Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan announces inaugural grant recipients supporting communities around Michigan Central

In General

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan announced today that it has approved the inaugural round of Michigan Central/Church Street Community Impact Fund microgrants to support organizations that strengthen the Detroit neighborhoods of Corktown, North Corktown and Hubbard Richard.

The 2022 microgrants will promote neighborhood improvement activities on a variety of issues, including youth, arts, public spaces, economic development and housing. Projects this year range from providing barista job training for Latinx youth to funding a neighborhood street hockey league to creating a brick-and-metal art installation to beautify the community.

The Michigan Central/Church Street Community Impact Fund, which the Community Foundation manages, will continue to invest in community projects as the area grows and develops. The fund’s value is expected to increase over time, providing support in perpetuity through microgrants totaling approximately $35,000 to $40,000 each year.

“These grants exemplify our flexibility in grantmaking and our commitment to ongoing community engagement,” Community Foundation President Ric DeVore says. “It’s vital for us to think about equitable opportunities for residents and to recognize the need for them to be able to continue to call their neighborhoods home as changes come to their community.”

The Michigan Central Community Impact Fund was initiated with a $750,000 contribution from Michigan Central, a hub for advancing new technologies and programs that address barriers to greater social, economic and physical mobility.

“Detroit’s entrepreneurs, local businesses and community partners are essential to Michigan Central’s mission to strengthen the city’s existing fabric of community and electrify its economy,” says Clarinda Barnett-Harrison, Director of Skills at Michigan Central. “We look forward to seeing the impact the inaugural grantees continue to make on improving our neighborhoods.”

Separately, but alongside the Michigan Central endowment, developer Oxford Perennial provided an additional $100,000 to support community organizations in the area and  establish the Church Street Fund. It has a narrower geographic focus but will make grants through the same process as the Michigan Central Community Impact Fund.

The Michigan Central/Church Street Community Impact Fund was created in response to the requests of the Neighborhood Advisory Councils through the city of Detroit’s Community Benefits Ordinance process. This ordinance requires development projects that meet certain thresholds and utilize public incentives to seek community input and provide financial benefits to impacted areas.

“These grants are proof of Michigan Central and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan’s commitments to equitable development and investing in Detroit’s people and neighborhoods,” says Antoine Bryant, director of the city’s Planning & Development Department. “As more of the Michigan Central redevelopment comes online, and as more grants are rolled out in the years to come, we are going to see an incredible transformation in the Corktown and Hubbard Richard communities.”

The 2022 Michigan Central/Church Street Community Impact Fund grants totaled $42,070. The recipients are:

  • Mexicantown Community Development Corporation – $9,760 for training Latinx individuals with employable skills and providing on-the-job experience in the food industry
  • Spread Art, Inc., fiscally sponsored by Arts & Scraps – $10,000 for an artist residency with performances for both a neighborhood festival and a live-streamed audience
  • North Corktown Neighborhood Association, fiscally sponsored by Heritage Works – $10,000 for a brick-and-metal art installation at the North Corktown Commons park
  • Train Station Neighbors Block Club, fiscally sponsored by Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation – $6,310 for a weekly street hockey game for youth in a local park
  • United Community Housing Coalition – $6,000 for increasing tenant participation in housing council meetings at Clement Kern Gardens in Corktown

Visit for more information on next year’s round of funding.