Cody Rouge Residents Present Comprehensive Community Plan, Detroit Philanthropic and Business Community Announce Support and Investment

DTE Energy, General Motors, Quicken Loans and the Skillman Foundation team up for first time in coordinated philanthropic effort to support community plan 

DETROIT, MI -- Residents of Cody Rouge gathered today for an unveiling of a comprehensive plan to transform their west-side community into a premiere Detroit neighborhood. Leadership from DTE Energy, General Motors, Quicken Loans and the Skillman Foundation joined the meeting, announcing a coordinated partnership to support the residents’ plan.  

Cody Rouge Launch

L to R: Jerry Norcia of DTE, Bill Emerson of Quicken Loans, Kenyetta Campbell of Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance, Heidi Magyar of GM, and Tonya Allen of the Skillman Foundation

The visioning plan was the result of an eight-month process in which residents expressed their wants and ideas through a series of community meetings, focus groups and surveys. The plan synthesized this input into priorities areas: neighborhood stabilization, safety, land use, strengthened commercial corridors, support for community groups, and expanded opportunities for youth. The resident-driven plan was assembled under the guidance of the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance and Community Development Advocates of Detroit.  

“As a lifetime resident of Cody Rouge and someone who has worked alongside fellow residents planning and implementing our goals for this community over the past 10 years, it’s clear to me that our neighborhood is on the cusp of transformation,” said Kenyetta Campbell, executive director of the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance. “We are turning Cody Rouge into a place people are proud to call home, where children are encouraged to bloom where they are planted.”  

The corporate and philanthropic organizations present at today’s community meeting all have a history of support in the Cody Rouge neighborhood, but the announcement of their partnership is significant as it is a pledge to work collectively and collaborative toward a shared, resident-led vision.  

DTE Energy, together with the DTE Energy Foundation, is funding programs that support many of the residents’ priorities, particularly in the areas of workforce development and education. The DTE Energy Foundation committed to funding 160 positions with Greening of Detroit, an organization that helps its participants gain credentials necessary to work in landscaping positions. Fifteen men from the Cody Rouge neighborhood have begun DTE Energy’s 16-week STAR program, which develops skills necessary to find work in masonry, carpentry, plumbing and painting. The company is also working to prepare youth to enter the workforce. The Foundation and the company are together funding more than 500 Grow Detroit’s Young Talent positions. DTE Energy has also recruited 25 students from Cody High School to intern for the company. Additionally, the company is planting 100 trees in the neighborhood to enhance the landscape and the Foundation funded 1,000 carbon monoxide detectors to help keep families safe.  

General Motors has invested time, talent and funds to help revitalize Cody Rouge since 2013. It has hired over 50 Cody High students as paid summer interns through its Student Corps mentoring and community service program. During two week-long clean-up initiatives in 2014 and 2016, over 5,000 teamGM Cares employee volunteers boarded up 624 abandoned homes and renovated schools, athletic fields and parks. Employees have engaged in numerous other volunteer and mentoring activities, as well. This year’s week-long volunteer event runs July 24-28. Approximately 3,500 GM employees will participate, and GM will debut a STEAM camp for K-5 students at the event. In response to the community’s plan, GM will continue its focus on youth outcomes, including literacy, attendance, and college and career readiness.  

Quicken Loans’ funding and support is based on its philanthropic pillars of neighborhood stabilization and increasing opportunity for all. In total, the company’s education programs will impact 5,000 Detroit Public Schools students this year. The Network, a program providing career and college readiness mentorship to 10th graders, has already begun working with Cody students. Building off the company’s experience through its Rehabbed and Ready program, another area of focus will be on the redevelopment of vacant homes and long-term plans to prevent tax foreclosure, as well as the revitalization of Stein Park. Rocket Fiber, a company created by a former Quicken Loans technology team member, is bringing gigabit Internet to Don Bosco Hall, which will provide the community with access to bandwidth speeds 1,000x faster than an average residential connection. Throughout just this summer, more than 750 Quicken Loans volunteers will support these efforts.  

Continuing its longtime support of the Cody Rouge community, the Skillman Foundation aims to boost youth outcomes by strengthening educational and economic opportunities. Efforts include enacting an improvement strategy for Cody Rouge schools in partnership with the Detroit Public Schools Community District, and supporting programs to boost third-grade reading and eighth-grade math proficiency, along with General Motors. The Foundation is also investing in college and career training. Support includes funding for career-technical education program Linked Learning, and financial empowerment program Hope Inside, both of which recently launched in the Cody High School campus. 

Additionally, all partners support Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, connecting Detroit youth ages 14-24 with meaningful summer employment.  

“We aren’t here to ‘save’ a community or to reinvent it,” said Tonya Allen, president & CEO of the Skillman Foundation. “Residents know better than anyone else what the challenges and opportunities are for their community. It is our privilege to stand by their side, each contributing our strengths and abilities to help make their vision a reality.”