New Economy Initiative Advances Effort to Strengthen Southeast Michigan

As part of a major regional initiative to foster economic growth, the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan has begun soliciting grant applications from organizations working to accelerate the transition of the metro Detroit area to an innovation-based economy.

The eight-year, $100 million initiative — a joint effort of ten national, regional, and local foundations — will work to increase prosperity for all residents of southeast Michigan and prepare the region's workforce to thrive in a changing economy. To that end, NEI grants will support the efforts of nonprofits and public agencies to increase regional prosperity by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in new and existing industries and preparing the local workforce to succeed in an information-based economy. Initiative partners include the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the McGregor Fund, and the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher, Ford, Hudson-Webber, Kellogg, Knight, Kresge, Mott, and Skillman foundations.

Working with local and national economic advisers, NEI has developed a specific set of strategies to accomplish its objectives, along with a series of measurements to evaluate its success. The latter include rate of change in per-capita income, percent of the population between the ages of 24 and 35 with college degrees, percent of the population with high-wage jobs, and percent of the population who have confidence in the future of the region. NEI will award grants of up to $1 million, with more available for transformative projects.

"Today's realities demand talent, innovation, and entrepreneurship to drive success," said Steven K. Hamp, volunteer chair of NEI's governing council. "This initiative is philanthropy's response to the need to accelerate Metro Detroit's transition to compete in this global, knowledge economy."

"New Economy Initiative Launches $100 Million Effort to Strengthen Southeast Michigan Economy." John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Press Release 01/08/2008.