Midtown Detroit, Inc. (previously the University Cultural Center Association - UCCA) is the coordinating entity for the local Living Cities Integration Initiative - Woodward Corridor Initiative. Midtown Detroit, Inc. was created in 1976 to help guide development, enhance public awareness, encourage reinvestment, and celebrate the cultural aspects of Midtown Detroit. Today, there are over 60 members representing the area’s academic, cultural, medical and service institutions, corporations, businesses and community organizations. More than 300 representatives from these member organizations actively participate in activities through committees, which include Beautification and Maintenance, Community and Economic Development, Security, Marketing, and Special Events. There have been numerous redevelopment initiatives spearheaded by Midtown Detroit, Inc. to help encourage reinvestment in the Midtown community. While all important, some of the most notable include the restoration and conversion of six historic homes into a boutique hotel; the development of the Midtown Loop (a two-mile greenway trail); the Woodward Avenue Streetscape Enhancement project which added new sidewalks, flowering trees, historic style street lighting, trash receptacles, and directional signage; the creation of the Sugar Hill Arts District neighborhood plan; and the construction of two community gardens.
Living Cities was founded in 1991 by 22 of the world’s largest organizations and financial institutions. As a philanthropic organization, Living Cities aims to improve the lives of low-income individuals and the urban areas in which they live on a mass scale. Through strengthening and reengineering neighborhood institutions, Living Cities provides a means of increasing these organizations capacity and potential to adequately provide opportunities to the low-income in the areas that they serve. Key platforms of Living Cities are the necessity to align local, state, and national policies to address the economic issues in these urban areas and finding new, innovative ways to leverage funding from public, private, and philanthropic sectors. One core ideal of Living Cities is that its members aren’t only funders. They also participate on the senior management level as members of the Living Cities Board of Directors and contribute expert staff to build and implement agendas. For more information about Living Cities visit http://www.livingcities.org.
The Integration Initiative (TII) was launched by Living Cities in January 2010. TII seeks to create and implement new, innovative approaches to alleviate issues in metropolitan areas that impede economic opportunity for low-income families and their communities. It provides between $75-80 million in grants, loans and Program-Related Investments (PRIs) to five urban regions that are challenging traditional ways of doing business in order to improve access to education, housing, health care, transit and jobs for their residents. As chosen TII recipients: Detroit, MI; Cleveland, OH; Baltimore, MD; Twin Cities, MN, and Newark, NJ, have been given flexible resources in order to move past traditional approaches and restructure fragmented systems – integrating across disciplines, geographies, sectors, and funding sources.