For Immediate Release:
February 28, 2009

Detroit, MI – The New Economy Initiative (NEI) today announced a first wave of $11 million in grants to organizations driving economic change in southeast Michigan.

“In the face of this terrible economic crisis, NEI is dedicated to helping our community respond and look forward,” said Steve Hamp, chair of the NEI governing council. “We want the community to know NEI is working to help lay the building blocks for economic renewal.”

“These grants are examples of how our region can build on its strengths, and overcome barriers to economic opportunity,” said John Austin, executive director of NEI. “Together they contribute to creating new jobs, and a more diverse industry-base in the region.”

To enhance Detroit’s creative sector in the arts, media, design, architecture, music and film, and implement the Creative Corridor initiative led by the Detroit Renaissance, NEI announced:

  • A $2.5 million grant to the University Cultural Center Association as part of a $37 million project to develop a dense residential and business arts district in the Sugar Hill neighborhood – building on the rich history of music, art and related enterprise in Detroit.
  • A $3 million grant to the College for Creative Studies (CCS) to fund the “Argonaut Project,” – the development of the Alfred Kahn building in the New Center area as a world center of teaching, learning and business incubation in the arts, media, design and related fields. The project also provides expanded educational opportunities in creative occupations, including new charter middle and high schools that will provide a pipeline for Detroit youth to these growing industries.

To grow the health, medicine and bio-science industry NEI announced grants, including:

  • A $750,000 grant to Ann Arbor SPARK to open the Michigan Life Sciences and Innovation Center, providing a business incubation complex for life-sciences firms and entrepreneurs.
  • A $42,500 grant to the Detroit Renaissance to support the planning by Renaissance, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and other regional economic development organizations to expand the health and life-sciences industry in southeast Michigan.

To support greater entrepreneurship, NEI is investing to commercialize new technologies and train the next generation of Detroit entrepreneurs, including:

  • A $1.5 million grant to The Michigan Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MIIE), a consortium of Michigan’s 15 public universities formed to accelerate the movement of ideas from university research to job-producing new enterprises. The grant will allow the Consortium to support 20 new start-up businesses and entrepreneur initiatives.
  • A $950,000 grant to Bizdom University, an entrepreneurial boot camp located on the campus of Wayne State University. Bizdom U trains talented young adults as entrepreneurs and helps them launch new businesses in the city of Detroit. The grant from NEI will enable Bizdom U to double participant enrollment in the 2008-2009 program session.

To keep talented young people in the region, applying their skills to create Michigan’s economic future, NEI announced:

  • A $1.9 million grant to the Detroit Regional Chamber to support the implementation of a statewide system to place 25,000 Michigan college students in internships while they are school in Michigan, increasing the likelihood that they will stay in the state after graduation.
  • Finally, to support a true message about the region’s economic strengths and opportunities, NEI announced:
  • A $400,000 grant to the Detroit Renaissance for the Detroit News Bureau, focused on sharing stories of economic growth and transformation throughout the region.

The New Economy Initiative is one of the nation’s most expansive philanthropic partnerships dedicated to economic transformation in the region hardest hit by manufacturing job loss and the global economic crisis. NEI includes $100 million in funding commitments from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield, Michigan), the Ford Foundation (New York), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek, Michigan), the John S. and James L .Knight Foundation (Miami), The Kresge Foundation (Troy, Michigan), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint, Michigan), and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit). The 10 participating foundations are leading the implementation and governance of the Initiative. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which initiated the collaborative, is serving as its administrative home.