New Economy Initiative makes big investment in Metro Detroit

--This article originally appeared on March 5, 2009

The $100 million New Economy Initiative has made its first big investment in southeast Michigan, injecting $11 million into eight projects ranging from job creation to historic renovation.

Ten foundations on the local, regional and national scene created the New Economy Initiative last year to help spur economic transformation in Metro Detroit. The idea is to give targeted grants to areas of the economy that will position southeast Michigan for a robust economic recovery by investing in education, entrepreneurship, new technologies and urban revitalization.

The first round of investments include:

  • $3 million for the Argonaut Building project. The College for Creative Studies is expanding its campus into the historic Albert Kahn-designed structure behind the old GM headquarters in Detroit's New Center neighborhood.
  • $2.5 million for Sugar Hill District development. That money will help make possible the University Cultural Center Association's $37 million project that will help develop a dense business-and-residential arts district in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood.
  • $1.9 million for internships for area college students. The Detroit Regional Chamber is quarterbacking the implementation of a statewide system to place 25,000 Michigan college students in internships. Students are more likely to land jobs and stay in areas where they get internships.
  • $1.5 million for The Michigan Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The consortium of Michigan’s 15 public universities will use the money to help accelerate collaboration and innovative, job-creating research at the universities to the tune of 20 new start-up businesses and entrepreneur initiatives.
  • $950,000 for Bizdom University. The non-profit that helps turn talented young adults in Detroit into entrepreneurs plans to use the money to double its enrollment this year.
  • $750,000 for The Life Sciences Innovation Center. That money will help Ann Arbor SPARK turn a former Pfizer laboratory into the Michigan Life Sciences and Innovation Center, a business incubator for life sciences firms and entrepreneurs.
  • $400,000 to support the Detroit News Bureau. The Detroit Renaissance created the Detroit News Bureau so share local stories of economic growth and transformation with journalists and other opinion makers.  
  • $42,500 to the Detroit Renaissance to support regional planning to grow the health and bio-medical industry. Detroit Renaissance is working with the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and other regional economic development organizations to expand the local health and life-sciences industry.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is administering the New Economy Initiative. Among the participating organizations are the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Ford Foundation, Hudson-Webber, W.K. Kellogg, John S. and James L. Knight, Kresge, McGregor Fund, Charles Stewart Mott and Skillman foundations.  

Source: Edith J. Castillo, Program Officer, New Economy Initiative
Writer: Jon Zemke

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