Detroit’s ‘Grand Bargain’ and the Partnership that Propelled It Independent Sector

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“This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.”

So Winston Churchill commented when Nazi leader Rudolf Hess parachuted into Scotland to pursue peace talks in 1941.

Fourteen months after the mediated bankruptcy known as Detroit’s Grand Bargain received the court’s official seal of approval, “baffling” is still a good adjective for the phenomena that led to it. No feel-good Hollywood movie with superheroes riding to the rescue could have contemplated this tableau of noble and ingenious individuals and organizations acting in symphony across the public and private sectors to champion the common good and redeem a great American city and, by extension, the State of Michigan, from fiscal and economic disaster. Yet that is exactly what happened.

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