Knight, Ford Contribute $2.5 Million to Detroit Neighborhood Fund

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced that it is partnering with the Ford Foundation to invest in efforts to revitalize neighborhoods in Detroit.

To that end, Knight will provide $1.5 million over three years in support of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund, a public-private partnership between the City of Detroit and Invest Detroit. The initiative is working to demonstrate that neighborhood redevelopment in Detroit can be done in a financially sound, sustainable, and inclusive way. The Ford Foundation, as part of its larger commitment to addressing inequality in all its forms, has committed $1 million to the effort.

Initially, the investment will be focused on three areas of the city: the West Village on the city's Lower East Side, the Vernor Highway corridor in southwest Detroit, and the Livernois-McNichols area in northwest Detroit. Development in these neighborhoods includes a mix of new commercial and residential projects, rehabilitation of existing residential properties, and, in the Fitzgerald neighborhood, a quarter-square-mile of blight-free residential homes with new green recreation space, community gardens, orchards, and a walking path connecting the University of Detroit Mercy to Marygrove College. The city's goal is to expand the neighborhood redevelopment and community planning to seven additional areas spanning more than fifty neighborhoods over the next three years.

"Building a network of thriving neighborhoods in Detroit is essential to attracting and keeping talent in the city and creating new economic opportunities for all," said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit. "The Strategic Neighborhood Fund will help support the growth of more small businesses in Detroit, bring people of different backgrounds and income levels together, and create more of the kind of places where people want to live."