New Economy


The New Economy Initiative is working to diversify the regional economy of southeast Michigan and stimulate entrepreneurial development.


The New Economy Initiative (NEI), a special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, is the largest economic development initiative of its kind, working to build a network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. After awarding a wide range of early grants, NEI has sharpened its focus and is concentrating on building a network of support for entrepreneurs.

This work involves supporting the service providers — from those providing technical assistance like business planning and concept-testing to those providing capital and beyond — who help businesses grow and thrive, while connecting them to each other and the people they serve. The goal is to grow new companies and new jobs, and to encourage additional dollars of investment in the region. Ultimately, that means building a more diverse economy where jobs and prosperity are available for all.



The New Economy Initiative was created by the leadership of the Community Foundation in response to Michigan’s deteriorating economic position. In 2007, 10 foundations contributed an initial $100 million, with the broad and urgent purpose to “return southeast Michigan to its position of global economic leadership.”

In 2013, NEI announced a $33.25 million recapitalization of the program to help continue this important work over the next several years. Funders to date are:

  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit)
  • Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield)
  • Ford Foundation (New York)
  • Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit)
  • W. K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek)
  • John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami)
  • Kresge Foundation (Troy)
  • McGregor Fund (Detroit)
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint)
  • Skillman Foundation (Detroit)
  • William Davidson Foundation (Troy)
  • Surdna Foundation (New York)


NEI Grants

  • More than 200 grants since 2009
  • $90 million awarded to innovation, entrepreneurial and economic development organizations in Detroit and across Southeast Michigan

Current Results

  • 1,400 new companies created, and growing
  • 30 percent of new companies formed founded by minorities, immigrants or women
  • $374 million capital invested in clients of NEI grantees
  • $229 million in program matched dollars leveraged by NEI grantees
  • More than 13,000 new jobs added to the region


NEI awards strategic grants to support the efforts of nonprofit organizations and governing agencies working to transform the economy of southeast Michigan. Grants are available for a variety of activities, but proposed activities must be focused on the three modules of activities as outlined in their grantmaking overview.


The following websites are helpful resources:


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:

Pam Lewis

Senior Program Officer,
New Economy Initiative

313.961.6675, ext. 128