New Economy Initiative Launches $100 Million Effort to Strengthen Southeast Michigan Economy

DETROIT — As part of a major regional initiative to foster economic growth, the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan (NEI) today began accepting grant applications from nonprofit organizations for projects that will help accelerate the transition of Metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy.

The New Economy Initiative, a joint program of 10 national, regional and local foundations, has committed $100 million to an eight-year effort designed to help southeast Michigan attain a position of leadership in the new global economy. An important founding principle of the initiative is to increase prosperity for all residents and communities in the region with an emphasis on expanding opportunity for all.

Grants awarded through the initiative will support the efforts of nonprofit organizations and public agencies to increase prosperity in the region by fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in new and existing industries and by preparing the region’s workforce to succeed in an information-based economy.

“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.”

The New Economy Initiative seeks to build a prosperous future for the region, with high per-capita income and low unemployment, where all residents have the opportunity to thrive in the new economy. NEI sponsors and supports activities in three strategic areas: talent, innovation, and culture change. With partners in the region and in the state, NEI is working to:

  1. Prepare, attract and retain skilled workers in southeast Michigan. (Talent)
  2. Encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in new and existing enterprises in the region. (Innovation)
  3. Change the region’s culture regarding learning, work, and innovation. (Culture Change)

Working with local and national economic advisers, the NEI has developed a specific set of strategies to accomplish its objectives, along with a series of measurements to evaluate its success. Some of the key metrics include rate of change in:

  • Per-capita income, both overall and by race/ethnicity
  • Percent of population ages 24-35 with college degrees, overall and by race/ethnicity
  • Percent of population with high-wage jobs, overall and by race/ethnicity
  • Percent of population who have confidence in the future of the region.

The New Economy Initiative will award grants of up to $1 million, with larger grants available for unique transformative projects. Organizations interested in applying are encouraged to review the initiative’s Web site,, for information on submitting a proposal.

About The New Economy Initiative

Ten local and national foundations launched the New Economy Initiative in the spring of 2007 with funding of $100 million. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which initiated the collaborative, is serving as its administrative home.

The 10 participating foundations are:

The work of the New Economy Initiative is governed by a 20-member governing council consisting of representatives of the 10 foundations and 10 community leaders from southeast Michigan.