Global Detroit expands economic development program to help revitalize Detroit with $500,000 from Knight Foundation

Press Release

September 16, 2014


Larger plan to help retain and attract immigrant talent announced during Welcoming Week

DETROIT—Sept. 16, 2014—Global Detroit will expand its efforts to revitalize Detroit neighborhoods and grow the regional economy through a program that builds on the strengths that immigrants and internationals bring to the city. The expansion is supported by $500,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Related Link

"Global Detroit expands efforts to retain and attract immigrant talent" by Steve Tobocman on Knight Blog

The three-year funding from Knight will broaden the impact of Global Detroit's work in creating a positive environment for newcomers and residents, connecting skilled immigrants and refugees with employment opportunities and fostering international student retention. Global Detroit will help grow the region’s talent pool through programs that offer lending and support and that help people start new businesses and integrate better into the community. The funds will also support the organization’s cultural ambassadors program, as well as an evaluation to examine the impact of initiatives that Global Detroit has launched with partner organizations, so that lessons from those efforts can spread.

Announcement of the funding was made during Welcoming Week, an initiative of Welcoming America that works with local governments to create immigrant-friendly environments. Detroit was officially recognized at the event as a “Welcoming City” as part of the organizations Welcoming Cities and Counties program.

“Knight Foundation support comes at an incredible time in tackling our long-term vision,” said Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit director. “Beginning with Governor Snyder’s launch of the Michigan Office for New Americans, the approval of a state-sponsored regional investor center to champion foreign investment and job growth, the creation of a Detroit office for Upwardly Global and this week’s announcement by the city of Detroit recognizing Detroit as a “Welcoming City”, Knight’s support has been a critical component of accomplishing these 2014 Global Detroit milestones.”

“Detroit has a great community of young, motivated talent from around the world who are key players in the growth of the city,” said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director in Detroit. “Global Detroit’s work in helping immigrants better integrate with the community and connecting the region to international talent opportunities is both ambitious and innovative; it promises to benefit all Detroiters into the future.”

In 2010 Global Detroit completed a study of immigrants and their impact on Metro Detroit’s economy. Since that time Global Detroit has served as the chief architect, convener and coordinator of a regional immigrant-focused economic development and urban revitalization strategy.

Support for these projects forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts in Detroit to accelerate talent and advance opportunity. Knight Foundation has also invested $15 million in the New Economy Initiative to promote economic activity in Detroit. Since 2008 Knight has pledged more than $50 million to Detroit, including a $19.25 investment in the arts announced in October 2012.

About Global Detroit

Global Detroit’s mission is to make the region welcoming to the international community and immigrants; attract international investment and businesses that create jobs; strengthen, grow, and revitalize neighborhoods in the city of Detroit and in the region’s core communities; as well as to attract and retain international talent in the region. For more, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

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Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit, 313-516-9681, [email protected]

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]