New Economy Initiative Releases Report on $2.9 Billion Economic Impact

November 11, 2016

On September 14, the New Economy Initiative (NEI) released a report of its cumulative impact at an event attended by NEI funders, grantees and stakeholders in Detroit. NEI is the country’s largest philanthropy-led regional economic development initiative and has granted a total of $96.2 million to organizations and programs supporting entrepreneurs.

New Economy Initiative director Pamela Lewis and steering committee chair Steve Hamp look on as Darren Walker announces the Ford Foundation’s renewed commitment to NEI. Also present were Ralph J. Gerson, investment committee chair of the William Davidson Foundation, and Alberto Ibargüen, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

New Economy Initiative director Pamela Lewis and steering committee chair Steve Hamp look on as Darren Walker announces the Ford Foundation’s renewed commitment to NEI. Also present were Ralph J. Gerson, investment committee chair of the William Davidson Foundation, and Alberto Ibargüen, president of the
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The NEI Impact Report was informed by research and analysis of NEI grants from 2008-15 conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP (PwC) and the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and local partners. It reveals that NEI’s support has helped entrepreneurs and small businesses generate $2.9 billion in real economic output and create 17,490 jobs in southeast Michigan.

NEI has achieved this impact by making grants to organizations and programs supporting entrepreneurs of all kinds, from grass roots to high growth, creating a vast network of entrepreneurial support in southeast Michigan. The economic and employment impact reports by PwC and Upjohn Institute analyzed years of information reported to NEI by grantees via quarterly reports, as well as interviews with regional entrepreneurs. Findings include:

  • 4,400 companies directly serviced by NEI grantees through 2015
  • 179,571 attendees of events in metro Detroit’s entrepreneurial network
  • More than 1 million square feet of entrepreneurial space activated
  • $232 million in additional program dollars matched by NEI grantees
  • $1.9 billion in real gross domestic product generated by NEI-supported companies
  • $2.9 billion in real output generated by NEI-supported companies
  • 17,490 jobs created by NEI-supported companies, 70% of which are located in Wayne County.

The research of PwC and Upjohn Institute underscores in particular the success of philanthropy’s efforts to increase social equity and inclusion in the southeast Michigan’s economy. Nearly 40% of all companies supported by NEI since 2009 are minority-owned, double the national average. Moreover, NEI has helped to increase the number of business support organizations and programs in the region from fewer than 10 in 2007 to more than 50 today. And almost two-thirds of local entrepreneurs surveyed say that the level of support for starting and growing a business has increased in the last five years.

The publication of the impact reports comes as NEI begins fundraising for its next phase. To date, NEI has secured commitments totaling $13.5 million from the Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the McGregor Fund, and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

NEI has received support from 12 national and local foundations: the C.S. Mott Foundation (Flint, Michigan), the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the Ford Foundation (New York), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami), the Kresge Foundation (Troy, Michigan), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield, Michigan), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the Skillman Foundation (Detroit), the Surdna Foundation (New York), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek, Michigan), and the William Davidson Foundation (Troy, Michigan).

For more information on NEI’s impact, and to read the official economic and employment impact reports authored by PwC and Upjohn Institute, visit neweconomyinitiative.org/impact.