Neighborhood growth accelerator: Detroit LISC recognizes groups moving the needle forward city-wide

Neighborhood growth accelerator: Detroit LISC recognizes groups moving the needle forward city-wide

When it comes to rebuilding Detroit, many groups in the Motor City have been happy to dig right in and get things done. A drive down one of the city’s major arteries reveals new shops, restaurants, condominiums and apartment buildings, a visual delight for residents inside the city border and beyond. Parts of Woodward, Livernois, Mack, and Michigan Avenues have seen new foot traffic and retail in places that have been all too quiet for too many years.

Although the challenging decades of decline and dilapidation seem well on their way to being ushered out, it’s not happenstance that this sweeping change has taken hold.

The devotion of groups that love and care about this city is the real source, and the Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is leading the charge.

The Detroit office of the national organization exemplifies its mission to help residents transform distressed neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities of choice and opportunity.

The Community Development Awards put seemingly invisible leaders and their efforts in the spotlight. Past award winners have leveraged  the visibility to gain additional attention and grant funders’ interest as a result of the effort.   Nominations are now open for this year’s event. Photo courtesy of Detroit LISC

Change doesn’t just happen. It needs to be pushed forward. Detroit LISC will call out those invisible forces of change when it joins together with Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD) and Michigan Community Resources (MCR) with the MASCO Corporation as the presenting sponsor to host its annual Detroit Community Development Awards this October.

“The awards are something that community development practitioners and neighbors across the city look forward to because it’s an opportunity for them to be highlighted,” says Detroit LISC Executive Director Tahirih Ziegler. “Often they are doing many years of work, and that work doesn’t always get elevated. A lot of people don’t know the Detroiters who are investing in their streets, their blocks, and their neighborhood. They aren’t aware of what’s going on behind the stories you hear.”

Detroit LISC Executive Director Tahirih Ziegler helps to promote and advance the interest of Detroit’s unsung neighborhood heroes and is among stakeholders beginning to garner wider media interest in neighborhood redevelopment and affordable housing initiatives. 

Since its establishment in Detroit in 1990, Detroit LISC has invested more than $202 million in the city. Under Ziegler’s leadership since 2010, the organization has invested close to $87 million.

“Because Detroit has such large-scale issues, you don’t get to hear a lot of the good things that are happening on the ground,” she says.

The nine awards range from an Excellence in Real Estate Development to a Community Strategy of the Year to a People’s Choice Award. They highlight people who are unsung heroes.

“This is one of the only venues for people to network with funders and those who are working in the city to help their initiative move forward,” Ziegler says. “I don’t know of any other event where someone can walk in and see all kinds of organizations supporting their work all in one room.”

The night honors those who may not be in the spotlight such as Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance, the recipient of last year’s CDC/Nonprofit Developer of the Year Award.“We’ve heard about many groups like this doing good work over the years, but this gives them a platform to move their agenda forward for community development opportunities,” Ziegler says.

The call for nominations for the 2017 Community Development Awards event is now open and closes Friday, September 8, 2017. Nominations for the fan favorite People’s Choice Awards closes on Friday, September 15, 2017. Organizations can be self-nominated, with eligibility based on the group’s 501(C)(3) status and the level of their work in a city neighborhood.

Click here to nominate an individual or organization for the 2017 Community Development Awards.

The Detroit Community Development Awards takes place Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at Cobo Hall. A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. with programming to start at 6:00 p.m. For more information, visit





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