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Wayne State University announces Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program

March 21, 2011

DETROIT - (March 15, 2011) - Wayne State University announced today the launch of the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program to advance the renewal of Detroit. With initial support from The Kresge Foundation and the Hudson-Webber Foundation, and potential support from foundation partners, the fellows program aims to build the capacity of public, for-profit, non-profit, and quasi-public organizations actively working to shape the Detroit of tomorrow.

Wayne State University will lead the national search for qualified professionals to participate in this unique opportunity. The program will combine two years of full-time employment with an executive development education component. In addition, fellows will have the opportunity to participate in a custom curriculum that will blend aspects of urban planning, community and economic development, residential and commercial real estate development, leadership training and national site visits.

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program is modeled after the successful Rockefeller Foundation Redevelopment Fellowships launched in 2007 in New Orleans. That program, administered by the Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania, enabled key redevelopment organizations in New Orleans to recruit qualified professionals from across the country to work on the rebuilding process there.

"The Kresge Foundation is pleased to support Wayne State University in this unique endeavor to advance the revitalization of Detroit," said President and CEO Rip Rapson. "As we align efforts to re-imagine Detroit, we hope to include a new generation of leaders from within the city and beyond. The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program will provide vital energy, high performance and capacity-building resources for Detroit as we maximize the opportunities before us."

During the first phase, the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program will seek up to 25 mid-career professionals to work with a variety of local organizations. Organizations that have agreed to employ the fellows include the University Cultural Center Association, NextEnergy, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, Invest Detroit, the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and the Woodward Corridor Initiative. A special effort is being made to build capacity in a variety of other community development organizations across the city.

"Nothing is more important for the future of Detroit than preparing and inspiring the leaders of tomorrow," said Wayne State President Allan Gilmour. "Wayne State is in the business of developing leaders. And we have talented faculty to help the Detroit Revitalization Fellows make the most of their own opportunities. This unique program is one more expression of our commitment to our community."

Wayne State University is developing and managing the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program. Applications are being accepted for the first cohort of fellows, who will begin the program in August 2011. The deadline to apply is April 15. Additional information, eligibility requirements and the application form can be found at http://wayne.edu/detroitfellows

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.1 billion private, national foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations by creating access and opportunity in underserved communities, improving the health of low-income people, supporting artistic expression, increasing college achievement, assisting in the revitalization of Detroit, and advancing methods for dealing with global climate change. The foundation works in six program areas: arts and culture, community development, education, the environment, health, and human services. In 2009, the Board of Trustees approved 404 awards totaling $197 million; $167 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. For more information, visit www.kresge.org.

The Hudson-Webber Foundation, a private foundation established in 1943, concentrates its efforts and resources in the city of Detroit with a focus on greater downtown Detroit. The mission areas of the Foundation include support of physical revitalization, economic development, arts and safety.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.

  • Contact: Tom Reynolds
  • Voice: (313) 577-2150
  • Email: treynolds@wayne.edu
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  • Contact: Cynthia Shaw, Kresge Foundation
  • Voice: (248) 643-9630
  • Email: cbshaw@kresge.org
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