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Fundraising : Detroit Development News

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Oakaloosa, a philanthropic music festival, to benefit Historic Fort Wayne

The City of Detroit is gaining another new music festival this summer. Oakaloosa will be held at the Historic Fort Wayne on July 27, and, much like Orion Music + More, will reinvest into the maintenance and preservation of the concert site itself -- Historic Fort Wayne.
The 96-acre Historic Fort Wayne site in Delray includes some original buildings from the mid-1800s as well as faithful replicas, though many are in disrepair. The Fort is operated by the Detroit Recreation Department with other nonprofit assistance. They rely heavily on volunteer efforts and individual generosity.
Oakaloosa is a brand-new outdoor concert, billing itself as the region's first fully philanthropic music festival, with a percentage of every dollar raised going back towards the restoration of Historic Fort Wayne. "We were looking to participate in restoring its renown by adding an event there where people can appreciate it and relate this event to its name," says Adrian Pittman, founder of Module, which is handling Oakaloosa's marketing. "What happened to (the Fort) is sort of what happened to Detroit in the rest of the country … it was forgotten. It requires a local to give it a little attention and polish it off a bit. It needs to be maintained for generations of people to come."
With connections in the parks & rec department, Detroit Sports Zone, Inc. – the nonprofit group organizing this event – was able to secure the site, which needs little in the way of infrastructure work in order to host the event. "They were looking at the fort from day one. It's such a unique opportunity." A first event of its kind for the site, they hope this event will also encourage other organizations to host festivals here.
DJ Mikey Eckstein of Embarco is responsible for programming, which includes both local and national acts. Main headliners include Girl Talk and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (as part of their big reunion tour).
They expect about 15,000 people to attend. Tickets are $45.

The odd name actually came from a typo on a website about the fort's history. The organizers liked it despite it being a misspelling, and decided to use the name for the festival.
Source: Adrian Pittman, Director of Development at Module
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Detroit Yacht Club Foundation aims to preserve DYC building

The Detroit Yacht Club has created a namesake foundation to help preserve its historic structure on Belle Isle.

The Detroit Yacht Club is a private sailing club founded in 1868 and its current Mediterranean-villa-style clubhouse was designed by George Mason (who also designed Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel and Detroit's Masonic Temple) and opened in 1923. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places last year.

The Detroit Yacht Club Foundation is a nonprofit that will focus on fundraising and coordinating the preservation of the yacht club's nearly 100-year-old clubhouse. Although the building itself is still sound, the foundation will focus on securing and preserving its envelope features, such as its roof, walls, doors and windows.

"All of these areas are 89 years old," says Mark Lifter, president of the Detroit Yacht Club Foundation. "With Michigan's freeze-and-thaw cycles, water always finds a way."

The Detroit Yacht Cub Foundation's first order of business is to conduct an engineering study of the building before moving forward with any improvements. In the meantime the foundation is working on raising money and resources from members and people with a connection to the yacht club.

"Over time, there are probably millions of people with a connection or an affinity for the Detroit Yacht Club," Lifter says.

Source: Mark Lifter, president of the Detroit Yacht Club Foundation
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Locals work to open Detroit Dog Park in shadow of MCS

A group of Detroiters are working to create a dog park next to the iconic Michigan Central Station in Corktown.

The Detroit Dog Park is a off-leash dog park that would be built on the Macomb Playlot at the corner of 16th and Rose streets, adjacent to the Roosevelt Park. The organizers have reached an agreement with the city of Detroit to build the lot and are currently fundraising for the effort. It hopes to open next summer.

"There are a lot of people who live in an urban setting with dogs and don't have backyards," says Carly Mys, chair of the Detroit Dog Park. "There is a need for a place to let them run off leash, a place for them to socialize with other dogs and people."

The Detroit Dog Park is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 for the dog park's construction. It has raised nearly $12,000 as of Monday. The money will go toward buying construction materials and services. Mys says the project will have a heavy emphasis on green construction, employing things like rain barrels.

"We want to be sustainable, using things like recycled materials is high on our list," Mys says.

Source: Carly Mys, chair of the Detroit Dog Park
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Highland Park installs first solar streetlight, aims for 200 more

Public lighting has consistently been a problem in Highland Park for years. Struggles to keep the streetlights lit and paying the electric bill for those lights was followed by DTE Energy removing several hundred streetlights from the inner-city suburb last year.

That problem gave birth to a new solution. Soulardarity, a grass-roots group of local stakeholders, installed the city's first solar-powered streetlight last week and is making plans to bring another 200 to the city within the next five years.

"In the back of a lot of people's minds is what are we going to do about the streetlights around here," says A.J. O'Neil, one of the organizers of Souladarity.

The Souladarity streetlight was installed at 150 Victor Street, between John R and Oakland, and is shining down on the street now. The Michigan-made product utilizes super-energy-efficient LED lights which last longer than traditional streetlights. It also has a solar panel on top of the pole and its batteries are only a few feet below it, making the streetlight self-sufficient.

"It's completely self-contained," O'Neil says. "It's very theft proof because the batteries are locked away up high."

Souladarity is raising $6,000 to acquire and install the lights through a crowd-funding campaign. A little more than $5,000 of that has been raised as of Monday afternoon. For information on Highland Park's solar-powered-streetlight initiative, click here.

Source: A.J. O'Neil, one of the organizers of Souladarity
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

Spaulding Court rehab brings new residents to North Corktown

Work on the rehab of Spaulding Court is starting to gain traction as more units in the apartment building in North Corktown come online and more people take residence there.

So far five of the complex's 20 units are renovated and occupied. About a dozen people live in what was once such a stereotypical piece of Detroit blight that it shared the stage with the Michigan Central Stadium in an Eminem video. Today those people are creating a grass roots community that is breathing new life into the complex's two structures of stone row houses.

The Friends of Spaulding Court, the organization behind the renovation, is now trying to raise funds to finish the rehab of a few more units this year. "If we can get five done by summertime that would exceed our expectations," says Jon Koller, president of the Friends of Spaulding Court.

The immediate goal is to rehab one vacant and one occupied unit while a third unit waits in the wings. Residential units are the priority but the Friends of Spaulding Court sees potential for small scale commercial or community space in the future.

"We're trying to get it done with rough finishes and have it insulated and warm before Thanksgiving," Koller says.

For information on the project, click here.

Source: Jon Koller, president of the Friends of Spaulding Court
Writer: Jon Zemke

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

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
93 Fundraising Articles | Page: | Show All
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