A recent Detroit News guest editorial gave me pause. As someone who’s been involved in a lot of different projects here in Detroit, I figured I could add my voice to the conversation, especially since our project Bus Riders Need To Be Engaged Too “made it” to the finals as well.

But instead of positioning this as us vs. them as so many of the winners are worthy projects, I want to offer a suggestion.

Sure, the money would have been great to get, but since we didn’t get it, it would have been valuable to really get a sense of where we went wrong.

Were we not clear enough? Was the budget not realistic? Was the team of people I brought together not enough? Something else?

It would have been nice to know.

This is one of many times I haven’t gotten selected for things like this, and I am one of those local doers and I’d like to think I’ve got a ton of skin in the game.

I’ve implemented many things with zero funding, I’ve advised on projects that have attracted funding and those that already had funding but had zero idea on how to engage in the community I’m from and are a part of on an every day basis.

Like many doers and entrepreneurs in Detroit, I’m always looking to grow and improve. I do not have all the answers. But if we local contributors keep getting denied with no guidance or support after the process, I believe innovation from the ground level will continue to be ignored because we don’t have the “right” thing, whatever that is. Constructive feedback on what the missing piece (or pieces) were would allow us all to learn and grow.

But because we don’t get feedback, we’re all still in the dark for the next project. And if you truly want to invest in a community, knowledge is power. All we ask is that you share that power.

Ed. Note: Jay Rayford is an educator, entrepreneur and community activist who lives in Detroit. This post is the opinion of the guest author and it is shared here to push the conversation forward and be a platform for those interested in Detroit. We welcome your comments and feedback. If you’d like to submit something for us to consider publishing, check out our submit form.

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