Phase Two: 2017

Phase One Institutional Partners: CDAD, Lawrence Tech Center for Design & Technology and Michigan Nonprofit Association

The Core Partners  - CDAD, LTU and MNA - completed and signed a Phase Two Memorandum of Understanding and are ready to move forward!

Four Committees were created - the Advisory Council, Capacity Building Planning Team, Research/Data/Evaluation Planning Team and Career and Education Pathways Planning Team - and meetings were scheduled.

Lawrence Technological University (LTU) took on a national and international research scan that looks at best practices with each of the "Building the Engine" design elements. Funded through Kresge and Erb Family Foundations, Dr. Joon Kim (Director of the LTU Masters in Design Program) led the effort.  It was completed in October, with results shared in early November.

To support the work of these committees, we engaged these outstanding local and national firms, bringing a robust array of expertise:

- The Corporation for a Skilled Workforce
- The JFM Consulting Group
- The McMillion Group
- ProSeeds and GoalTrac
- Southeast Michigan Community Learning Partnership
- Urban Ventures in association with Lamar Wilson Associates

In addition to the 98 Phase One Stakeholders we were pleased to add these additional stakeholders:

- Detroit Department of Innovation and Technology
- The 48208 Collaborative
MOSES Detroit – Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength Enterprise Detroit
- Wayne State University Schools of Social Work and Urban Planning
- Cooperative Capital, Inc
- Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program

- DTE Energy
- Hamilton-Anderson Associates
- Invest Detroit
- Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch

- NOMA - National Organization of Minority Architects
- Michigan State Housing Development Authority
Wayne County Community Reinvestment Act Association/PNC Bank
Detroit Collaborative Design Center/Impact Detroit
- Grace Guild CDC
- The Green Light Fund
- Detroit Blight Busters
- Mayor's Office of Sustainability
- Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM)
- The Work Department
- Talbiyah, Inc.
- Building Families First Community Organization
- Aspen Institute
- Belle Isle Conservancy
- United Way for Southeastern Michigan
- Motor City Grounds Crew
- The Hub
- Revive Detroit CDC
- Beyond Existing
- Preservation Wayne
- Detroit Employment Solutions
- Northend Storytellers
- The A.L.S.

We were pleased and grateful to our additional Phase Two Funding Partners:

... And grateful to our continuing funders:


A Special Thanks to DTE Energy for loaning us the invaluable staff services of Angela Wade.

2017 was a year filled with exploration and great progress towards creating a community development system for Detroit!  The year began on March 31 with BECDD's Kick Off Breakfast where stakeholders representing philanthropy, academia, CDOs, grassroots organizations,  government and intermediaries convened to learn about  BECDD's Phase Two: a year of research and planning and the creation of an Advisory Council.  From April on the year sped by:

  • quarterly Information Exchanges

  • local and national research on what makes for a strong community development system.

  • study trips with Detroit cohorts to Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Philadelphia  

  • the launch of the "Real Change Real Talk" discussion series moving around Council Districts

Take a look at the year in review below!



It takes a village! Building the Engine's Advisory Council met in two groups  on April 25th and May 4th at Lawrence Tech Center for Design + Technology. 35 stakeholders representing philanthropy, community development/grassroots organizations, academia, city and state government, intermediaries, financial and civic organizations and more came together in these collaborative meetings to discuss the initiative's overall governance structure and strategy. During each session, stakeholders worked in both large and small groups as Detroit-based consultants, Jane Morgan Consulting Group and Chandra McMillion of the McMillion Group facilitated the initial conversations that pinpointed the key questions that have to be tackled for the process to be successful.

The stakeholders also completed a "collaboration assessment" that will help the consultants understand the current levels of "readiness" to work through this important challenge. Results to be posted soon. 

Building the Engine looks forward to bringing all Advisory Council members together for our next meetings, which will take place quarterly over the next two years.

Stakeholders at the June 22nd Certification and Capacity Building Planning Team Meeting

Stakeholders at the June 22nd Certification and Capacity Building Planning Team Meeting

Stakeholders at the July 27th Certification and Capacity Building Planning Team Meeting

Stakeholders at the July 27th Certification and Capacity Building Planning Team Meeting

Members of the Career and Education Pathways, Research, Data and Evaluation and Certification and Capacity Building Planning Teams and consultants discussing the work that they have been doing for the past four months at the Stakeholder Information Exchange on July 27th

Members of the Career and Education Pathways, Research, Data and Evaluation and Certification and Capacity Building Planning Teams and consultants discussing the work that they have been doing for the past four months at the Stakeholder Information Exchange on July 27th

Advisory Council Meeting at Federal Reserve Bank on July 28th

Members of OUR Certification and Capacity Building Planning Team working to design a capacity building system for Detroit at their October 26th meeting.

Core Partners and BECDD Staff at their final meeting of 2017 

Core Partners and BECDD Staff at their final meeting of 2017 



A diverse cohort of 15 Building the Engine stakeholders travelled to Cleveland in February to visit Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Cleveland city government officials.  

BECDD stakeholders visited Boston, Indianapolis and Philadelphia to meet with government officials, funders, community development leadership and intermediaries in order to learn more about their community development systems. Thanks to all of our hosts for the warm welcome and to all those who spoke to us for your insights!




Photo Credits: The Hub


Photo Credits: The Hub


Photo Credits: WDET/Laura Herberg


Young People discuss their Detroit neighborhoods at the November 14 “Real Change, Real Talk” event:
“We Have a Voice and We Need to Use It!”

For anyone who thinks that Detroit’s young people don’t care – or don’t understand “real” challenges – or don’t appreciate the guidance of a caring grown-up – or aren’t filled with amazing wisdom – or don’t want to work and don’t want to contribute - think again! As far as “Building the Engine of Community Development in Detroit” is concerned, our young people deeply care about Detroit, understand its worst challenges, want to be part of the solution and believe they can make a difference.

Therein lies the future of our city’s neighborhoods. And if just half of these young people stay and work for change, we are going to be OK in Detroit.

35 young people ranging in age from 5 to 21 years old, from Detroit neighborhoods to the north, south, east and west, converged on the Cadieux Café on November 14 as part of BECDD’s “Real Change, Real Talk” series. They joined 21 adult leaders from philanthropy, community development organizations, corporations, academia and government to discuss these questions: “What Does A Youth-Centered Neighborhood Look Like? What Does It Feel Like? How are the Adults (Police, Teachers and Principals) Acting?

The discussion was different from the others in two ways. First, at each of the other three discussions, at least one adult spoke out for youth and expressed need for youth voice and participation in community efforts. The November event gave youth the floor so that they could speak for themselves. The adults in the room stayed quiet until the end of the discussion so they could listen and learn. By the time the night was over, there were few dry “grown up” eyes in the house. The young peoples’ answers were frank, brutal, inspirational, scary and insightful.

Second, the discussion started when everyone in the room got a chance to describe their neighborhood in one word – then hold up their “one-word” sign so others could see. How is it possible that “Neglected” and “Empowering” could be the most-used words? Because for these young people, both things are true, two opposite conditions happening at the same time, in the same places. These young people are true Detroiters – accustomed to horrific conditions, yet determined to make a change.

The details of the discussion are on record at the BECDD offices and anyone who is interested can take a look. In the meantime, here is a summary of the recurring themes in response to Co-Moderators’ Orlando Bailey and Donna Murray Brown’s question….What Does a Youth Centered Neighborhood Look Like? What Does It Feel Like?:

“It would have more helping hands”
“Adults would stop smoking and drinking and killing people”
“There would be community groups in every neighborhood and the adults would be stepping aside and letting young people step up because we have ideas to”
“There would be trees and flowers everywhere, and trash containers on the sidewalk”
“There would be art so people can express themselves”
“There would be bike lanes on every street”
“There would be a lot of parks and recreation centers and more libraries”
“It would be well-lit and there would be no more abandoned houses”
“It would feel safe”
“It would have places where you could go after school and get help with your homework”
“The adults would be like your grandfather – not mean and always looking out for you”
“The police would respect us”

Orlando Bailey asked the young people “what does community development mean to you”? Contrary to what we hear from many adult Detroit leaders - that community development is about new houses and shopping centers and investors coming to the neighborhood - these young people got to the heart of the matter:
“It would be a place where you could work your way to the top”
“It would be a place where people would make decisions together”
“It means showing people that they matter”
“Community Development is Hope”

The discussion wound down with the young people asking the adults in the room some questions. “What’s your plan for making Detroit better” asked a young woman from the Northend StoryTellers. The room quieted down as the adults in the room looked at each other. Finally Maria Salinas of Congress of Communities spoke up: “We are committed to making spaces for youth to have a voice and for residents to have the power to bring back their neighborhoods” she firmly stated.

If we have any doubt about the future of our City, this is where we can keep hope alive. By stepping back and letting young people step up. By seeing them as our partners, and listening to their wisdom. By showing up for them as much as possible. And in the meantime, by being “just like their grandpa” – always looking out for them.


Welcome to our new Project Manager, Lauren Boone.  Lauren is graduating with her Masters in Public Health from the University of Michigan in just four weeks.  She is settling in Detroit after working with the inspiring young people of the city, whom she continues to work with through her nonprofit, The Calmplex.  She is excited to join the team, learn a lot and contribute to the work of BECDD.