Three towns. Three citizen philanthropists. All for Detroit

Here at Detroit4Detroit, we know it’s more than Ford, General Motors and Chrysler that drive the Motor City. 

It’s the citizens and the passion they bring to the city they love. 

This is a story of three Detroiters. They have never met, but they are now all connected through their Detroit4Detroit projects to support the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) and their commitment to education. One grew up and lives within 8 mile. One is a local from the 'burbs. And, the third is a Detroit "expat" currently living in Washington D.C. They’ve each decided to use their connection to the city in a powerful way. 

Krystal L. grew up within Detroit’s city limits and attended its schools. Detroit shaped her and made her who she is. When it came time, she went off to Central Michigan University (CMU) to study business and then moved to Atlanta for a while. She even journeyed to South Korea as an English teacher. But now, she’s back in her hometown and has another lesson plan on her agenda.

"Detroit is a city built around technology, like robotics, and it’s important to have students be cultivated to go into those types of programs. Some of the best jobs are in those fields," Krystal, 30, says. 

She recently joined the Detroit4Detroit movement as a Citizen Philanthropist. It is her way to jump right back into the city and see an immediate impact where it counts. She is leading a DAPCEP project that will help Detroit’s young techies become the next generation of engineers. "Especially in urban schools, for kids to believe that they can participate in (the sciences) and to believe they can work on those fields, is great," she says. 

For Krystal, this is personal. She went through DAPCEP as a kid when it was a classroom-based program and says she’s proud of how much it has evolved. Through DAPCEP’s Summer Engineering Program, high school students now are given room and board at Michigan universities, so they can be exposed to life on a college campus. Krystal’s fundraising goal of $2,000 will put two local high school students through the week-long summer program and allow them to dive into the sciences in a college setting.
"It will be great just to get students excited about the field and help them believe they can get on the right track to reach their goals," Krystal says. And, she isn’t the only DAPCEP alum who feels the same way and has joined Detroit4Detroit.

Clarence W. was born in Detroit and raised in Lathrup Village and like Krystal, is passionate about rallying people to help local youth. But he is not leading his project from inside 8 Mile. 
Instead, Clarence is reaching out to his fellow Detroit expats near his home in Washington, DC who are closer to being 800 miles away. 

"Not being in the city but having strong ties, I’m always looking to give back, particularly to youth," Clarence says. "I’m an engineer and have a Ph.D because of DAPCEP. If you get a chance from an early age, it makes a big difference." He is now giving that change to the next generation of Detroit youth through his Detroit4Detroit project with DAPCEP.

Clarence is just one of the many Detroit expats that are passionate about their hometown. For him, Detroit4Detroit is a real and tangible link back to the city he loves. When it is done, it will be part of the legacy he leaves in Detroit.
Then there is Jeff H. Jeff grew up in Farmington Hills. After a career in radio in the Midwest and a stint as a comedian in New York, Jeff has come back and bought a house in Ferndale. "I didn’t know how to get personally involved even though I wanted to do something," Jeff says. Jeff did not go through the DAPCEP program like Krystal and Clarence, but he is passionate about education. So when he was searching the Detroit4Detroit site for opportunities, the DAPCEP Summer Engineering Experience at University of Michigan rang true.

Part of the fun of being a Detroit4Detroit Citizen Philanthropist is raising the money. People throw parties and happy hours, they run 5Ks and marathons, but Jeff is doing it in a fun and fabulous way.

What might that be, you ask? Drag Queen Bingo, of course!
This busy young professional found that hosting a night of Drag Queen Bingo with his friends would be the perfect way to use his free time for good. By the end of the night, Jeff will have funded his project and given a Detroit youth a life changing experience at the University of Michigan.

"I want to see a new generation of people excited about their future," he says. "Knowing I have the freedom to do whatever I love to do is amazing. Everyone should have that freedom."
So there it is. Three Detroiters who have come from very different backgrounds and may not even share the 313 area code anymore, but what they do share is a passion for Detroit and will are now playing a role in Detroit’s future. 

We know there are more eager Detroiters out there, too, itching to make an unforgettable difference in the community. DAPCEP is only one of nine Detroit nonprofits participating in Detroit4Detroit. Others include ACCESSBrightmoor AllianceCOTSDRMMSER Metro DetroitSummer in the CityVanguard, and Wellspring

In just the first month of Detroit4Detroit, over 50 Detroiters of all types and from around the city and country have stepped forward to make their mark on the city. They are city-dwellers, suburbanites and Detroit expats and all of them are showing the incredible things citizens can do for Detroit.

The first transmission in Model D from Detroit4Detroit was in January. Read it here.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.