Crowdfunding – Daily Detroit What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Fri, 23 Feb 2018 15:40:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 9 Reasons This New Garden On Belle Isle Could Be The Bee’s Knees Thu, 11 Jan 2018 16:57:51 +0000 Plans are in motion to install a new 1.5 acre garden that will be located in front of the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon between the bandshell and the Whitcomb Conservatory gardens.

The garden will be one of collaboration between Oudolf, Belle Isle Conservancy, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The project focused group called the Oudolf Garden Detroit will be raising $2.7 million for construction and to provide a fund for ongoing maintenance.

The Oudolf garden is still in its planning stages as installation is planned to begin in 2019.

After talking with Oudolf at a media roundtable last week, I have been thinking about all of the possibilities and how this could be great for Detroit.

9. Oudolf has over 40 years of experience designing gardens

Recently Architectural Digest said he’s among the most “influential men and women working in interior design and architecture, who are changing the world, one room, one building and one garden at a time.”

8. The garden will be a wonderful place for pollinators like butterflies, bees and birds

Hauser & Wirth Sculpture Park in Bruton, Sommerset

His gardens are wild without actually being wild. He uses a mix of native and non-native plants in his gardens.

7. Detroiters will have one more thing to compare us to Chicago and NYC

Lurie Garden in Millennium Park

Chicago might have the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park and New York City has the High Line but we will soon have our own Oudolf garden.

6. Piet Oudolf is known for using plants that are interesting all four seasons in his gardens

Piet Oudolf at Millennium Park in Chicago


So even when it is freezing outside the garden will still be interesting to look at.

5. This garden will strengthen the connection to other greenways in the city

The High Line in New York City

We’ve already got an amazing Riverwalk but imagine the connection that we could have between Belle Isle and the Riverwalk or even the Dequindre Cut.

4. The location for the garden will give an underutilized part of the park a new life

I can already imagine a sitting in the garden on a warm summer day and listening to live music playing from the band shell.

3. This could just be the first park by Oudolf in the city

Oudolf during media round table


He played coy at the round table, but there was some talk of other projects in the future.

2. This garden could generate more interest in financial support for Belle Isle 

Current state of the proposed garden site

This garden will put Detroit on the map as an international destination because Piet Oudolf is an internationally renowned garden designer.

1. We deserve it

Seriously. Belle Isle is a great space that has the potential to be a world-class draw. And beyond that, all of us who live within driving distance should be excited to come to the island. We as a region should push for the best.

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Life At The Historic Grande Ballroom? Supporters Are Fundraising For A Structural Engineering Report Sun, 19 Nov 2017 05:31:06 +0000 The Grande Ballroom is one of the most hallowed spaces in Detroit music history. It has been home to jazz, big band, rock. It was a center of Detroit’s counterculture movement.

It also is a gem of a building designed by Charles Agree and completed in 1928. He left his mark on a variety of structures around town like the Vanity Ballroom, the Whittier Hotel and others.

But what will be next for the place that’s seen a couple lives and been sitting closed since 1972?

It’s currently owned by the Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church, and the building is being hugged by a dedicated group of volunteers that are now raising money to get the ball rolling on turning the corner for the place.

A GoFundMe has been started by Leo Early, a passionate advocate for the place, in conjunction with the Friends of the Grande Ballroom and the church that owns the structure to see what needs to be done.

Per the fundraiser page:

Donations will go towards the engineer’s fee and any  inspection costs to include construction/carpentry and equipment rentals. This report will be used to make a decision for launching a 501-(c)3 non-profit organization, aid in determining a business case and to calculate the extent of work necessary to stabilize the structure.  Assuming positive viability can be determined, any balance will go towards startup costs and a much larger construction fund raising campaign. Exercising this due diligence will benefit the church in pursuing grants and additional funding. As the building has a perforated roof, time is of the essence and we hope to have the inspection complete as soon as possible, weather permitting. Our latest potential inspection date is December 15.

As of this writing, they’re raised $3,045 of their $5,000 goal. There are also a variety of rewards ranging from a lapel pin to a blueprint to a custom dinner tour. If you’re interested, visit the fundraiser by clicking here. 

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Detroit-Based Clothing Company Gets $150,000 From Mark Cuban On “Shark Tank” Mon, 23 Oct 2017 02:49:27 +0000 It’s a story of a Detroit company done good. Ash and Erie (formerly known as Ash & Anvil), a seller of clothes for shorter guys, received $150,000 in investment from Billionaire Mark Cuban.

Originally, they were aiming for $100,000 at a 12.5% stake on the show. But Cuban stepped up and offered $150,000 for 25% of the company.

Specifically, their shirts are for men 5 foot 8 and shorter. They’re also tailored to fit that frame better from the cut of the shirts to the cuffs.

According to their site, the price of a single shirt starts at $79. Shirt bundles of three run $219. Jeans on their site right now are going for $149.

In the last nine months the company has done more than $130,000 in online sales.

It’s also another crowdfunding success story. Early on, Ash & Erie (then Ash & Anvil) had an Indiegogo campaign to get off the ground. Not only did they make it – they far exceeded it, raising 255% of their goal, totaling $26,461.

Ash & Erie product photo from their Facebook page, which is full of product photos from around Detroit

Founded by two Venture For America Fellows, Eric Huang & Steven Mazur, the company now has a pretty big, connected and vocal backer to take the project and product to the next level. Cuban, after all, is an internet veteran and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks as well as a host of other businesses.

You can follow Ash & Erie on all the things — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and their website. 

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Detroit Soup Gets A New Home As Part Of The BUILD Institute Thu, 05 Oct 2017 19:53:06 +0000 Detroit SOUP is an internationally acclaimed community dinner that has helped crowd fund 57 projects, 48 nonprofits, and 27 for-profit enterprises.

The idea is simple. It’s a potluck where some folks bring food, and attendees throw in at least $5 to attend.

Then, there are four pitches by people for their ideas for improving their neighborhood, a non-profit, or a for-profit business that has a community benefit. The attendees then vote by secret ballot, and the winner gets the pool of money raised from the attendees.

“We’ve seen what Detroit SOUP can do for a community, not just in dollars raised, but in providing a community space for idea activation where neighbors support and invest in each other’s projects and feel empowered to create change in their communities,” said April Boyle, director, Build Institute. “Over the past seven years, SOUP has done so much for the community, and now we have the opportunity to offer more support to these community initiatives through the programs offered at Build Institute.”

According to BUILD, this is the ninth program that the BUILD Institute will be home to, and the third program that the Institute has adopted. They’re also home to Kiva – a funding source for small business — and Open City, the longest running networking program for Detroit entrepreneurs.

Detroit SOUP’s next get together will be on Sunday, October 15 and Sunday, November 19 at the Jam Handy, located at 2900 E. Grand Boulevard in New Center.

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Damaged Historic Church Built In 1891 Launches Online Campaign To Restore It To Grandeur Thu, 05 Oct 2017 15:40:18 +0000 A church built in 1891 and expanded in 1921 needs some help to restore it after a significant part of the façade was destroyed.

A chunk of the front of the building fell off of the First Congregational Church of Detroit, located at Forest and Woodward in the Midtown neighborhood of Detroit, during a recent storm.

You can see it if you drive down Woodward, and the front of the church has been blocked off by plywood. If you’re a lover of Detroit’s beautiful architecture, it’s heartbreaking.

Here’s a little history. The church was designed by Boston architect John Faxon and the Angel’s Wing Community House addition was designed by the celebrated architect Albert Kahn. This isn’t the first building for the church — it has roots 170 years back.

But this repair work isn’t limited to the façade. After all, there’s a lot of work to be done – the building in parts is more than 110 years old.

1903 Photo via the Library of Congress

First Congregational is also home to the Underground Railroad Living Museum, a publicly funded “Flight to Freedom” Tour that is a re-enactment of the original Underground Railroad passage that operated between 1840 and 1863. Also, dozens of events happen at the church each year, from weddings and corporate retreats to family reunions and community group meetings.

According to the church, required repairs include:

  • Reconstructing the handicap accessible ramp
  • Reconstructing the Forest Ave. porch
  • Internal plaster work throughout the sanctuary
  • Replacement of stained glass windows destroyed due to vandalism
  • Refurbishing the Woodward-facing façade of the church, which also serves as the main entrance.

To make this happen, the church is looking to raise $2 million through a GoFundMe campaign.

“The First Congregational Church of Detroit has been a strong partner in the Midtown community. The church is exceptional in its representation of the area’s diverse fabric and in its commitment in supporting the people of the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Sue Mosey, Executive Director of Midtown Detroit, Inc. “The beautiful architectural features of the historic church are in great need of repair and restoration to ensure the area’s rich history is preserved and can be appreciated now and for future generations.”

In addition to the crowdfunding campaign, the First Congregational Church of Detroit is hosting a series of fundraising events. Two coming up a dinner and concert series beginning October 15 and a 3rd Year Pastor’s Anniversary Celebration and Church Restoration Fundraiser on November 4.

Here’s a link to the GoFundMe campaign and here’s a link to the church’s website for more information.

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New Children’s Book Teaches Pride In Detroit, Power Of Women Behind War Effort Tue, 11 Jul 2017 17:50:24 +0000 Rosie the Riveter is such an iconic image, that sometimes people forget that it was more than just one woman that worked on the home front providing aid during World War II.

Sure, there are books about the women behind the war time effort and Detroit becoming the Arsenal of Democracy but they are mostly stuffy hard to read books.

Let’s face it, none of them are really good for kids.

That’s where Rosie, A Detroit Herstory Book by Bailey Sisoy Isgro  comes in.

Rosie is a children’s book that tells the story of the tens of thousands of women that assisted with the war time efforts during World War II. The book also showcases how Detroit become known as the Arsenal of Democracy.

“Those women are such an inspiration that it seemed a natural fit for a kids book. It’s the type a story that makes you believe in the power of teamwork, learning, and perseverance,” said Isgro.

Detroit artist Nicole Lapointe did the illustrations. The art is reminiscent of Little Golden Books, which is where Lapointe drew her inspiration. The book is bright and colorful, which means that children of all ages will get something out of this book.

There are a lot of children’s books out on the market, trust me I have a mini library in my home. Even with all the books on the market it is really hard to find children’s books with a female protagonist and a diverse cast of characters.

Rosie addresses both of those problems in both the storytelling and illustrations.

The main demographic for the book is children from 4 to 10, but Isgro made sure that adults would like it as well.

If you’re worried about your little one being too young to get something out of this book, don’t be.

I personally believe that it is never too early for kids to start learning about the power of working together for a greater good.

There is currently a Kickstarter campaign to get this book to print.

The goal for the Rosie Kickstarter is to raise $3,750 by August 8. So far it has already raised more than $2,400.

The Rosie Rewards for backing this Kickstarter are pretty sweet. Not only can you get a signed copy of the book, stickers, postcards, pins, and original artwork. There is even a level where Lapointe will draw you (or anyone you’d like) as a Rosie.

This is the first book for both Isgro and Lapointe, but if this campaign is a success there could be more Herstory books in the future.

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PODCAST: A Pastor And A Rabbi Are Working To Bring Back A Historic Temple In Detroit Tue, 25 Apr 2017 19:00:48 +0000

It seems in America today we’re divided in a million ways. By politics. By religion. By race. But projects like this show there is hope and power in coming together.

On this edition of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast, we’re inside what was historically known at the Temple Beth El on Woodward Avenue talking to Pastor Aramis Hinds of the Breakers Covenant Church International and Rabbi Ariana Silverman of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue.

They’re part of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a beautiful, 55,000 square foot Albert Kahn building on Woodward that is not only going to be a multi-religious gather space, but a center for the community.

Of course, if you enjoyed this episode of the podcast, don’t forget to subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher Radio. We also have the plain old RSS feed here. 

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Motown Movement Aims To Build Education Center Focused On Affordable, Sustainable Housing Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:43:45 +0000 Do you remember the story of the Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the dike to stop the leak and saved the town?

That’s what three Dutch architecture students are doing in Detroit. They hope to put their finger in the dike and help Detroiters cut their energy costs and save more houses that might still have life from demolition.

Bob Hendrikx, Dominik Lukkes, and Ronen Dan just launched their nonprofit Motown Movement project, which aims to make blighted homes livable again by reducing energy and maintenance costs.

That would be great news for many Detroiters, some who say their energy bills are higher than their rent.

The initiative stemmed from a recent visit to Detroit.

Dominik Lukkes

They say before they came here they expected to see a city in full decay. Instead, they saw a city putting itself back together and recovering its lost glory. That made them wonder if it was necessary to demolish so many houses in Detroit instead of raising them back to living conditions.

They saw great potential in implementing simple but effective sustainability technologies that go along with the city’s resilient, independent and free spirit.

Starting February 2016 the three founders began setting up collaborations with several organizations that are deeply rooted in the community of Detroit, such as Focus:Hope, EcoWorks, Midtown Detroit and the Greening of Detroit.

Now, more than a year and two visits later, they are back and ready to go. They’ve put their studies at the Technological University of Delft on hold for a year so they could put what they’ve learned into practice.

“With our nonprofit organization we fight climate change by making sustainable housing accessible for everyone,” says Hendrikx. “We design and share low-budget methods for you to transform your own house into a self-sufficient home.”

The students purchased a broken-down, two-family home on Ford Street for $1,000 and will turn it into a free education center for affordable green home transformation to help people suffering from high energy bills lower their costs. Prior to starting the rehab they shared their plans with neighbors to be sure they matched their needs.

“We will share our knowledge on two platforms,” says Dan. “First, an online platform that will serve as a menu for money-saving techniques. Second, and the most important one, is a free education center. Now people can come together and learn about sustainable housing.”

The ground floor and basement will be turned into a training and resource center where free workshops will be given on sustainable building and where neighbors can meet, work and share and have access to free Wi-Fi and computers.

The second floor will be given to a family that lost their home due to recent tax foreclosures. The demonstration home ensures the family has lower energy bills and also gives inspiration to other families, neighborhoods, cities and countries.

The sustainability methods were developed together with Lawrence Technological University and the Technological University of Delft and can be used in any home.

Some of them include making space heaters from flower pots, bubble wrapping windows, insulating with cellulose blur and putting a brush on the bottom of an outside door to keep the cold out.

The house will also have a green roof made of grass, which keeps things cooler in the summer and reduces rainwater runoff.

Outside they’ll plant a community garden in collaboration with the Glazer Elementary School across the street. Water from the toilet, shower and kitchen will water the garden.

The transformation began in early April and will be finished in mid-June. Afterwards, the students will publish all the findings on their website, documentary and book.

“The problem right now is sustainable housing is too expensive and too state of the art,” says Lukkes.

They need to raise $50,000 to get the job done. Their crowdsourcing campaign for transforming the house into an education center ends April 18. To support The Motown Movement click here. As of today (April 11) they’ve raised just over $32,000.

If they reach their goal the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Public Spaces Community Spaces grant will double the amount.

To bring this issue to the attention of Detroiters the students have started a campaign called Destroy or Rehab? They put posters throughout the city on boarded building and painted the outside of a four apartment brick home at 9308 Genessee St. built in 1924, which is scheduled to be demolished in June.

The students know that the house on is beyond saving but want to make passersby aware that there is a choice in every abandoned home.

“Rehabbing a home might seem an unachievable project, but perhaps when put to light that we can save tremendously on maintenance cost such projects can be made viable,” they say.

Remember the tale of the little Dutch boy at the beginning of this story. He not only saved the town, his dedication got others to come and help plug the leak. These Dutch Boys and their Motown Movement may well do the same in Detroit and turn an initiative into a movement.

For more information go to

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Historic Durfee Middle School On Detroit’s West Side Aims To Become Mixed-Use Community Innovation Center Mon, 13 Mar 2017 22:32:46 +0000 One of the scourges of Detroit’s depopulation has been the empty school buildings left behind. As students continue to leave the public school district in Detroit, in the wake are left many hulks of buildings smack dab in the neighborhoods of the city.

For the last 90 years, the building that houses Durfee Middle School has been serving the community. It would be quite a negative impact to the community for another such structure to meet the same fate.

With the elementary and middle school students being relocated to nearby Central High School (it’s going to become a K-12 school), Durfee could have become another playground for ruin photographers and scrappers.

Fortunately, if a crowdfunding campaign is successful, there’s going to a be full-fledged community innovation center ran by the nonprofit Life Remodeled, providing support programs for the surrounding community and the school next door.

So what is a “community innovation center?” Let’s look at the plans.

They include a business accelerator, makerspaces, co-working and collaborative spaces, recreation, and opportunities for creativity and resource sharing for local small businesses, entrepreneurs, students and community members. It will operate in collaboration with Central High School and the public school district, including providing guest lecturers to the high school. The center will also have various opportunities for the community as a whole to use the space.

Rendering of the maker space proposed at Durfee.

The to-do list to make this happen is long. It involves everything from installing a new gym floor to transforming the former swimming pool and locker rooms into a maker space, where tools such as drill presses, 3D printers, laser cutters, sewing machines, table saws, screen printers and more will be available for entrepreneurs and small business owners from the community.

There will be office space as well, building office space according to the needs of nonprofit and community partners.

The Life Remodeled folks have a business plan for this space, too, so it’s not a money pit that requires dollar after charity dollar.

Their goal is for the building in the Dexter-Linwood neighborhood to be at 90 percent occupancy and financially self-sustaining within three years. The 176,000 square foot space is being leased under agreement with the Detroit Public Schools Community District for $1 per year.

“The Community Innovation Center brings together under a single roof the kind of impact we envision when we talk about remodeling lives one neighborhood at a time,” said Life Remodeled CEO Chris Lambert. “Our focus on community gathering spaces like Skinner Park in Denby last year, which benefited from Patronicity support, is what will help make a lasting change in Detroit neighborhoods.”

If they reach their goal of $50,000 from the online community through a Patronicity campaign by April 14, 2017, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Public Spaces Community Places program.

As of this writing, the campaign has raised $5,200.

So that’s where you come in. Their crowdfunding campaign just launched, and if you’re interested, visit it here.

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Detroit Kite Festival On Belle Isle Launches Crowdfunding Campaign To Get Off The Ground Tue, 07 Mar 2017 17:02:34 +0000 One of the things that goes hand and hand with warm breezes and beautiful parks are kites.

But what if the island park had a whole kite festival? To that end, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Detroit Kite Festival announced today a new crowdfunding campaign to support the Detroit Kite Festival, scheduled to take place July 16, 2017 at Cricket Field on Belle Isle.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $7,500 by Sunday, April 9, the project will receive a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program.

The funds raised through the crowdfunding campaign will not only support events during the day, but several events supporting and leading up to the celebration.

Thanks to partnerships with local organizations, there will be free transportation for 150 kids in Detroit to the festivities, as well as many sessions in different neighborhoods to including kite making and culture sharing around kites.

“Detroit Kite Festival will elevate community by uplifting kite flying and creation as a platform for radical inclusion, communal play, shared healing, and the celebration of culture and history,” Detroit Kite Festival director Margo Dalal said. “We are glad to be a part of the Public Spaces, Community Places program as its structure supports our outreach and will allow us to host community workshops for youth across Detroit, provide transportation to the festival for community groups, and provide free kites to youth at the festival. We hope to focus our market toward inviting Detroit-based community groups, artists, doers, makers and thinkers to come engage with kites at the festival.”

According to the campaign, the money will go to the following:

  • Event logistics: This includes, tents, chairs, insurance, signs, volunteers, etc.
  • Workshop series and day of kite making materials: This includes kite making kits and decoration supplies. 
  • Workshop logistics: This includes the tables, chairs, transportation and insurance needed for the workshop series.
  • Transportation: This is for the buses to take community groups to and from the festival.
  • Merchandise and Kites: This includes the purchasing of official DKF kites to give away and DKF merchandise.
  • Marketing and Design: This includes all promotion material, fliers, postcards, and design services.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses/Cushion: This includes things they forgot we needed, and a little just in case something goes wrong!

The Detroit Kite Festival is in partnership with the Belle Isle Conservancy, The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Wolverine Human Services, and Fresh Era Detroit.

The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based platform Patronicity. For more project details and to donate, go here:

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