The Ford Foundation has announced grants totaling $1.3 million to seven organizations working to strengthen and broaden civic participation in Detroit.
The grants are aimed at maintaining the momentum coming out of the so-called "grand bargain" that helped resolve the city’s bankruptcy proceedings and will support community-based efforts to ensure that public agencies act with greater accountability, transparency, and civic input. Recipients include the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan, which will use its grant to create a coalition of community organizing groups working to address inequality across sectors and neighborhoods; Detroit Voices, which will use the funds to support the building of Community Advisory Councils in the city’s seven council districts; the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, which will support efforts by the Consortium of Hispanic Agencies to incorporate community organizing and policy engagement into their work; and PICO, which plans to work with the faith community to develop leaders from the ranks of immigrants, low-wage workers, and formerly incarcerated men and women.
Earlier this year, as part of the "grand bargain," the foundation committed $125 million over fifteen years in support of efforts to revitalize the city. In 2015, the foundation will make additional grants of more than $10 million to organizations in the city.
"It's critical to lift up the voices of those living closest to the challenges in Detroit and to build influence and problem-solving capacity from the ground up," said Xavier de Souza Briggs, vice president of the foundation's Economic Opportunity and Assets program. "This marks the beginning of a new phase in our support for Detroit, in which we work with partners to creatively support the city’s people and their efforts to set Detroit on a more open and inclusive path."