do that,” said Bryan P. Hogle, Kresge Foundation Detroit program officer.

“Fellows have brought talent and creativity to bear on critical community needs time and time again,” Hogle added. “The program’s long-term impact goes beyond the contributions of now-86 individual professionals. Detroit will reap benefits from the network of fellows and alums who can call on one-another for advice and inspiration in tackling some of the most vexing challenges we face as a city and a region.” 

The new Fellows and partner organization are: Shaffwan Ahmed, Global Detroit; Nick Allen,  Detroit Economic Growth Corporation; Nate Barnes, InvestDetroit; Nicole Brown;  Detroit Future City; Julia Elmer,  City of Detroit Health Department; Emilie Evans, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy; Samantha Fernandez Keys,  Michigan Science Center; Liliana Gonzalez, Cinnaire; Lincoln Hoey Moore, Covenant Community Care; Alaina Jackson, LifeBUILDERS; Ted Jones, Detroit Public Schools Community School District; Roland Leggett, MoGo; Andrea Perkins, Eastside Community Network; Julie Phenis, Focus:HOPE; Madhavi Reddy, Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD); Amy Rencher, TechTown Detroit; Christine Sauve, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center; Emily Thompson, Wayne State University Office of Economic Development; and Justin Williams, Capital Impact Partners.

About Detroit Revitalization Fellows

Detroit Revitalization Fellows was launched at Wayne State University in 2011. The program was inspired by the Rockefeller Foundation’s CUREx Fellowships, started in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Detroit Revitalization Fellows is a program of Wayne State University’s Office of Economic Development and has been generously supported by the Kresge Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Erb Family Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Skillman Foundation, the DTE Energy Foundation, the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. and Wayne State University. For more information, visit detroitfellows.wayne.edu.

About The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development in Detroit. Kresge’s Detroit Program collaborates with civic, nonprofit and business partners to promote long-term, equitable opportunity in Kresge’s hometown. The strategy includes place-based efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for residents; efforts to strengthen arts and culture, early childhood development, community development and other citywide systems of support; and efforts to bolster civic capacity, the ability of Detroiters to join, influence and lead the city’s renewal. For more information, visit kresge.org.