Leave a comment


On Tuesday, Jan. 26, #DetroitRising and Microsoft are hosting an initial one-day summit to discuss and brainstorm solutions to some of the most pressing challenges confronting Detroit neighborhoods. The agenda is based on the Rockefeller Foundation’s and ARUP’s “City Resilience Framework” and “Social Innovation Lab Guide,” which uses a whole system approach for guiding social innovation in cities. The organizations primary goal is to identify the next steps for Detroit’s communities and obtain commitments from individuals and groups to ensure those next steps are taken.

#DetroitRising will bring leaders and decision-makers from all sectors of society together to transform Detroit into a resilient city to discuss some of the current challenges facing Detroit communities and brainstorm innovative solutions. We believe this transformation needs to begin in our neighborhoods. We are inviting you to join a community discussion to recognize the important work already being done in Detroit’s communities, as well as identify work that still needs to take place. We hope to generate practical solutions to accelerate social innovation, equity, and empowerment within our neighborhoods.

Representatives from the White House, State of Michigan, and the City of Detroit along with representatives from the Big Three — GM, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford — will be in attendance along with local business owners, joining residents of Detroit neighborhoods and communities. Members of academia, faith-based organizations, nonprofits, foundations, corporations, and financial institutions will be in a room together to talk about the real problems and viable solutions.

After this initial summit, we hope to answer the following questions:


What efforts are currently underway to deal with some of the most pressing challenges in Detroit communities?

• How can we engage stakeholders to take part in finding solutions to these problems?

• How can we track, measure and evaluate efforts to ensure real progress is taking place?

• How can we align funding from corporations and investors in a way that accelerates wealth creation and social progress within communities?

• What are some next steps and actions that individuals can take to start tackling these challenges?


At the conclusion of the initial #DetroitRising Summit, we will be asking individuals and groups to commit to working on a solution to a specific problem within a specific area. We hope this event will stimulate much needed conversations between sectors that typically do not interact.


Current list of speakers:


Susan Ambrosini 

New York, NY

Associate with Arup


Susan Ambrosini is an Associate in Arup’s New York office. She has ten years of urban planning experience focused on urban design, transportation planning, land use, resiliency, sustainability, transit-oriented development, and economic development, with a strong background in community planning and participation. Susan is adept at understanding residential, commercial and industrial land use issues and opportunities, utilizing her strong foundation in retail analysis, economic development, and housing policy.

Since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Susan’s focus has been planning for resiliency within the New York region. Working with communities on the south shore of Long Island, Susan managed the completion of five recovery and resiliency plans, as part of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction program established by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. In addition, she was Project Manager for Arup’s work for One New York, Mayor De Blasio’s ambitious 2015 strategic plan for New York City, which included physical planning concepts related to growth, resiliency, transportation, and access to jobs.


Prior to Arup, Susan was a city planner at the Los Angeles City Planning Department where she focused on community-based land use and transportation planning in several Los Angeles neighborhoods, as well as transit-oriented planning around five new light-rail stations. Prior to the City of Los Angeles, Susan worked at AKRF, a New York City environmental consulting firm engaged in the City’s most controversial infrastructure and development projects. Here, her focus was economic and retail analysis for private and public sector clients.

Susan has an extensive understanding of municipal government operations and has worked with a variety of types of agencies and departments in different cities. Public outreach has been a key component of many of her projects, and Susan is skilled at developing successful community communications strategies, facilitating public meetings, and working with a variety of community organizations.


Amy Cortese, 

Brooklyn, NY

Award-winning Journalist and Editor


Covering topics spanning business, finance, food, wine and environmental issues, Cortese’s work has appeared in the the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, New York, Business Week, the Daily News, Portfolio, Mother Jones, Afar, The American, the Daily Beast, Talk, Business 2.0 and Wired, among other publications. Her book, Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit From it (John Wiley & Sons, June 2011), draws upon her experience covering these diverse realms to explore how a small shift in investment away from multinationals towards locally-owned enterprises can reap enormous economic and social benefits for individuals, their communities and the country.


Justin Edwards

Washington DC

Regional Director, North America

Social Progress Imperative


Justin Edwards leads the development of the Social Progress Network throughout North America by fostering cross-sector partnerships among businesses, local governments, and civil society to build collaborative strategies to improve social outcomes in their communities. He also leads on brand strategy and communications for the Social Progress Imperative’s global Partner Network. Justin has spent a decade enhancing publishing, marketing and communications outputs, with a focus on US philanthropy and international development. He previously led communications at the World Wide Web Foundation, overseeing the inaugural launch of their flagship product, the Web Index. Prior to that, he led a small marketing and communications team at the Association of Small Foundations, a non-profit serving nearly 3,000 charitable foundations across the US, and consulted with the Johnson Center for Philanthropy’s Foundation Review at Grand Valley State University. Justin holds BAs in English Literature and Global Studies in International Development from the University of Iowa.


Chris Dadson

London, United Kingdom

Social Investment Policy Advisor at the UK Cabinet Office to the Social Investment Business


Chris is responsible for developing new funds at the Social Investment Business (SIB), including a new fund product, ‘Local Impact Funds’, which will provide social investment to communities as part of SIB’s place based investment strategy.

SIB is the largest social investment finance intermediary organization in the UK, having provided over £350m in social investment into over 1,300 charities and social enterprises since 2002. Chris is on a two year secondment from the Social Investment Team in the UK Cabinet Office.


Kevin Jones

Asheville, North Carolina

Co-Founder & Convener, Social Capital Markets

Neighborhood Economics


Kevin Jones creates information businesses inside emerging markets. He believes that markets emerge in conversation, as people try to explain and understand value. But this market is not like others he’s been in, and that’s what makes it more interesting and more important.

Besides SOCAP, Kevin is founder of Good Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in social enterprises. He is also part of the team launching the first U.S. node of the Hub, a network of more than a dozen work spaces for social entrepreneurs in cities across the world from Cairo to London. His previous six businesses all achieved market dominance before he left or sold them. He has been a columnist for Forbes and Business 2.0 magazines. He has been on the boards of Social Enterprise Alliance, the association of non-profit social enterprises, and Social Venture Partners International, a network of engaged philanthropy circles. Kevin also led a malaria project in Zwaziland and Mozambique, working with Jeff Sachs of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. Finally, during his 20-year business career in Mississippi he was heavily involved in public school advocacy. He twitters @kevindoylejones.


Jessica Norwood

Montgomery, Alabama

Founder and Executive Director

Emerging ChangeMakers Network


A tireless activist committed to the cause of community investing, Jessica Norwood labors at the intersection of empowering grassroots leadership and facilitating innovative entrepreneurial ideas. Armed with an encyclopedic understanding of the intricacies of business development, she deploys strategies in the areas of capital, policy and leadership development to transform the systems that prohibit communities from thriving in an increasingly harsh economic climate.

As a leading social entrepreneur in her native Alabama, Jessica is a vocal evangelist for investing as a strategy to build community resiliency. Identifying the need for a springboard for those with a vested interest in the financial vibrancy of their respective communities, in 2012, she established the Emerging ChangeMakers Network. This initiative targets disenfranchised communities within the Deep South, providing a user-friendly business development toolbox of sorts that allows civically dedicated individuals to actively invest in their communities. An offshoot of the program, SOUL’UTIONS, was launched shortly thereafter, encompassing a network of investment clubs supporting socially conscientious businesses and economically vulnerable communities throughout the area.

As the face of these progressive initiatives, Jessica has shared her considerable expertise across the business arena, serving as a lead consultant for the following entities: the Center for Social Inclusion, Black Land Loss Prevention Project and Leadership Capacity after Hurricane Katrina; Oxfam America, Coastal Communities



Tim Soerens

Seattle, Washington

Co-Founder, Neighborhood Economics

Co-Founder, Parish Collective

Curator of Place Based Innovation & Meaning Tracks, Social Capital Markets


Tim Soerens is a pastor, social entrepreneur, and co-founding director of the Parish Collective. As co-director of the Parish Collective he convenes ministry leaders, teaches, and consults with organizations seeking human flourishing in particular neighborhoods while also working collaboratively across the city. He is also the co-founding producer of the Inhabit Conference and the new “Leadership in the New Parish” certificate program at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.

Tim is a founding adviser to the Hub-Seattle, an innovative co-working space for change makers in both non-profit and business sectors. He earned a BA in Rhetorical Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Masters of Divinity from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.




Lesley D. Slavitt

Head, Civic Engagement &

CEO, FCA Foundation


“FCA Foundation and welcome the opportunity to participate in discussions about accelerating social innovation and community empowerment during the #DetroitRising Summit.  We look forward to engaging with partner stakeholders across multiple sectors who all powerfully believe, as we do, in the exciting future that lies ahead for Detroit”.


David J. Tulauskas

Director, Sustainability

General Motors Company


“Thank you for meeting with GM and extending an invitation to the #DetroitRising Summit.  I’m pleased to inform you that representatives from GM will be participating in the #DetroitRising Summit.”


Brian Willson

Director, Solution Sales and Interim General Manager, Microsoft’s Heartland District covering MI, OH, KY and TN.


“Solving Detroit’s social and environmental problems requires us to come together and collaborate in new ways. The summit will provide a starting point for all sectors of society to discuss and brainstorm solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing Detroit’s communities.”

Greeningdetroit.com is Media Sponsor for the event and welcomes other Media houses to join in collaboration.

Also On The Michigan Chronicle:
Women of Excellence 2018!
100 photos
comments – add yours