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Fundraising : Detroit Development News

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Midtown Lending Solutions takes aim at condo lending logjam

Midtown Detroit Inc is joining a small-but-growing group of Michigan-based community-development-oriented nonprofits to help make financing for renovations and sales more accessible.

Four of these eight non-profits (Midtown Detroit Inc, Southwest Solutions, Vanguard Community Development Corp and Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp) are from Detroit and make up the bulk of the Michigan Lending Solutions consortium. The group helps homeowners prevent foreclosure, find mortgages for home sales and locate financing for building renovations.

The Midtown branch of the Michigan Lending Solutions, Midtown Lending Solutions, is based in Midtown Detroit Inc's Co-Lab space on Woodward. One of Midtown Lending Solutions is helping locate financing for condo sales.

"At least 85 percent of all of the condos in Detroit are non-warrantable," says David LeClerc, manager of lending operations of Michigan Lending Solutions. He adds that non-warrantable means banks won't extend mortgages in those condo buildings because there aren't enough pre-sales or the condo association doesn't have enough cash reserves or to many units in the building are rentals, among a bevy of other disqualifiers.

Midtown Lending Solutions is looking to secure a $15 million loan fund that would be able to provide the financing for local condos sales. If enough condo sales are approved through this fund, that should help release pressure on the market and make it more attractive to traditional lenders. LeClerk believes the fund will be able to close 200 mortgage deals for local condos within the next two years.

"We believe we will be able to free up all of these condominiums within two years so they can leverage traditional financing," LeClerc says.

The Michigan Lending Solutions will also be able to help other homeowners and small developers find financing. That could be as complicated as nailing down a $140,000 loan to renovate a derelict building to financing a $5,000 loan so a homeowner can improve their house with minimal hassle and frustration.

Source: David LeClerc, manager of lending operations with Michigan Lending Solutions
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

People for Palmer Park plan to refurbish trails in park

The People of Palmer Park group is working to bring back the 12 miles of trails in and around the park, starting with going for a $50,000 grant.

The non-profit activist group has been making great strides to improve the quality of life in Palmer Park and the neighborhoods surrounding it in recent years. Some of its wins have included planting fruit orchards throughout the park and planting sunflowers along Woodward Avenue.

People for Palmer Park
is now going for a $50,000 grant to improve the trail system throughout the park. The Tom's of Maine contest is awarding $150,000 in grants to six nonprofits from across the U.S. The Palmer Park project is the Michigan representative. The project with the most online votes wins a $50,000 grant while the next four runners up each receive $12,000 grants. Voting closes out today.

People for Palmer Park would use the money to restore and rebuild the trails and path throughout the park, along with adding signage to notes the area's historic and natural assets. "There is a lot of history in the park, like Native American history," says Sarah James, a board member for the People for Palmer Park. "We want to highlight the whole area."

Source: Sarah James, a board member for the People for Palmer Park
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Hatch Detroit's four finalists to be determined Wednesday

The final four of this year's Hatch Detroit competition are set to be named on Wednesday.

Voting to determine the four finalists for the second-annual competition finished yesterday. The contestants are competing for $50,000 in seed capital to open a retail location for their business in Detroit. This year's semi-finalists include some familiar names that have been growing their businesses from their homes and hope to leverage the Hatch cash to build a home for their budding businesses.

"There is a lot more experience in this group than what we had last year," says Ted Balowski, co-founder of Hatch Detroit. "A lot of them have worked through Eastern Market or the Rust Belt Market (in downtown Ferndale). They have worked very hard to build up their following."

Balowski and Nick Gorga launched Hatch Detroit last year as a vehicle to champion, support and grow locally owned retail businesses. The nonprofit accomplishes this through funding its $50,000 contest, education, exposure, and mentoring. The bottom line is providing a stimulus that helps revitalize the Motor City and inspires others in the community to create change.

This year's winner will be revealed on Sept. 27. Last year's winner, Joe Posch of HUGH, is close to opening his contemporary mens fashions store in Midtown. "He is going into the Auburn building, which still being built," Balowski says.

Source: Ted Balowski, co-founder of Hatch Detroit
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Centennial set for North Corktown's Spaulding Court

Celebration is in order for Spaulding Court, a 20 unit Townhouse in Detroit, which turns 100 years old this year.

A down-home street festival is Saturday June 16. The party is free and open to the public, and there will be a cash bar.
 
Built in 1912, Spaulding Court was a lively community for those living in the North Corktown neighborhood along Rosa Parks Boulevard. By 2009 though, the building had become a serious hazard to the public and was seized by Wayne County. Nearby residents then formed Friends of Spaulding Court, a community based nonprofit on a mission to promote the strength and diversity of the Corktown community. 
 
The organization stepped in to revive the property, stabilizing the neighborhood and developing high impact redevelopment models. They also hosted nearly 50 Soup at Spaulding events that raised cash for rehab at Spaulding Court and other local projects.
 
RSVP on Facebook. Contributions/donation are also welcome. Spaulding Court is at 2737 Rosa Parks.
 
Source: Jon Koller
Writer: Leah Johnson

Hellenic Museum of Michigan greens up new home in Midtown

The Hellenic Museum of Michigan, an institution devoted to celebrating Green culture, is turning one of Midtown's more historic buildings into one of the neighborhood's greenest.

The Hellenic Museum of Michigan recently bought the Scherer mansion at 67 E. Kirby, one of the few remaining grand mansions along the lower Woodward corridor. Robert Pauli Schearer invented the soft gelatin capsule, which was a major step forward for the pharmaceutical industry.

The Scherer mansion was built in 1912 and eventually became the home of the Detroit Children's Museum. The building was vacant for 10 years before the Hellenic Museum of Michigan purchased it with plans of turning it into its future home in the heart of Detroit's cultural center.

"We're going to upgrade the entire building," says Ernest Zachary, president of the Hellenic Museum of Michigan. "We're gradually getting it together."

The renovation will have a heavily lean on sustainability. The Hellenic Museum of Michigan has installed LED lights throughout the building and plans to install other green features, such as low-flow plumbing, insulation and a geothermal heating/cooling system. The Hellenic Museum of Michigan has received a $66,160 SmartBuilding's grant from the city to help make these upgrades.

The Hellenic Museum of Michigan is working to get the building to the point where it can be open on a daily basis. It has raised about $450,000 to get the project this far and is working to raise even more. For information on making a donation to the effort, call Zachary at 313-831-6100.

Source: Ernest Zachary, president of the Hellenic Museum of Michigan
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Hatch Detroit makes first hire, plans to expand offerings

Hatch Detroit is growing, making its first hire and planning to expand its service offerings to help more small businesses take root in Detroit.

"We're in a growth mode right now," says Ted Balowski, co-founder of Hatch Detroit. "We're laying the groundwork right now."

Hatch Detroit is a nonprofit that champions and supports independent retail businesses in Detroit through funding, exposure, education and mentoring. It debuted last year with a $50,000 contest to support an entrepreneur opening a retail outlet in Midtown.

Hatch Detroit recently hired Vittoria Katanski (marketing director of the Southwest Detroit Business Association) as its first executive director. She will oversee next year's Hatch Detroit retail funding competition. She will also lead some outreach efforts later this year that will help educate entrepreneurs and citizen leadership. Hatch Detroit is also in the final stages of nailing down a partnership with a major, local corporation that will help the nonprofit pursue its social engagement initiatives.

Source: Ted Balowski, co-founder of Hatch Detroit
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Preservation Detroit regroups, rebrands and works to save McGhee House

What was once Preservation Wayne is now Preservation Detroit, a new name for a renewed organization that specializes in historical preservation and is focusing its efforts on mapping out and registering the historic structures throughout the city.

"There are so many treasures in this city that just rot away," says Marion Christiansen, interim executive director of Preservation Detroit. "We cannot allow that to happen."

One of the non-profit's newest priorities is working to preserve the Orsel & Minnie McGhee house on the near West Side. The four square-style house at 4626 SeeBaldt (just northwest of I-96 and Tireman) played a critical role in the repeal of race-based restrictive covenants in property deeds.

Orsel McGhee, a press operator for the Detroit Free Press, and his wife Minnie, a postal worker, rented the house for a decade during the depression and tried to purchase it. The block club sued to remove the McGhee family during World War II. By 1948 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against restrictive covenants based on the McGhee lawsuit and another similar case from St. Louis.

The McGhee house has been a rental for years until it was recently sold to its longtime tenants. They reached out to Preservation Detroit about helping preserve the house, which is on the Michigan Historical Register but not the National Register of Historic Places.

"It really is a treasure," Christiansen says. "It has fallen into a little disrepair."

Preservation Detroit is working to map and catalog the city's historic structures, like the McGhee house, on the state and national historic lists. The hope is identifying these buildings and establishing what needs to be done to preserve them will help make sure they survive. For instance, Preservation Detroit is helping fundraise for a new roof and other essential improvements for the McGhee house and by putting it on the National Register of Historic Places makes it eligible for tax credits and other governmental incentives.

For information on Preservation Detroit and its efforts to preserve the McGhee house, click here.

Source: Marion Christiansen, interim executive director of Preservation Detroit
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

The Peacock Room renovation brings transparency to crowd sourcing

Crowd sourcing has become a double-edge sword in Detroit. The innovative funding tool can be both beneficial (Hatch Detroit and The Detroit Institute of Bagels) and controversial (Robocop and Jack Detroit). Rachel Lutz believes crowd funding projects need more transparency, and she's following that up with the renovation/historic preservation of the space for The Peacock Room.
 
"I have some strong ideas about crowd sourcing to come up with start-up funds," Lutz says. "If you are having a hard time pitching an investor for a small amount of money, maybe you should rethink what you're doing."

Midtown-based The Peacock Room is a boutique in the Park Shelton that features apparel, accessories and gifts, along with upscale consignment and resale items. While she was preparing her space last year, Lutz stumbled upon the details of the Crystal Dinning Room for the building's original occupant, the Wardell Hotel.

Lutz has since worked with the city and Preservation Wayne to preserve the details of the historic space. She coordinated a crowd sourcing campaign with Preservation Wayne so the nonprofit makes sure whatever money is raised goes toward the preservation of the room, and not toward building her business.

"This space will be here long after the PR ends," Lutz says. "I wanted to make sure people who were contributing were contributing toward the neighborhood."

Lutz describes The Peacock Room's innovative partnership with Preservation Wayne as a way to bring order and expectations to crowd sourcing. In turn, it makes investors feel more invested in the venture and the social entrepreneurial aspect of it.

"How are you going to be accountable to how that money is spent?" Lutz says. "If you raised $5,000 from Aunt Bertha you have to look her in the eye on Thanksgiving."

Source: Rachel Lutz, owner of The Peacock Room
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Rosa Parks foundry building erupts with incubator, retail activity

For Scott Griffin and Angel Gambino, the co-owners of Corktown's newest business and retail incubation space, redeveloping the old foundry at 2051 Rosa Parks Blvd. "provides a greater context for the neighborhood, increasing and enhancing the visibility" of Detroit's oldest neighborhood.

The Lincoln Brass Works foundry made bullets during World War II -- Griffin calls the 100,000 sq. ft space "an extraordinary example of classic Detroit industrial architecture." The building's eccentric layout, with options ranging from small offices to large, dramatic spaces, makes it perfect for the mixed-use environment envisioned by the owners, who hail from New York. In the six weeks since Gambino and Griffin purchased the building, they've spent their time erasing the improvements the previous owner made to the building. While the previous owner had normalized the spaces into typical office cubicles with carpeting and dropped ceilings, Griffin says they're focused on "undressing the building so the classic architecture shines."

That eye to design has paid off. Griffin says Loveland Technologies, Curbed Detroit and the new Huffington Post have all rented offices inside the foundry. Corktown Cinema is launching its re-imagination (courtesy of Big F Deal) of the art house theater in the building, which Griffin says, "is a tremendous boost to the nightlife in the neighborhood and the greater community." And while he's mum on the details, he says they're negotiating almost 20 office and retail leases in the next week.

Source: Scott Griffin, co-owner
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Thrive Detroit monthly newspaper set to hit the streets in time for Charter vote

Delphia Simmons says she has no previous media experience. But as a project manager for the Coalition on Temporary Housing in the Cass Corridor, she learned a lot about the plight of the city's homeless. And after a whirlwind summer, this winner of 2011's Kiva Detroit mini-grant program will launch Thrive Detroit, the city's first street paper, in time for the November charter commission vote.

Street papers, which offer homeless and at-risk entrepreneurs the ability to work as vendors by selling the papers (and keeping the proceeds) are lively additions to the local media scene in cities like Ann Arbor and Boulder, CO. Simmons, working in partnership with the Detroit chapter of the National Association for Black Journalists, Model D (which will share content with Thrive) and community writers, will offer readers a monthly 12-page tabloid-style publication for $1. Vendors purchase the papers for 25 cents each; and keep the proceeds. Simmons and a team of five are currently laying out the issue from their office at COTS headquarters on Peterboro St.

Simmons says Thrive Detroit will provide a niche by spotlighting social justice and community issues. "We'll have information on the charter vote, a relationship column, a movie review, and a story on Occupy Detroit," she says of the debut issue. "There was a wedding down at the Occupy Detroit site in Grand Circus Park, and we were there to shoot it."

Simmons says Thrive Detroit is still waiting for the city to grant the nonprofit street permits for their vendors to sell papers. For now, they will offer subscriptions. She says they're also looking for local businesses which would be willing to host a vendor selling copies on their property. If you're a local business owner who is interested in helping Thrive Detroit see the light, head to their website (you can also provide a donation).

Source: Delphia Simmons, founder, Thrive Detroit
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Grants, Kickstarter and a lot of hard work bring art park to Lincoln Street

Down at the newly-imagined Lincoln Street Art Park, bridging New Center and Woodbridge, the Oct. 29 dedication ceremony will be both a celebration of local funders and believers, and a chance to find out what lies ahead for one of the city's most exciting new community spaces.

The Lincoln Street Art Park is a collaborative project between Detroit Synergy, Recycle Here! and Midtown, Inc., funded with the help of a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (not to mention 44 art-lovers who ponied up Kickstarter funds to help make the park a possibility). This community space, designed by James Willer on land donated by Recycle Here!'s Matthew Naimi, will feature plenty of recycled and re-imagined materials, not to mention the works of Lincoln Street Art Park's founding artists -- Marianne Burrows, Amanda Box, John Suave, Lindsay Harnish, Sarah Gavie, Carl Oxley III, and graffiti artists Fel3000 and BrownBag -- from murals and paintings to sculptures, and even a garden of wishes.

"Lindsay Harnish did this installation/exhibition at Figment on Belle Isle this year, where she made this handmade paper with wildflower seeds in it, and invited people to write wishes on the paper," says Michelle DiMercurio of Detroit Synergy, who serves on the park planning team. "Then, for Figment, she strung them up on a tree, so she had a tree of wishes. So we took the wishes, and we actually planted them in the garden."

The dedication ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 29 kicks off at 4:30 p.m., though the bonfire will last till 10 p.m. Make sure to drop by for hot apple cider, s'mores and the inside scoop on plans for the park's second phase of development.

"It's a chance to do something permanent and have that be something that people can enjoy," says DiMercurio. "And it's a way to establish connections between the neighborhoods," she says, noting that the Lincoln Street Art Park is a "connection point" between many other local green spaces, like the Woodbridge Community Garden, New Center Park, Anna Scripps Park and Sprit of Hope. "It's connecting dots on the map that are about a mile and a half to two miles apart, so it makes this little chain of green spots throughout the neighborhoods."

Click here to RSVP to the dedication on Facebook.

Source: Michelle DiMercurio, Detroit Synergy
Writer: Ashley C. Woods



Marygrove College opens Tom Doak-designed golf practice facility

Golf architect Tom Doak has designed four of the world's 100 top golf courses, according to Golf Magazine. He's now left his mark on Detroit, in the form of a pro bono golf practice facility crafted by Doak for the Midnight Golf Program and students at Marygrove College.

The Midnight Golf Program is a 30-week course for high school students that teaches life essentials like financial literacy and community activism alongside the rules and customs of golf.

"The organization does amazing work with youth around their own development, life skills, life lessons and choices and college preparedness, and it's all built around the game of golf," says Marygrove President Dr. David Fike, who partnered with the Midnight Golf Program several years ago and hosts the students on the university campus. "They utilize the game of golf in emphasizing successful life choices, integrity and discipline."

Those students will now have the chance to study chipping and putting in the new facility, which includes a large sand bunker, a four-hole short course, two practice tee areas with 26 hitting bays and a putting green. It's located near the soccer fields just to the left of the college's main entrance off McNichols. It will also be the home practice facility for Marygrove's new intercollegiate golf program. "Tom Doak says you can practice any shot with the exception of a long tee with the space that we've designed here," he says.

Dr. Fike says the facility was also built with a commitment to environmental sustainability, inspired by the influence of the sisters and servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who founded and continue to guide the university. The college worked with Renaissance Golf to build the facility without altering the topography of the land. The golf facility uses 100 percent organic seaweed fertilizer donated by Ocean Organics and is committed to using as little water as possible, thanks to a low irrigation grass seed mixture designed by Tom Mead.

"It's serving inner-city youth with a game that doesn't typically provide opportunities for inner-city youth," Dr. Fike says. "And we're doing it using a compact urban land use. The game is generally suburban and rural, and needs sprawling space. That not only makes it inaccessible to inner-city youth, but it also presents some environmental issues."

Golf aficionados, good news -- Dr. Fike says there are long-term plans to make Marygrove's new golf practice facility open to the public.

Source: Dr. David Fike, President, Marygrove College
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Hubbell Fund mini-grants give a helping hand to Midtown entrepreneurs

Colin Hubbell, who passed away in 2008 after a battle with cancer, was more than a Midtown developer. He was one of the neighborhood's first champions, a true urban visionary who understood that small business owners would help remake the Midtown district into a true community. And, given his experience working in city administration, his consulting and mentoring were invaluable to new entrepreneurs unfamiliar with Detroit's workings.

"He was really helpful with assisting people in small businesses -- he really valued that," says his wife, Trish Hubbell, who began the Hubbell Fund to honor his passion for assisting entrepreneurs.

Carrying on that legacy, the Hubbell Fund announced its latest mini-grants to Midtown area entrepreneurs, contributing primarily facade improvements to several local businesses. People's Records, 14 East and Thistle Coffee Shop all received grants for new signage; security doors will be funded for the Art Center Music School. Bike racks will be built for visitors to the Park Shelton building; employees at Source Booksellers will receive the money to purchase an internet software and hardware system;  These are just a few of almost a dozen grants currently being administered by the Hubbell Fund, with several more grants in the works for 2011.

Hubbell says her husband wouldn't be surprised by the current wave of entrepreneurs staking their claim on Midtown's soil. "This is what Colin kept emphasizing -- you need to get a critical mass, you can start to create buzz, and create a demand," she says. "People really miss community, and small businesses are all about serving your local community."

The Colin Hubbell Fund is currently accepting donations. Find out more about how you can help here.

Source: Trish Hubbell, Hubbel Fund
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Detroit Bike Project seeks to link Detroit's greater downtown

Bike-sharing companies, which offer 24-hour access to bicycles for short trips around cities, have popped up in Europe, and along the East Coast; DC, Boston and New York City. If three CCS grads have their way, Detroit will be the next city to offer visitors and residents a network of two-wheeled transportation stations throughout the greater downtown district.

The Detroit Bike Project is the brainchild of Victor Quattrin, Stephanie Lucido and Jenna Przybycien. The three college friends have spent the past year working on the first phase of their plan, which they will submit to Hatch Detroit by the Sept. 1 contest deadline. No matter what happens with Hatch, the three say they're committed to launching the company within the next year.

Their plan involves building park-and-ride bike stations in the Renaissance Center, Wayne State's campus, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Woodbridge, New Center, Grand Circus Park, Corktown and Eastern Market, as a public transportation alternative "Sometimes, there's a little distance between the main veins of Detroit," says Quattrin. "Nothing is really that walkable," says Przybycien, comparing Detroit's layout to that of more densely-populated cities like New York. "If someone parks downtown and wants to head up to Wayne State, it takes a lot of time to get there. Bike sharing allows you to see a lot more of the city, and to get places quicker, because it's so spread out."

With a swipe of a credit card, customers will be able to rent a bike from any station and take a spin through the city -- then drop it off at the closest bike rental facility upon completion.

The Detroit Bike Project will operate as a nonprofit, and they hope the promise of increased mobility from residents and visitors throughout the greater downtown will inspire local companies to lend their support, through advertising or sponsoring a bike station on their properties. They're also committed to purchasing bikes made from recycled materials. The team estimates they'll need $137,000 in investment dollars to launch the first phase of the program.

Lucido says the team is encouraged by the immediate feedback, all of it positive, from the first 48 hours of their viral campaign, which launched last week. "In the first 48 hours, we had 500 page views on our website and 150 likes on Facebook," she says. "We know this can work."

"Our goal is to not let them down, and make things happen," Przybycien says.

Become a fan of the Detroit Bike Project on Facebook, and read more about the team's proposal here.

Sources: Jenna Przybycien, Victor Quattrin and Stephanie Lucido, co-founders, Detroit Bike Project
Writer: Ashley C. Woods

Signal-Return letterprint shop to open in Eastern Market

A new venture from Team Detroit creative director and Detroit champion Toby Barlow will bring the fine art of letterpress printing to a storefront in Eastern Market.

Signal-Return will operate as a nonprofit studio dedicated to advancing the art of letterpress printing, invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. Though widespread use of the printing method for book-making died out in the 1950's, letterpress books and posters have since become hot commodities, both in the art world and with students.

Team Detroit Project Manager Ryan Schirmang has spent much of the last year helping bring Signal-Return to life -- ever since Barlow returned from a trip to Nashville awed by a letterpress shop he had found in the city. The operation will be housed in a 2500 sq. ft. space next to Division Street Boutique in Eastern Market. Helming the shop is Megan O'Connell, an expert on the craft of book-making and classic printing.

Schirmang says they are waiting on the city to formally approve plans, and they expect to begin building out the space within weeks.

"On the right side, it will be the storefront with a counter and posters lining the walls, and then the left side will be the studio with all the presses and areas for assembling type and composing and laying out," he says, "It'll be a place where you can go in and see the production of it."

In addition to custom-printing posters, invitations and other printed materials, Signal-Return will host several workshops for beginners interested in learning the craft and customs of letterpress printing.

Schirmang says the store will open its doors this fall.

Signal-Return is located at 1345 Division Street. Click here to become a fan on Facebook.

Source: Ryan Schirmang, project manager, Team Detroit
Writer: Ashley C. Woods
43 Fundraising Articles | Page: | Show All
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