Skip to content

New Economy Initiative announces $1.2 million Kresge grant for 6 CDOs, 25 small businesses in Detroit’s commercial corridors


The New Economy Initiative (NEI) today announced a $1.2 million grant from The Kresge Foundation for a new Anchor Business Grant Program, aiming to impact underserved small businesses and communities located in key commercial corridors in Detroit. The program will provide grant support and practical assistance to 25 anchor businesses located in six commercial corridors recovering from the pandemic.

“The goal of this program is to strengthen key anchor businesses, stabilizing the corridors in which they operate to encourage the continued operation of current businesses and attract new businesses,” said Don Jones, associate director of New Economy Initiative. “The Kresge Foundation’s support demonstrates their understanding that the smallest businesses, those with 25 employees and less, are the backbone of the economy, and are key to equitable economic growth.”

Six community development organizations will provide support and services to each of the four to five businesses in their respective commercial corridor. Of the 25 small businesses receiving grants, 21 are minority-owned.

“Commercial corridors are barometers of community health. When they are productive and vibrant, they lift up surrounding neighborhoods both economically and socially,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program. “The grants announced today signal that community development organizations across the city recognize just how much these businesses have been battered through the pandemic and how much key anchor establishments can contribute to community recovery and advancement.”

Additionally, the program will strengthen the ability of community development organizations to connect and support underserved small business owners to gain greater exposure to resources, capital, and social networks that can advance business stability and growth goals. This will lead to a stronger local economy, retaining and creating jobs and individual and community wealth building.

The six community development organizations receiving grants are Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation, Jefferson East, Inc., Live6 Alliance, Midtown Detroit, Inc., Osborn Neighborhood Alliance and Southwest Detroit Business Association. Each will receive $50,000 to assist in the COVID-19 recovery in their commercial corridor.

The program management and coordination will be done by ProsperUs Detroit, which is receiving a grant of $825,000. ProsperUs will grant $25,000 to each of the 25 anchor businesses. In addition, ProsperUs will handle coordinating additional practical assistance for each business and will provide staffing for the support program.

“The anchor businesses supported through this program are inspiring examples of Detroit’s perseverance and culture of entrepreneurship,” said Chanell Scott Contreras, executive director of ProsperUs Detroit. “Each is deeply invested in their communities and has developed creative plans for maximizing this opportunity. We are excited about this focus on small businesses and are eager to support their vision alongside our community development partners.”

Since 2007, NEI, which Kresge has supported since its inception, has awarded 620 grants totaling more than $127 million to organizations that assisted nearly 19,000 companies and helped launch an additional 3,130 companies. These companies employed almost 45,000 people, leveraged $1.8 billion in capital, and exposed more than 480,000 people to entrepreneurial services. Of the client companies served by NEI grantees, 70% are women-led and 60% are minority-led.