News Release

UDM Receives $1.5 million Ford Foundation Grant

The University of Detroit Mercy’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) in the School of Architecture received a $1,500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to develop and implement a year-long civic engagement process that will yield a long-term land-use vision for the revitalization and growth of the City of Detroit. DCDC will be working together with the Detroit Works program to develop and implement the plan.

The work of DCDC focuses on developing and implementing urban strategies for the City of Detroit that are becoming models for other cities experiencing similar urban challenges.  The Center promotes community collaborations that create inspired and sustainable neighborhood spaces for all people by providing advice, design, and fabrication to urban neighborhoods.

The initiative’s community engagement process will have a significant presence in the community, such as a storefront location where community members can meet and give their input about the projects.

 “University of Detroit Mercy is thankful to the Ford Foundation for its support of this community–based initiative,” said University of Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi. “This proposed engagement with community residents, businesses and non-profit organizations is intended to complement other local projects that are focused on revitalizing the City of Detroit. This Ford Foundation grant will significantly increase the scope of the Design Center’s work to enable community-driven development in Detroit,” he added.

Since it was established in 1994, the Design Center has worked with more than 80 local non-profit organizations to create quality design solutions for urban neighborhood spaces. Most recently, the Design Center has worked with the Detroit Office of Foreclosure Prevention and Response to develop a conceptual vision of underutilized land. The Ford Foundation grant will help to expand the Design Center’s mission to assist the community.

“Ensuring that every resident has a say in the future of the city isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Don Chen, senior program officer of the Ford Foundation. “By capturing the ideas and aspirations of residents, businesses, community organizations and others, this effort can help advance revitalization in Detroit and begin to build a model for other communities across the country.”

“The University of Detroit Mercy and the Design Center see this as a unique opportunity not to work independently but to use the grant as a way to forge relationships with other agencies and non-profit organizations,” said Dan Pitera, FAIA, Executive Director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and Associate Professor of Architecture, University of Detroit Mercy. “We will be acting as a guide, not the single leader, to build on this important initiative.”

Release date: December 06,2011

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The University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan's largest private Catholic University, offering approximately 100 majors and programs in 60 academic fields. Sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, the University has three campuses located in downtown and northwest Detroit.

For the 11th consecutive year, UDM was ranked among the top tier of Midwestern master's universities in U.S.News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" – 2012 edition.

For more information about UDM, or to apply online, go to

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