Ralph C. Wilson Foundation to Create Nonprofit Support Center in Detroit


The Ralph C. Wilson Foundation today announced plans to develop and pilot a center for nonprofit support, to be located at the southeast corner of Woodward Avenue and East Grand Boulevard in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood.

The 7,500-square foot center will be driven by the Foundation’s grant making focus in nonprofit support and innovation. It will offer a physical space for nonprofit leaders to gather and access resources.

“It’s our vision that the Center will build greater capacity and enhance capabilities within the organizations that we work with,” says David Egner, president and CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “Over time, we also plan to add innovative problem-solving practices in the Center to assist nonprofits and social innovators in developing new approaches and delivery systems to address challenges in our region.”

The plans follow more than a year of research to determine how to increase coordination between metro Detroit nonprofit leaders and help them connect with peers and experts across various fields. The Foundation also reviewed several national models and consulted with national experts to construct this place-based model.

Detroit’s entrepreneurial hub TechTown has received a three-year $4.7 million grant to run the center’s daily operations. TechTown will recruit and hire staff to manage the center, including managing operations, event planning, communications, and marketing.

It will also apply best practices within the nonprofit community, coordinate a networked delivery system of strategic services, and leverage its partnership with Wayne State University.

“Nonprofits, like entrepreneurs, need support to grow strategically and try new things,” says Ned Staebler, president and CEO of TechTown, and vice president for economic development at Wayne State. “Our job will be to help connect them to the right people and the right resources so they can deepen their impact, building a stronger regional nonprofit network in the process.”

The center is slated to begin limited operations and services in mid to late 2018.

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