Wolverine Human Services Creates Detroit’s First Non-Profit Development Accelerator


Detroit-based foster care, adoption, and independent living agency Wolverine Human Services has announced the creation of The Den, Detroit’s first non-profit development accelerator that provides a collaborative, shared workspace for non-profit startups. The Den will be located with WHS’ John S. Vitale Community Center at 2629 Lennox on Detroit’s east side.

The co-working space will offer shared or private workspace environments, conference areas, high-speed Internet access, a mailing address, support staff during business hours, access to the gymnasium, commercial kitchen, and dining area, and an optional incubation package which includes professional mentoring, workshops, and referral services to help launch a non-profit entity.

“WHS’ commitment in helping children, combined with our expertise in non-profit business development, led to the idea of The Den,” says Matt Wollack, WHS director of development and marketing. “The goal of The Den is simple: create an engine for non-profit businesses to transform great ideas into socially-conscious enterprises that serve the communities and neighborhoods of Detroit. Not only will The Den bring new businesses and jobs to the community, it will bring new services and programs to our neighbors.”

Wollack adds that the non-profit sector accounts for 10 percent of the American workforce, but there is “stiff competition for limited resources,” causing startups to rush through initial processes without strategic priorities.

The basic Den membership rate is $25 per month, and provides the member a mailing address and discounted entry to accelerator workshops. The $50 membership option provides members access to the drop-in co-working space, and other space rentals in the community center, as well as a 50 percent discount on workshops. The agency level package starts at $1,000 per month and includes 10 membership licenses and unlimited access to the Den workshops and other amenities.

Wollack says The Den’s business model offers an opportunity for members and agencies to engage in a service exchange relationship, rather than playing a fee. For example, in exchange for a monthly fee, a business could offer services to clients of WHS’ residential and community based programs. This model allows WHS to bring new programs and services to its youth clients, as well as to community members, that otherwise would not be available.

Construction began on Feb. 7 and The Den is currently scheduled to officially open on April 1. Rick Williams of Distinct Life will curate the interior design and art installations.

Those interested in utilizing The Den can find more information here.