Detroit revitalization plan supported by $5.75 million from Knight Foundation

Partnership between federal government and local leaders to spur citywide transformation

credit: Flickr User Memories_by_Mike

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DETROIT — (Sept. 27, 2013) — As part of a White House-led plan to support the economic revitalization of Detroit, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced a commitment of $5.75 million to the city, in partnership with federal and city governments, private companies and other philanthropic organizations.

The investment is being made in concert with a federal initiative to complement the efforts of local leaders and organizations working to address Detroit’s fiscal crisis. Together, the groups will explore ways to build on progress and investments made thus far, to tackle issues from eradicating blight to strengthening public services.

“We are excited that federal, private and philanthropic interests are coming together to bring new capacity to the city’s future,” said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director in Detroit. “This partnership reveals the many forces involved in Detroit’s current transformation and reminds us all of our common stake in ensuring the continued vibrancy of our cities.”

As part of a multi-million dollar revitalization plan supported by the federal government and other organizations, Knight investments include: 

  • Detroit Future City: providing $250,000 to fund the human capital necessary to put in place recommendations from a White House-led information technology team, as part of a long-term, strategic plan for a prosperous Detroit developed by city officials and the community.

  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan: providing $250,000 to fund 50 $5,000 capacity grants to subsidize training for public sector and nonprofit staff who are advancing the future of Detroit in areas of economic growth, land use, city systems, planning and neighborhoods (the Detroit Future City “Elements”).

  • New Economy Initiative: committing an additional $5 million to help transform Detroit’s economy by building a network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

  • Detroit Development Fund: providing $250,000 to support early stage retail and creative businesses in Detroit and furthering the organization’s mission to revitalize economically distressed areas in the city.

Announcement of the commitment came directly after a meeting, called by Obama administration officials, that brought together federal, state and local leaders across sectors to discuss solutions to Detroit’s economic crisis. Attendees included: Gene Sperling, national economic adviser and director of the National Economic Council; Gov. Rick Snyder; Mayor Dave Bing; and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Representatives from Knight Foundation, Ford Foundation, Skillman Foundation and Kresge Foundation also attended, along with other community and business leaders. The meeting is part of a long-term plan by the federal government to take an active role in Detroit revitalization efforts in partnership with local leaders and community members.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit


Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]