Detroit Foundation to Subsidize City, Nonprofit Training

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DETROIT — The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan will subsidize training and professional development for the Detroit public sector and nonprofit staff tackling economic development, land use, city systems, planning, and neighborhood development. The capacity training program is supported by $400,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The increase is from the $250,000 Knight investment announced in September for the same purpose. The September investment included a $5.75 million Knight investment in Detroit as part of a partnership between federal and state government and local leaders to spur economic growth.

26 501c3 organizations and city of Detroit agencies will share $400,000 in grants to support education, training, and conference attendance for key staff with hands-on responsibility for Detroit economic efforts. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan will administer and manage the capacity training program.

The two foundations decided to increase the amount of funding due to the volume of applications received in last few months.

Professional development has been unaffordable for many of Detroit’s cash-strapped nonprofits and the bankrupt city government, according to company officials. Yet increasing the knowledge, skills and expertise of staff in organizations that are work to help overcome challenges in the city has never been more important, according to Mariam C. Noland, president of the Community Foundation.

“We were very impressed by the proposals and the compelling cases that were made by organizations about how their work would benefit from an investment in their people,” Noland said. “We know education and training are critical for success in every sector, so we try to ensure that nonprofit and public sector employees do not fall behind when times are lean and budgets for professional development dry up. Those are the times when the performance of staff means the most and can have the greatest impact. Our region depends upon high-quality public and nonprofit talent.”

The organizations selected to receive grants are: Belle Isle Conservancy, the city of Detroit, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Detroit Creative Corridor Center, Detroit Economic Growth Corp., Detroit Hispanic Development Corp., Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Downtown Detroit Partnership, Eastern Market Corp., EcoWorks, Excellent Schools Detroit, Focus: HOPE, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp., Greening of Detroit, Invest Detroit, Jefferson East, Michigan Community Resources, Michigan Nonprofit Association/D3, Midtown Detroit Inc., MOSES, Southwest Detroit Business Association, Southwest Solutions, Urban Neighborhood Initiative, Warren and Conner Development Coalition, and Wayne State University’s TechTown.

The program will fund professional development opportunities up to $5,000 per employee. Examples of eligible expenses include attendance at local and national professional training events, meetings, workshops, and conferences, as well as tuition and fees for executive education programs. Professional topics range from land use planning, and design, to economic development, community development, executive and leadership training, business, nonprofit management, and public administration. Organizations are eligible to apply for support for up to 10 staff members.

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