Doing Good – Daily Detroit What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:39:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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City Year Detroit Raises $110,000 During Annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:35:27 +0000 On Thursday morning I went to City Year’s 7th annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast.

Every year, City Year Detroit holds this breakfast as a way to discuss empowering young Detroiters. This year the topic was how City Year could help foster a strong workforce in Detroit.

I see two separate ways that City Year is helping the next generation get ready for workforce development.

The main way is with the work the  City Year Americorps members are doing in the schools. These corps members are young adults from the ages of 18-25 who spend 10 hours a day working in classrooms, spending one on one time with students who need help in mathematics and literacy, and by planning activities for students.

So the students that are being assisted are less likely to fall behind and they are less likely to drop out of college.

The second way City Year is helping with workforce development with the the corps members themselves.

These young people are learning key skills that will help them later in life. They are problem solving, working as a team work and also teaching others.

Once these corps members finish their time at City Year they have a great opportunity to get a job or to continue their education.

For instance:

  • The University of Michigan Law School has a $30,000 scholarship for alumni of City Year.
  • City Year alumni who want to get their masters in education can get a scholarship to the University of Michigan for $15,000.
  • Alumni that are accepted to University of Detroit Mercy Law School can get a 25% discount on tuition.

In the past two years, 80% of the City Year Detroit alumni have decided to continue to live in the city.

Which means all of that talent is staying within the city. And talent staying in Detroit? That’s a good thing.

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QUICK TIP: Free Diaper Giveaway This Sunday In Southwest Detroit Tue, 14 Nov 2017 18:57:30 +0000 Being a mother can be a really hard job. It can be even harder if you are struggling to make ends meet between housing, food, and diapers.

Diapers are one of those things that you kind of need when you have a kid. Both cloth and disposable diapers are an investment. Babies need an average of 8-10 diapers a day, so disposable diapers end up costing roughly $80 a month.

This is where FIERCE (Female Icons Encouraging Real Concepts of Empowerment) comes in. This Sunday, November 19 they will be holding a Diaper Giveaway to area moms.

FIERCE Detroit received a donation of over 500 boxes of diapers and they’re looking to give them away.

The Diaper Giveaway will provide moms with diapers, hats, gloves, socks and information on numerous resources. The diapers are first come first served.

The moms are also encouraged to sign up for FIERCE programs that can help with educational advice, career coaching, parenting, and other resources that can help empower women. You can also sign up to volunteer.

The event will take place on Sunday, November 19 from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Brilliant Detroit, located at 5675 Larkins in Detroit.

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Bells Will Be Jingling At Detroit’s Santa Speedo Run Fri, 10 Nov 2017 21:29:07 +0000 If running a mile through downtown Detroit in a Santa suit – or Santa-inspired skimpy wear – in the middle of December strikes your fancy, read on.

On December 10, Briggs Detroit is throwing the Detroit Santa Speedo Run to benefit the Greening of Detroit and the Ruth Ellis Center. The free event only asks for donations of what you want for the two groups.

The Greening of Detroit supports making Detroit’s environment better, and the Ruth Ellis Center provides short-term and long-term residential safe spaces and support services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

So what is the event? It’s a mile run starting at 2 p.m. that Sunday that is open to men and women of all shapes and sizes.  Of course, libations start earlier (with drink specials) than when the start pistol fires, at noon.

The run will go from Briggs, at Jefferson and Beaubien, to Woodward to Campus Martius, then loops back to Greektown and then to Briggs. It’s a quickie, if you will.

Here’s the Facebook event if you’re interested.

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Shinola Releases New Limited Edition Lake Erie Monster Dive Watch Tue, 07 Nov 2017 22:09:53 +0000 If you are a fan of Great Lakes lore, watches, and have some deep pockets — I have the perfect thing for you.

Shinola is rolling out a new limited edition watch that pays tribute to the legend of the Lake Erie Monster. Shinola only made 500 of these watches.

The Shinola Lake Erie Monster Dive Watch is a 43mm watch can withstand depths up to 1,000 feet underwater.

The watch is also powered by Swiss-made aromatic R-150 which makes it Shinola’s first ever mechanical watch. It features a 40 hour power reserve.

While the face of the watch is cool, the design of the Erie Lake Monster on the case back of the watch is pretty impressive. The monster even has a sapphire eye.

The watch comes with a cool case, two additional watch straps, a Princeton Tech Genesis dive flashlight and a map of Lake Erie.

It should go without saying, but this watch is going to cost you some cheddar with a price tag of $2,250.

If you are looking for an even more rare version of this watch then you need to head over to StockX.

StockX is set up like an online stock market for highly sought after products. Customers then bid on items to purchase them. They can also sell products on the website.

Shinola and StockX have partnered together to sell five prototype Lake Erie Monster watches to the highest bidders. The prototype watches will feature a 000/500 designation on the case back.

A portion of the proceeds from these five watches will go to The Empowerment Plan and Detroit Children’s Fund.

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Detroiter Named A Top 10 Hero By CNN, Needs Your Vote To Be “Hero Of The Year” Fri, 03 Nov 2017 14:21:56 +0000 When it comes to programs that help kids, it’s difficult to match the determination and results of the Downtown Boxing Gym on the near east side of the city.

Khali Sweeney (we’ve had him as a guest on our Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast) founded and runs the after-school program that serves 156 Detroit students from the ages of 8-18.

There are some impressive numbers behind the program. For students involved, has a 100% high school graduation rate since 2007, because it focuses on “books before boxing.” Students participate in athletics after getting their homework done. There’s also a series of programs that provide support beyond the basics — extracurricular and enrichment activities that are sorely lacking in Detroit — such as computer coding, robotics, cooking, and music.

Sweeney understands that in Detroit, the need for services for kids extends way beyond opening your doors, and includes a fleet of six vans to get people where they need to go (and it’s not unheard of for him to drive the van himself).

Here’s the thing. There’s more to do. As you can guess, the need is high.

“Right now, there are 850 students on our waiting list. We will not rest until we can make a difference in their lives, too. The work we are doing not only impacts our students and their families – it has a positive impact on our community, the city of Detroit, and the world. Thank you for all of your votes and support,” said Sweeney.

The 2017 Top 10 CNN Heroes, in its 11th year, celebrates individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to help improve the lives of others. Here’s where you come in.

Voting is now open to select the ‘CNN Hero of the Year’ by voting for the Top 10 CNN Hero who inspires them the most. And we’re from Detroit, so we’re totally biased for our hometown favorites (and he’s the only one from Detroit), so vote for Khali.

You can vote daily at via email or Facebook, as well as on Facebook Messenger by messaging VOTE to the CNN Heroes Facebook page.

This is a case where you are supposed to vote early and vote often. You can vote up to 10x a day, per method, every day through Tuesday, December 12 at midnight Pacific Time.

The winner will be announced by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa live on the The 11th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute. All 10 honorees on Sunday, December 17 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

The good news is that Khali is already a winner as a top 10 finalist, with the organization receiving $10,000. But your vote could make a big difference difference as the ‘CNN Hero of the Year’ will receive an additional $100,000.

Here’s the link again.

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Save The Date, Save The Dogs: “Hot Dogs For Dogs” To Raise Money For DDR At Detroit’s Best Restaurants Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:45:55 +0000 Detroit loves to mix charity and fun, and this upcoming event at the end of November looks to do just that.

“Hot Dogs for Dogs” week as it’s being called was unveiled on Facebook by Chef James Rigato. He’s one of Detroit’s culinary all stars, being not only a Top Chef contestant but the man behind the well-reviewed Mabel Gray in Hazel Park.

He was moved by the recent story of Jack, a dog that passed away after being shot multiple times.

The event details are still coming together, but will run from November 27 through December 3.  Each restaurant will feature a hot dog of their own creation at whatever price makes sense and all proceeds go to the Detroit Dog Rescue.

DDR is a 501c(3) nonprofit that focuses on raising awareness of the homeless and stray dog problem in Detroit, along with advocating for humane rescue alternatives such as no-kill sheltering, foster care and adoptions, pet identification and healthy pet population control through spay and neutering.

The lineup of restaurants so far is, in a word, insane. Of course, Mabel Gray, but also (and here are just a few) Grey Ghost, Takoi, Gather, Townhouse, Chartreuse, Wright & Co., Standby, Apparatus Room, Lady of the House. The list is nearly to 30 places so far!

Stay tuned, hungry metro Detroiters.

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Crowdfunding: Authors For New Belle Isle Book Looking For Your Help For Photographers Mon, 16 Oct 2017 18:57:00 +0000 Belle Isle is one of those magical places in Detroit that people flock to, but they might not know all of the cool historical facts about the monuments and landmarks on the island.

This is where Dan Austin and historian Lori Feret come in. They are working on a new book about the stories about these monuments and landmarks in a new book that will be published by Wayne State University Press.

The book will incorporate photos from area photographers to showcase the beauty of Belle Isle. In fact, if you are a photographer and would like your Belle Isle photographs to be considered you can still submit them.

Austin and Feret will be paying the photographers for the photographs, which is where you come in.

There is a Patronicity crowd funding campaign happening right now to raise $15,000 to pay these artists for their work.

According to the video that Austin posted on the crowd funding page, they will be paying each photographer a share of the money raised. So, if someone gets one photo in the book they will get one share. If they have ten photos in the book they will receive 10 shares.

As with any crowd funding campaign there is some pretty sweet incentives if you contribute. For $8 you can get a vintage Tuller Hotel matchbook. If you have a bit more cash you can get a piece of vintage Book Cadillac china for $80. If you love the Belle Isle Aquarium you can get a behind the scenes tour for four, that one will run you $350.

There are incentives for every Detroit history lover. I’m pretty sure Dan Austin has gone into his own collection of cool Detroit swag to put this crowd funding together.

I’d tell you what my favorite thing is, but I don’t want you to get it before I can donate.

All donations will be tax deductible thanks to Wayne State University Press being a registered 501c3.

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The Tricycle Collective Raises More Than $30,000 To Help Fight Tax Foreclosures Tue, 10 Oct 2017 18:34:52 +0000 Although there has been some progress made over the last few years, the threat of Detroit residents losing their homes to tax foreclosures is still a real thing.

For a variety of reasons, 1,800 occupied homes are on the block for the October 13 auction. Some are very poor, others have been paying rent to shady landlords who haven’t been paying the taxes on the properties while collecting rent. Some of the properties, according to The Tricycle Collective, are over-assessed and so have inflated tax rates.

This contributes to the extremely high level of abandonment in the city. One in six occupied homes becomes vacant within a year of tax foreclosure and a third of the properties in the city of Detroit has been auctioned through tax foreclosure since 2002.

But there’s some good news. Through the online crowdfunding platform Patronicity, The Tricycle Collective has raised $30,176 to help keep foreclosures at bay.

Michele Oberholtzer working with children. Courtesy Photo.

“In the three years that the Tricycle Collective has supported families through the auction, we have seen a tipping in the odds against residents and into the favor of investors,” said Michele Oberholtzer, founder of the Tricycle Collective. “It used to be that information was the biggest gap between a person and their deed but now, more and more, it comes down to money. We are doing what we can.”

And often, it’s not about a lot of money in the big scheme of things. Here’s how it works.

Each family in the Tricycle Collective program receives a $500 donation to help them buy their home in the auction. These donations are handled by their partner organization, the United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC).

But it’s not just about $500 and being done, or a handout. It’s a hand up.

This works in concert with UCHC’s Tax Foreclosure Prevention Project that provides free counseling and assistance to residents of tax foreclosed homes throughout the year. They also help Detroiters retain their homes if and when they do go up for auction.

The donations from The Tricycle Collective, as well as a zero-interest loan pool, help support residents and saved money from the residents themselves — as I said, a good number who have been paying rent up until the time of the auction — are scratched together to hopefully have enough money to win their house in auction.

And yes, there have been instances of just $500 winning the house for the family.

The Tricycle Collective and the UCHC aren’t new things, and although they don’t completely solve the problem, it helps blunt the impact in a meaningful way for Detroit families.

Over the past three years, the Tricycle Collective has contributed over $54,000 in direct donations to 106 families.

After all, when it comes to the financial flood that is the foreclosure crisis in Detroit, every lifeboat helps.

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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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