A decade ago, Detroit was on the verge of a landmark municipal bankruptcy. Emergency response times were among the slowest in the nation. Blight abounded in nearly every neighborhood. In the prior decade, Detroit had lost one-quarter of its population—more than 244,000 residents.
By Ellis Carr, President and CEO of Capital Impact Partners and CDC Small Business Finance
Ten years ago, Capital Impact Partners received an invitation from the Kresge Foundation to join in an effort to support Detroit as the city was reeling in the turbulence of the great recession. It was a seminal moment in our organization’s history, resulting in key shifts to our strategy and how we thought about investing – not only in buildings – but in communities.
Since COVID-19 began, times have been incredibly trying for many across the country. Schools and teachers have been particularly hard-hit, having to figure out what education looks like in this new reality. It has been grueling, the hours have been long, and all of this has taken place as teachers and school staff fear for the health and safety of their students, loved ones, and themselves.
By Ashlee Cunningham, Senior Specialist, Housing and Community Development
In Detroit, long-term disinvestment in the city’s neighborhoods has led to unequitable barriers to opportunity. Systemic racism and disenfranchisement limited opportunities for many Detroiters, more than 80 percent of whom are Black. That has kept many people from securing equitable access to safe, affordable housing; starting businesses; and other pathways to wealth building. As Detroit has worked to overcome bankruptcy, investment in the city has compounded these issues by leaving people living with low incomes with little ability to keep up with the pace of growth and gentrification for the neighborhoods they have called home for decades.