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.
Every month, Focus: HOPE provides regular food assistance to 5,000 mothers and children and 37,000 senior citizens across southeast Michigan. This means that since 1971 the organization has donated more than 501 million meals to ensure all community members have access to food. To do this, 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, meanwhile, volunteers assemble boxes of food to distribute to homebound seniors. And during the holidays, Focus: HOPE also distributes a special package of holiday food to the seniors in its program.
Yet Focus: HOPE isn't only focused on hunger. The center also aims to end the cycle of poverty through educational programming and career preparation. Since it began down this path in 1981, the organization has empowered nearly 12,000 people to obtain successful, satisfying careers while assisting high-school students in STEM courses and boosting the literacy rate of younger children.
At the core of Gleaners Community Food Bank since its founding in 1977 is a team of hardworking volunteers who all have a common mission in mind: to end hunger in southeastern Michigan. To that end these dedicated individuals distribute nutritious food, including overstock from grocery stores, food from the government, and nonperishables donated by the community, to hungry families, children, and seniors. Operating out of five distribution centers, Gleaners distributes nearly 100,000 meals per day through its network of 550 partner schools, soup kitchens, and shelters. In order to keep its donations going where they're most needed, the organization also operates efficiently, ensuring every dollar donated puts three meals on plates. Yet the minds behind Gleaners understand that emergency food supplies alone aren't enough to end hunger, so they also focus efforts on education and advocacy.
"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.
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.
Indulge in the great outdoors with a stroll through Detroit RiverWalk, a popular park in Detroit.
Check out the restaurant at this park for a delicious meal.
At this park, everyone will find something they love — kids included!
Parking is plentiful, so visitors can feel free to bring their vehicles.
Up your vitamin D by spending some time at Detroit RiverWalk's one-of-a-kind park today!