After recruiting candidates, reviewing applications and hosting interviews, Challenge Detroit has selected 29 Fellows for our fourth year to live, work, place, give and lead in Detroit. We are excited for the leadership, talent and enthusiasm this class brings to our city!
Challenge Detroit is a nonprofit social impact program that provides next-generation leaders the opportunity for employment with Detroit area companies, coupled with the chance to consult with area nonprofits each week. Some of the companies Fellows will be employed with include Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors and the Detroit Lions. This intellectual giving model has spurred interest in the Detroit area, helping our program attract thousands of applicants and bringing $3 million in economic development to the Detroit area. Our Fellows have contributed intellectual services of more than $500,000 to nonprofit partners over the last three years. We are looking forward to continuing these endeavors to tackle some big challenges facing the region! A few of our nonprofit partners include RecoveryPark, United Way of Southeastern Michigan, Beaumont Health Systems and 8 Mile Boulevard Association.
Our Fellows for this upcoming year come from all over the country – California, New York, Virginia, New Jersey, Illinois and of course, Detroit and surrounding region. The 2015 – 2016 class of Fellows will bring the program total to nearly 130 individuals who have participated in Challenge Detroit. Taylor Blackston is one our Fellows joining Challenge Detroit this year, and as a Detroit native she hopes to bring her perspective from growing up in the city to the program and the area nonprofit initiatives.
“I was drawn to the Challenge Detroit fellowship because this program provides exactly what I want, which is the opportunity to gain skills and experience in my field while also making community building and service a significant priority,” Taylor told us. “Although I entertained making the popular big cities my home after graduating from UPenn in May, the excitement and growth happening here in Detroit combined with the chance to jump right into it all with a Challenge Detroit fellowship convinced me to come back to my hometown. I hope to utilize every aspect of this fellowship to unravel all the ways I can be of service to this great city.”
We continue to develop a network of leaders in Detroit through the Challenge Detroit program. These past and present Fellows are dedicated to putting their talents to work at leading Detroit companies and in service of regional nonprofits. It started out as a social experiment: We wanted to see if we could get people to come to Detroit, involve them in work at great companies, engage them through the cultural offerings the city has to offer and provide them the opportunity to give back, if they would stay. Overwhelmingly, they have stayed, and as the city turns a corner, our Fellows have been integrally connected and are making their mark on the future of Detroit.