Summer 2023 REPORT

Summer is a beautiful time to enjoy the outdoors in southeast Michigan.

But this year feels different.

Spiking temperatures. Catastrophic storms that spark power outages and flooding. Unhealthy air quality due to greenhouse gas emissions and choking wildfire smoke.

The signs of climate change are all around us.

Fortunately, individuals and organizations throughout our region are working to develop innovative strategies that can lead the way to climate resilience and healthy outdoor access for all residents.

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Great Lakes Environmental Endowment Fund enhances our quality of life

More than a quarter century after it was established, grants from the Great Lakes Environmental Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan continue to support clean air and water, environmental education, public spaces and community engagement throughout our region.


Joe Louis Greenway funders, partners entrust Community Foundation with $100 million endowment

A historic public-private partnership is breathing life into the 27.5-mile Joe Louis Greenway that will connect the award-winning Detroit riverfront with 23 communities throughout Detroit, Highland Park, Hamtramck and Dearborn.

The Unified Greenway Endowment at the Community Foundation will provide for the maintenance and operation of both the world-class Detroit riverfront and Joe Louis Greenway for future generations.

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Trustee Matt Cullen discusses Joe Louis Greenway, family philanthropy

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Board of Trustees member and JACK Entertainment Chairman Matt Cullen and his wife, Karen, have partnered with the Community Foundation to create a tradition of giving that the couple is working to ensure will continue with their sons.

Matt Cullen shares some reflections on the Joe Louis Greenway and partnering with the Community Foundation to create a philanthropic family legacy.

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Community Foundation is a ‘force multiplier’
when it comes to public-private partnerships

A panel at the Mackinac Policy Conference in May explored how public-private partnerships can intersect to solve some of the state’s most pressing problems.

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan President Richard (Ric) DeVore and Hudson-Webber Foundation President and CEO Melanca Clark co-moderated the conversation, which included New Economy Initiative Executive Director Wafa Dinaro, Michigan Justice Fund Director Ashley Carter and Joe Louis Greenway Partnership Executive Director Leona Medley.


Maintaining our public parks and trails isn’t the most popular type of work to fund, but it’s crucial to ensuring all southeast Michigan residents have access to enjoy the outdoors.

The Community Foundation has a long history of stepping into this funding gap to prioritize support for the long-term maintenance of greenways and blueways that enhance the quality of life in our region.


Climate resilience blueprints link sun, neighbors

A Community Foundation grant will help Michigan Interfaith Power & Light partner with Pastor Calvin Glass, at Lord of Lords Ministries in Detroit, to create a model for places of worship to establish solar community hubs.

It is one of two recent grants from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan focused on expanding solar access and creating community energy hubs that can provide neighbors with a stable source of heat in the winter, cooling in the summer and a place to charge their phones and medical devices during power outages.

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Grant transforms anglers into ‘citizen scientists’

Clean, healthy water and air are key to our quality of life in southeast Michigan. Yet, many residents in our region live with pollution that can endanger their health.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has tapped its unrestricted endowment, known as the Southeast Michigan Forever Fund, to support studies that explore these ties between our environment and health. A recent grant to the Ecology Center will help educate “citizen scientists” on how to conduct testing for toxic chemicals throughout the Huron and Rouge River watersheds.


At the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, we invest in projects that support the environment and public spaces throughout the seven counties of southeast Michigan because they add so much to the quality of life in our region. In addition to intangible qualities like connectedness and sense of place, they boost property values, improve the environment and help us stay healthy by providing places to bike, walk and experience the restorative benefits of nature.

Sustained support for the environment and public spaces matters. Access to natural spaces improves the mental, physical, and social health of individuals and communities, and it fosters an ethic of stewardship that can change humans’ relationship with the planet for the better. The long-term stability that endowment funds provide is important for maintaining the momentum of change, and for ensuring that southeast Michigan’s natural beauty stays vibrant for generations to come.

When you are ready to make a lasting impact on the environment and/or public spaces, we are here to help.

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