The 2018 Annual Summit was held on December 13 at the Charles H. Wright Museum. Over 175 stakeholders came together to:

Discuss, debate and finalize:

  • what does equitable development mean for Detroit neighborhoods?

  • how should city government, community development and neighborhoods engage and align?

  • what are the right policy goals for our neighborhoods?

  • how do we generate equity in the community development profession?

Help develop models for:

  • the "neighborhood vitality" success framework

  • building strong CDOs and Grass Roots Organizations

  • creating a pipeline of community development leaders from Detroit

  • an organized and powerful citywide neighborhood voice

Learn from guests from other cities: Boston, Cleveland and Philadelphia

Network with colleagues from philanthropy, government, intermediary organizations, academia, community development organizations and grass roots organizations.

Experience a special lunch discussion with Dr. Peter Hammer, Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights discussing spatial racism.

Click the following links to hear what happened on the day:


It was truly a monumental occasion! Stay tuned for a full report. But for now, access the Summit PowerPoint here, Dr. Peter Hammer’s presentation on spatial racism here and take our Readiness to Collaborate Survey here.

2017 Annual Summit Summary Video

Building the Engine of Community Development in Detroit (BECDD) held it's 2017 Summit on December 5th at the UM Detroit Center.  120 people representing 83 stakeholder organizations joined the conversations:

CDO Practitioners (25%)Academia (18%)Intermediaries (13%) Citywide Civic Institutions (13%)Government Officials (10%)Grass Roots Leaders (9%) Philanthropy Executives (7%)Small Businesses (5%)

Over a full day of presentations, discussion and debate, the Summit included:

  • National Research results that validated our "seven system elements", identified "best practice cities," and emphasized the important role of social cohesion strategies in developing strong neighborhoods.

  • Validation of a sample update of the CDAD D[Comm] Tool that will eventually document (around summer of 2018) and map where and how all of the community development work is now taking place in Detroit

  • Consensus on a "Neighborhood Vitality" Success Framework including support for a partnership with the City of Detroit to measure progress on "vital neighborhood" indicators.

  • Consensus on the development of community development academic and career pathways that credential this work for everyone from grass roots leaders to mid-career professionals

  • Support for a Community Development Capacity Building Clearinghouse that would coordinate and support a systematic approach to supporting strong CDOs and Grass Roots Organization

  • Updated a "working definition" of community development, CDOs and GROs in Detroit

Through "Kitchen Cabinet" meetings (click here for video) and in general plenary sessions (click here for video), participants discussed and debated:

I appreciated the Summit because I had the chance to speak about some of the things that matter in my community and what is happening with my organization.
— 2017 Summit Attendee

Why and how we need to "cluster" neighborhoods and name them to measure progress and tell the right stories about our neighborhoods What "equitable development" means - really - and how we can achieve it in our neighborhoods The importance of supporting professional development for existing practitioners, and of building up the salary and benefits structure for practitioners Strategies and thoughts on how community development and the City of Detroit should partner together

Participants heard from Janet Attarian, Deputy Director of City Planning; and Arthur Jemison, Director of Housing & Revitalization (click here for video), each of whom reflected on how and why we have to work together to build the community development field in Detroit.  Several CDOs informally shared their work and vision in the areas of  public education, health, youth and senior empowerment, business and entrepreneurial support, and "green" strategies.

Two young people, Tierra Modock and Christopher Griffin, from the Northend Storytellers presented a documentary on the importance of telling the stories of our communities.

By all accounts it was an insightful, energetic, productive and powerful day.  Stakeholders guided and affirmed the direction of the work that BECDD completed in 2017 with over 140 stakeholder organizations, and the work BECDD will do in 2018.

New insights on and affirmations of BECDD's 2018 work included:

See below for photos and full consultant reports and click here for the PowerPoint Presentation from the event and here for the detailed Summit report. 

Special thanks to event sponsors UM Detroit Center, the Kresge Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation, WK Kellogg Foundation and LISC.  We're always thankful to our core partners: Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Lawrence Technological University and Michigan Nonprofit Association. 


In late October 2016, we convened a day long summit with 63 of the stakeholders organizations at the UM Detroit Center.




  • ACADEMIA (10)



  • FUNDERS (5)



On October 26, 2016, BECDD hosted an "All Stakeholder Convening" for the organizations that had participated in discussions..

A panel was comprised of one representative  from each of the Kitchen Cabinets. There were two separate facilitated discussions between participants and panelists:

  • Panel #1 - Panelists and participants discussed and debated more of the "Big Questions."

  • Panel #2 - Panelists reported on their respective Subcommittee work, and discussion followed.

Facilitated break out sessions allowed participants to self-select which subcommittee topic they wanted to focus on, and provided more feedback.

Consensus was reached on a few key questions: