The Detroit Development Fund today announced a plan to extend support to early-stage retail and creative businesses in the city and advance its mission to revitalize economically distressed areas in Detroit with $2.5 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Established in 1996, the Detroit Development Fund has made $37 million in loans, created or retained 1,600 jobs and financed the renovation of 1,400 units of affordable housing.
The Fund have also provided over $500,000 worth of technical assistance to Detroit businesses, contractors and rehabbers.
With the Knight’s funding, the Detroit Development Fund aims to provide more loans and technical assistance to small businesses and real estate developers, with a particular focus on minority and female entrepreneurs.
“We have made great progress over the last several years helping to ignite Detroit’s community of entrepreneurs,” said Ray Waters, president of the Detroit Development Fund. “Knight support allowed us to expand our programs in Detroit and this additional funding will be an important part of our continued growth.”=
The DDF will also use Knight’s investment, along with other support to increase capital and earned income to grow and increase sustainability.
“Creating a strong local pipeline for small business growth in Detroit is vital to its transformation,” said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit. “With more capacity, Detroit Development Fund has the potential to expand economic opportunity in our city and support the people who have the ideas and energy we need to progress and grow.”
Knight originally made the $2.5 million available to the fund as a low-interest loan.
Converting the program-related investment to a grant will strengthen the fund’s balance sheet, allowing it to leverage the support to attract more capital and expand its activities.
Support for the Detroit Development Fund forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts in Detroit to attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement.
Since 2008, Knight has pledged more than $80 million to Detroit, including a $19.25 investment in the arts announced in October 2012.
For more information, visit www.knightfoundation.org.