National Philanthropic Collaborative Announces Up To $17 Million for Detriot
Investment is part of the Living Cities Integration Initiative
to support ‘game changing’ innovations for urban areas
"When we helped the Detroit team to bring NCB Capital Impact into the effort, and they started seeing what types of projects that could be (financed) in the next few years, they saw there was more than we all thought."
- Ben Hecht, Living Cities CEO
DETROIT -- Living Cities, a collaborative of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, announced today that Detroit is one of five cities chosen as winners in the new Integration Initiative, which supports game-changing innovations that will address problems long considered intractable.
Detroit seeks to position the Woodward Corridor as a “regional urban core” in order to drive land-use planning, economic growth, anchor engagement, and educational investments. By focusing on the Woodward Corridor, home to Detroit’s major universities and hospitals, the initiative will create a model for older industrial cities of concentrating population and activity in sustainable corridors, expanding opportunity for low-income residents, and reusing vacant land. Through the Integration Initiative, Detroit is eligible for up to $17 million in grants, loans and Program-Related Investments (PRIs) to support its efforts. PRIs are flexible, low-cost loans provided at below-market rates to support charitable activity.
The Integration Initiative is an effort to leverage the financial investment, influence and leadership of Living Cities members to create a new framework for solving complex problems. It encourages local leaders to work together to challenge obsolete conventional wisdom, “rewire” the systems that are critical to making our cities places of opportunity for low income people, and drive the private market to work on behalf of low-income people. The Integration Initiative seeks to institutionalize these changes through a focus on changing local, state and federal policy. The support to Detroit is part of up to $80 million that will be invested in five metropolitan areas.
As part of its application, Detroit’s public, private, philanthropic and non-profit sectors agreed to work as true partners on the initiative. The Skillman Foundation and the University Cultural Center Association coordinated the application. Other partners in the effort are the City of Detroit Planning & Development and Building, Safety & Engineering departments; Michigan State Housing Development Authority; The Kresge Foundation; The Skillman Foundation; Detroit Medical Center; Wayne State University; Henry Ford Health System; Vanguard Community Development Corporation; Invest Detroit; and Data Driven Detroit.
“We are excited about the opportunity to invest in Detroit,” said Pablo Farias, Chairman of the Living Cities Board of Directors and Vice-President, Economic Opportunity and Assets at the Ford Foundation. “Throughout America, our cities are facing significant challenges, each of which is too large to be addressed by a single approach. Through this integrative approach, the public, private, non-profit and philanthropic sectors can work together to make our cities places of opportunity for low-income people.”
Living Cities resources will help Detroit leverage extensive local and national philanthropic and governmental support, increasing focused investment along the Corridor, providing capital to a frozen market, and allowing critical projects to move forward. Funding will support the initiative’s work to stabilize neighborhoods adjacent to Corridor through blight reduction and productive re-use of land and buildings, including creation of at least 200 new units of mixed-income housing, and renovation of at least 75 properties through a community land trust. It will also result in attraction of 10,000 new residents to the Corridor and provision of at least $50 million in additional vendor and supplier opportunities to local businesses.
“Detroit is using the Integration Initiative to aid the city as it works to build new public systems. This also is an opportunity to work past the barriers that have prevented leaders from working across sectors and across issues in the past,” said Living Cities CEO Ben Hecht. “This selection represents a continuation of our relationship with Detroit. We have previously invested in green retrofitting initiatives there. In addition, senior mayoral appointees have taken part in our Project on Municipal Innovation, which is held in partnership with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government to help support public sector leaders at the municipal level. We look forward to working with this community to create greater opportunities for low-income residents through the Integration Initiative.
The five winners announced today were selected after a comprehensive competitive process. Other cities chosen for the Integration Initiative are Baltimore, Cleveland, Newark and the Twin Cities region of Minneapolis/St. Paul. The announcement was made during a launch event at the Museum of African American History in Detroit.
The following is an overview of the initiatives to be undertaken in the other four cities.
Baltimore – Includes anchor institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art, as well as the Annie E. Casey Foundation, city government and non-profit partners and focuses on creating job opportunities and improving neighborhoods in Central and East Baltimore, while preparing residents for opportunities created by the construction of the Red Line, a 14-mile, east-west transit corridor.
Cleveland – The initiative will work with nationally significant institutions including the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University to implement procurement, hiring, employee incentives and capital investment programs that develop local jobs and businesses that benefit low-income people in the region.
Newark – Low income populations suffer not only from a lack of access to health care, but also from a lack of access to healthy, fresh food, safe streets, green space and affordable, well-built housing. The initiative will employ an integrated approach to health and wellness, improving outcomes for targeted low-income communities through health care jobs, investments in housing, education, mobile and school-based primary health centers, supermarkets and other outlets for fresh food, and systems transformation.
Twin Cities – The initiative takes advantage of substantial investments in three regional transit lines to create a model of how development of transit can expand opportunity for low-income people. The initiative brings together leaders from local, state and federal government, along with the private, philanthropic and not-for-profit sectors to develop frameworks for preservation of affordable housing, mitigation of construction disruptions on small businesses, development of mixed-use and mixed-income housing, and job creation in ways that benefit low income people and communities.
About Living Cities
Founded in 1991, Living Cities is a unique philanthropic collaborative of 22 of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions. Over the past 19 years, Living Cities has invested more than $1 billion in American cities-leveraged into $16 billion and making a demonstrable difference in neighborhoods throughout the nation. Our members are not simply funders. They participate at the senior management level on the Living Cities Board of Directors and contribute the time of 80+ expert staff toward crafting and implementing an agenda that is squarely focused on improving the lives of low-income people and the urban areas in which they live.
Living Cities Members: AARP Foundation, AXA Equitable, Bank of America, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Citi Foundation, J.P. Morgan Chase & Company, Deutsche Bank, Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, MetLife, Inc., Morgan Stanley, Prudential Financial, The Rockefeller Foundation, Surdna Foundation Affiliate Members: The Cleveland Foundation, The Skillman Foundation