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Community Foundation team inspires, puts values into action at volunteer event

May 22nd, 2024 Back to Browse Stories

By Jack VanAssche, Communications Associate

Last October, volunteers from our staff joined Life Remodeled: The Six Day Project to beautify Detroit’s Cooley community. 

Nearly half of our staff dedicated their day to make a hands-on impact in one of the communities we serve by clearing debris from vacant properties, cutting down overgrown vegetation, and mowing lawns, with a  focus on supporting seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. 

As I walked with dozens of Community Foundation staff spread several blocks in the Cooley neighborhood, equipped with lawn mowers, weed whackers, wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, and blowers, I was excited to cut some lawns and make some folks happy. 

But, more than anything, I came away from the event inspired by our team.  

There were constantly small challenges cropping up — mowers not starting, special equipment needed, items too heavy to carry alone. And each time, a colleague stepped up to solve the problem. 

It was a perfect example of living our values.

We collaborated. Led change. Created lasting impact. We found smart, creative solutions even in the face of obstacles. 

I felt hopeless for a brief moment upon finding a thick, rotten pile of dumped garbage mixed with plant debris. It had to have been over a hundred pounds of trash and debris, soaked in weeks of rainwater. How in the world are we going to get this cleared? 

But the pile was quickly surrounded by our team, dozens of us lugging pieces of debris into sorted piles of branches, bags of glass, and piles of bulky trash. The team worked together relentlessly, hauling the problem away until only a neat, raked patch of dirt and grass remained.  

From the moment we finished that pile, I was reminded that we could really accomplish anything we set our sights on when we worked together. It sounds so cheesy, but I couldn’t deny it. 

We live that out every day of every week at the Community Foundation. Every single staff member, with every single task, is working toward our shared goal to ensure our region thrives.

Learn more about our values and mission