The GreenWays Initiative connects communities, fosters increased engagement with the outdoors, promotes healthier lifestyles, and provides safe alternatives to motorized transportation.


The GreenWays Initiative was developed to create opportunities for collaboration and shared environmental awareness and appreciation by the residents of the seven-county region served by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. The initiative began a five-year initiative as a comprehensive effort to expand and enhance our region’s natural landscape.

The GreenWays Initiative was developed with several years of input from more than 70 organizations and agencies, as well as the encouragement and support of a group of community leaders committed to building greenways.

The investments [made] through the GreenWays Initiative have brought communities together in ways never seen [before] in southeast Michigan, working across jurisdictional lines to develop physical amenities that improve the environment, the economy and the communities they serve. The Hon. Shaun Donovan U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development


Through $33 million in foundation and private contributions, and another $125 million of matching investments from government and other sources, the GreenWays Initiative has helped more than 80 municipalities plan, design, finance and build more than 100 miles of connected greenways across southeast Michigan.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has become a national leader in greenways planning and advocacy, consulting with cities and regions throughout the United States about how to replicate our success through their own unique greenways systems.

What We’ve Funded

While most active grantmaking for new greenways was completed in 2006, Foundation staff continues to work with municipalities and organizations, sharing their experience on greenways development — zoning, financing, leveraging public and private dollars — and greenways maintenance.

Creating new greenways involves years of planning, fundraising and construction — along with community engagement and commitment. New greenways funded by the Community Foundation are still opening to the public and impacting different communities.

Using the GreenWays Initiative’s investments to secure state and federal matching funds, the Community Foundation has made it possible to connect and create access to some of the most significant community resources in the city. Todd Scott Detroit Greenways Coordinator

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From piggy banks to high net worth funds & foundations the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has been helping donors make the most of their charitable contributions and fulfill their philanthropic goals for more than 30 years.

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