Midtown Detroit leads revitalization and inclusive growth

Community development investing |

Praxis invests in Detroit’s community development solutions

Midtown Detroit Inc. is a nonprofit that focuses on enhancing the quality of life for residents and businesses in Midtown Detroit. The area, a one-by-two-mile district, is home to some of the city’s top academic, medical and cultural institutions, businesses, historic homes and community organizations. As Detroit has grappled with decades of economic decline, MDI has been a key organization in the neighborhood’s rebuilding and revitalization.

Midtown Detroit spelled out for logo
Started as a collaborative merger between the University Cultural Center Association and the New Center Council over three decades ago, MDI has raised over $80 million which has been invested in the wide spectrum of support it provides to the Midtown, New Center and sometimes adjacent neighborhoods.

Some of MDI’s greatest accomplishments include numerous programs that provide technical and financial aid, promoting business and mixed-income housing growth and boosting community belonging and pride. More than 150 households are enrolled MDI’s “Stay Midtown” residential incentive program designed to reduce housing burdens due to rising rents for low-income residents.

MDI was key in the creation of the Sugar Hill Arts District, a major streetscape enhancement along a major avenue, a historic thoroughfare, and the creation of two community gardens. Additionally, MDI helped launch a number of free arts festivals, cleaned up and brought new amenities to neighborhood parks, and converted many old one-way streets into bicycle and pedestrian friendly two-way passages.

MDI and Praxis community development partner Capital Impact Partners started working together in 2010 when Detroit was selected to participate in the Living Cities Integration Initiative with MDI as the lead applicant. The city became eligible for up to $22 million in funds to reduce blight and reuse buildings and lands. The relationship continues today on a variety of mixed-income and mixed-use projects.

Impact story

Two people standing in front of a display of bow ties in a store
Sue Mosey, recently retired CEO of MDI, took special pride in helping small-business owners and entrepreneurs, especially women and entrepreneurs of color, get started and succeed. An entrepreneur herself, Sue advocated for these entrepreneurs in Detroit’s midtown area to access capital through various programs and championed the development of many storefront spaces at significantly below-market rents.

Ne'Gyle Beaman, owner of Bleu Bowtique, a custom bowtie store, is among the countless business people and residents in Midtown Detroit who have been helped directly or indirectly by MDI. Ne’Gyle commented that Detroit used to be a fashion mecca and he'd like to see it return to that state once again. With MDI’s involvement, he has seen foot traffic increase and the store now serves customers from all around the world.

Stella Tai, Stewardship Investing Impact and Analysis Manager | Praxis Mutual Funds
Author Stella Tai
Stewardship Investing Impact and Analysis Manager

Community Development Investing

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