"I pledge allegiance to the world to care for the earth and sea and air. To cherish every living thing with peace and justice everywhere." These words begin each morning at The Greening of Detroit's Camp Greening, inspiring in children a sense of responsibility and ownership for their planet. Yet, the summer camp isn't the only program striving to create a greener Detroit. Urban gardening and agricultural programs, workforce development, tree plantings, and gardening projects help to educate people and transform the Motor City into a verdant, safe environment. The Greening partners with neighborhood groups, churches, schools, and corporations on its mission to improve parks and transform vacant land into useful landscapes.
Emanating from the fearless minds of Cass Community Social Services, Detroit Urban Legends Haunted House elicits the yearly jumps, squeals, shrieks, and gasps demanded by Americans tired of only having the reverse extinction of dinosaurs to fear. In a deft blending of two U.S. traditions, Urban Legends combines over-the-top thrills with distinctly unfrightening charity, as ticket sales go to help raise money for programs that provide relief and support for homeless mothers and children. Urban Legends is set inside the sprawling, 2,500-square-foot Cass Community United Methodist Church. Expect all manner of ghoul, ghost, hovering severed limb, and battery-less ringing cell phone upon entering the vast macabre underworld.
In 2000, Ric Geyer bought an abandoned building in the middle of Detroit, but had no plans to raise another hotel or trendy restaurant. His goal was innovation—or rather incubation. In the following years, he transformed the space into an arts incubator called the 4731 Gallery, a place where painters, photographer, and designers could come together to share ideas, hold parties and exhibitions, and work to further their craft.
When Derek Weaver, who managed the gallery, heard that his neighborhood was labeled one of the 15 poorest in the country, he decided to change public perception. Working with the graffiti artist Sintex and fine artist Sydney James, Derek launched the Grand River Creative Corridor project to create more than 100 murals and outdoor gallery exhibits. Today, more than 50 artists and 300 volunteers have contributed their time and talents to ornamenting a half-mile stretch of Grand River Avenue with colorful designs and playful characters. By the time the project is complete, the artists will have painted murals on 15 buildings, designed an outdoor gallery at a bus stop, and cleaned up overgrown weeds and trash. Each mural is painted with the consent of the local business owners, and installations reflect their line of business to increase exposure while revitalizing the neighborhood.
The AFG shelter can house up to 30 young women (and up to 10 of their children) at any given time, but due to lack of funding, six beds at its shelter are currently not open, and the shelter turns away one–three young women every day. At the shelter, which resembles a college residence hall, young women participate in education programs, counseling, and employment training to help them transition to independent living.
TechTown works to revitalize Detroit’s entrepreneurial culture by funding business growth. It helps connect small businesses with talent, locations, capital, and potential customers. By incubating and accelerating new businesses, TechTown aims to stimulate the city’s overall economic outlook and fuel job creation among its residents. Partnering with Wayne State University, the organization also provides entrepreneurs with access to research and technology.
Kingdom Creations Enterprises creates unique and dynamic business plans that individuals can apply to create a competitive edge in their businesses. KCE also incorporates companies, completes 501 c 3 applications and writes grant proposals for businesses.
Every month, Focus: HOPE provides regular food assistance to 5,000 mothers and children and 37,000 senior citizens across southeast Michigan. Volunteers work alongside staff at four food centers, where people experiencing hunger can shop for nutritious items and produce for free. At Focus: HOPE’s central warehouse, volunteers assemble boxes of nutritious food to distribute to homebound seniors. Since 1971, the organization has donated more than 501 million meals to ensure all community members have access to food. During the holidays, Focus: HOPE also distributes a special package of holiday food to the seniors in its program.