Detroit Innovation Fellowship

In General

The New Economy Initiative is launching a new talent development program, the Detroit Innovation Fellowship (DIF), that is designed to promote and invest in social entrepreneurs and innovators who are leading projects to strengthen neighborhoods in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park.

Twelve social entrepreneurs representing nine projects have been selected to participate in the inaugural DIF cohort. The 2018 DIF fellows will each receive a stipend award ($10,000 per project) and yearlong access to a suite of professional development and mentoring opportunities. They will also convene quarterly to discuss challenges related to their work and opportunities for collaboration. The Urban Consulate, a national facilitator of conversations about making cities better, will serve as NEI’s partner in coordinating DIF cohort convenings and professional development opportunities.

The 2018 Detroit Innovation Fellows are:

Chase Cantrell, founder of Building Community Value Detroit, which teaches residents how to buy, rehab, and maintain neighborhood real estate

Beverly Frederick of the Stahelin Avenue Project, which engages residents in neighborhood clean-up and green space revitalization efforts in northwest Detroit

Jaylyn Spencer-Harris and Alex Fluegel, co-founders of Detroit Mama Hub, which connects Detroit moms with resources and a network of support

Shamayim “Shu” Harris, founder of Avalon Village, a multi-block sustainable eco village in Highland Park

Timothy Jackson and Nicole Lindsey, founders of Detroit Hives, which uses repurposed vacant lots to promote honey bee conservation and farming

Phillis Judkins, chief executive officer of North End Neighborhood Patrol in Detroit, which trains residents to help patrol their neighborhood, and 4WardPhoenix, a youth program that teaches youth small business skills

Jackson Koeppel, executive director of Soulardarity in Highland Park, which is working with residents to build a just and equitable energy system, starting with the installation of solar-powered street lights

Joe Marra and Samoy Smith, co-founders of Creating Space Detroit, which transforms vacant lots into pocket parks in northwest Detroit’s Bagley neighborhood

Rebecca “Bucky” Willis, founder and director of Bleeding Heart Design, which is using human-centered design, architecture, and public art to rebuild Northeast Detroit’s Lindale Gardens neighborhood.


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