he Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan recently announced that it has approved a second round of microgrants from the Michigan Central/Church Street Fund to support organizations that strengthen the Detroit neighborhoods of Corktown, North Corktown and Hubbard Richard.
The 2023 microgrants will promote neighborhood improvement activities on issues including arts and culture, community and economic development, and environment and public spaces. Supported projects this year include street-level beautification efforts, environmental solutions to stormwater impacts, expanding a fund for minor home repairs, and theater pieces inspired by neighborhood murals.
Grants totaling $40,000 were awarded to the following recipients:
- Mexicantown Community Development Corporation — $10,000 for community-focused, street-level beautification efforts in the Hubbard Richard neighborhood
- St. Peter’s Episcopal Church — $10,000 for plantings and environmental solutions to stormwater impacts
- North Corktown Neighborhood Association — $10,000 for expanding and increasing a fund for minor home repairs
- Matrix Theatre Company Inc. — $10,000 for the development and performance of theater pieces inspired by and responding to neighborhood murals
The Michigan Central/Church Street Fund, which the Community Foundation manages, will continue to invest in community projects as the area grows and develops. The endowed fund’s value is expected to increase over time, providing support in perpetuity through microgrants totaling approximately $35,000 to $40,000 each year.
“It’s critical that residents in Corktown, North Corktown and Hubbard Richard have a voice in how their neighborhoods develop,” Community Foundation President and CEO Richard (Ric) DeVore says. “That’s why this year’s grantmaking from the Michigan Central/Church Street Fund is designed to ensure local nonprofits have the support they need to shape the future of their communities as they see fit.”
The Michigan Central Community Impact Fund was initiated with a $750,000 contribution from Ford Motor Co. Anchored by the redevelopment of Detroit’s iconic train station, Michigan Central is building an epicenter of innovation at the intersection of mobility and society.
“Supporting equitable community development is a win-win for us and residents,” says Nate Wallace, head of civic partnerships at Michigan Central. “Dynamic arts and culture projects, vibrant public spaces, well-maintained homes, and environmentally sustainable infrastructure all strengthen nearby neighborhoods and, in turn, create fertile conditions for Michigan Central to advance new technologies and programs that address barriers to greater social, economic and physical mobility.”
Separately, developer Oxford Perennial provided an additional $100,000 to support community organizations in the area, establishing the Church Street Fund. It has a narrower geographic focus but will make grants through the same process as the Michigan Central Community Impact Fund.
The combined Michigan Central/Church Street Fund was created in response to requests from Neighborhood Advisory Councils during the Community Benefits Ordinance process for both the Michigan Central and Oxford Perennial developments. The City of Detroit ordinance requires development projects that meet certain thresholds and utilize public incentives to seek resident input and provide community benefits to impacted areas.
“The grants provided via the Michigan Central/Church Street Fund are a great example of these major projects continuing to invest in their neighborhood and show the effectiveness of Detroit’s Community Benefits Ordinance in ensuring inclusive and equitable development outcomes,” says Antoine Bryant, director of the city’s Planning and Development Department. “As more of the Michigan Central and Oxford Perennial redevelopments come online, and as more grants are rolled out in the years to come, we are going to see an incredible transformation in the Corktown, North Corktown and Hubbard Richard communities.”
Throughout the 2023 grant cycle, the Community Foundation participated in meetings to engage and involve the community in the Michigan Central/Church Street Fund grantmaking process. Visit cfsem.org/michigan-central for more information.