Philanthropy Has $3 Billion Impact on Detroit Economy, Report Finds

The New Economy Initiative, an economic development initiative launched by ten foundations in 2007, has created nearly $3 billion in impact across southeastern Michigan, a report from NEI finds.

The Impact Report of the New Economy Initiative (49 pages, PDF) found that between 2007 and 2015 NEI invested $96.2 million in organizations and programs that support entrepreneurs and small businesses, which in turn have generated $2.9 billion in economic output and created 17,490 jobs in the region, 70 percent of them in Wayne County. Conducted by PwC and the Upjohn Institute, the analysis found that NEI grantees have matched those grants with $232 million in additional program dollars; that 4,400 companies have been directly serviced by NEI grantees; and that those companies have generated $1.9 billion in real gross domestic product.

The report also highlights the initiative's success in increasing social equity and inclusion in the region's economy. For example, nearly 40 percent of the companies NEI has supported since 2009 are minority-owned — double the national average — while the initiative has helped boost the number of business support organizations and programs in the region from fewer than ten in 2007 to more than fifty today.

Since its launch, NEI has received support from twelve foundations — the Charles Stewart Mott, Ford, Hudson-Webber, Knight, Kresge, Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher, Skillman, Surdna, Kellogg, and William Davidson foundations; the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan; and the McGregor Fund. For its next phase, running through 2020, NEI has secured commitments totaling $13.5 million from the McGregor Fund and the Ford, Knight, and Ralph C. Wilson Jr. foundations toward a goal of $28.5 million.

"NEI rightfully recognizes that entrepreneurship isn't the exclusive domain of the privileged," said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. "We believe in the power of inclusion and know that when opportunities are made available across communities, entrepreneurship can be a powerful means of addressing inequality."

"Philanthropy as Growth Engine: New Reports Find Economic Development Impact in Detroit Nearly $3 Billion." New Economy Initiative Press Release 09/14/2016. "Impact Report of the New Economy Initiative." New Economy Initiative Report 09/14/2016.