Power up Detroit with a little giving

In every corner of Detroit, there’s a nonprofit with a small idea, a little wish that can make a big difference. 

Arts & Scraps serves 300,000 children each year from its East Side home, but has a website you can barely see on a mobile phone.

The Whitdel Arts contemporary gallery in Southwest Detroit is working on computer equipment so old they can barely handle a simple Word file. The Living Arts program in Southwest Detroit wants to help kids in 45 more classrooms be more kindergarten ready.

The Virgil H. Carr Center wants to bring some life to lunchtime downtown with a music-blasting, midday, full throttle dance party. And in Midtown, the Detroit Artists Market needs a DAM computer that can actually handle a video.

None of these projects have the scope of, say, a new hockey arena, but as Model D has well documented, it’s the little things in Detroit than can make a big difference. The next big thing in Detroit is a million little things.

A Little Help Makes a Big Difference

Each of these projects has the potential to have a measurable impact on the quality of life in Detroit. Our arts and culture nonprofits are part of what makes Detroit a place people want to live, work and play, and now we’ve got an easy way for you to support them.

Starting this Thursday, June 27, CultureSource is launching a new, online, crowd-funding source called power2give. CultureSource is a nonprofit arts and culture professional association that serves about 120 nonprofits across the region. The power2give website will work like Kickstarter or indiegogo, but comes with a matching grant, much like the matching grants you hear about on public radio or television fundraising campaigns.

The projects mentioned above -- and dozens more like them -- will be on power2give.org/semichigan starting Thursday. Every dollar you give to a local project on power2give.org will be matched from a $60,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. We're hoping other community supporters will step up, as well, and add more matching grants to the pot to support these projects and entice more donors.

'Go Back to What You Are'

Earlier this year, the Project for Public Spaces Leadership Council brought in Soho developer Jessica Goldman Srebnik to speak in Detroit. Her family made Soho what it is today, as well as the South Beach and Wynwood districts in Miami and many more hot neighborhoods. At every turn, in every neighborhood, art was a central, important component to revitalizing the neighborhood. 

"Every community has their own DNA, just like every person. Everybody’s different," she advised placemakers in Detroit during that meeting at the Book Cadillac. "Go back to what you are. Don’t be ashamed of what you are. Don’t hide what you are. Enhance it. Encourage it. Really believe in it."

In Detroit, we have a wealth of rich cultural assets, both big and small. We encourage you to take a moment Thursday and look at power2give.org. Find a project that speaks to who you are and to what Detroit is. This is an opportunity to take what we have, enhance, encourage it and show everyone we really believe in Detroit.

Maud Lyon is executive director of CultureSource, an Eastern Market-based professional association of about 120 organizations serving Southeastern Michigan as nonprofit enterprises for arts and culture.

Photos by Clare Pfeiffer

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