Documentary Highlights Social Progress of Detroit Foundations, Companies


tPIP of Detroit, a startup company that provides philanthropy training and resources, is in the final production of a documentary about the growth and purpose of philanthropy within Detroit’s corporations and foundations.

tThe 28-minute film, Detroit is a Phoenix, highlights the social progress being made through area foundations — W.K. Kellogg, Kresge, New Economy Initiative, and Skillman — and the relationships and strategies that have made them effective.

t“A common theme we saw was how (these organizations) were collaborating with others to bring social progress to Detroit,” says Alicia Douglas, PIP’s founder and CEO. She cites, for instance, the partnership between Quicken Loans and the Neighborhood Service Organization, which provides temporary housing for those who are homeless and helps them transition into a sustainable living arrangement.

t“Because of (a challenge grant by) the Kresge Foundation, Quicken Loans gave $350,000 to the NSO, but they just didn’t write a check. They brought in the manpower to help paint and do several different things. And when you take that into consideration — the amount of employees their company committed on that day — that made an impact in the community.”

tAnd the impact is a key point of the documentary, Douglas says. The organizations featured in the film measure their contributions in a way that helps determine if the social engagement efforts are having an influence on the community. In the case that social progress isn’t being made, a company should be able to recalibrate their efforts, Douglas says.

t“If you invest your employees’ time, that costs a company money,” she says. “And if they’re not seeing progress being made, are they going to want to continue to volunteer?”

tStarting at the end of May, PIP will begin showing the film at panel discussions with the participating foundations. “We want to show the world that we’re able to measure and scale the progress being made in Detroit, which will hopefully attract other investors to come and invest here,” Douglas says.

tTo watch the trailer, click here.