New Detroit Names Michael Rafferty as its new President and CEO

New Detroit, Inc. announced today that its board has named Michael Rafferty as its new president and CEO. He succeeds Shirley Stancato who held the position for the past 18 years.


Rafferty brings more than 20 years of career experience, much of which has been in the non-profit industry, to the role. He has particular expertise in community economic development and public policy.  In his last post, as vice president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), Rafferty led the organization’s small business portfolio, best known for its Motor City Match and Restore programs, which provide funding and resources to Detroit entrepreneurs.


“Mike brings a depth of experience and vitality to steward New Detroit as we implement a new strategic plan to impact racial equity,” said Rachel Tronstein Stewart, New Detroit’s board chair.  “His experience managing major programs in collaboration with government entities, community groups, and residents throughout metropolitan Detroit will prove incredibly valuable as we build a broad coalition to advance race relations in our region.”


While at the DEGC, Rafferty was recognized for growing the small business practice to a 25-person team that implemented a robust portfolio of small business and entrepreneurship economic development programs.  His efforts helped to open more than 50 small business in Detroit in three years, with a pipeline of 150 business set to open in the next several years.


“Mike has done great work during his time at the DEGC to help grow the number of minority-owned small business’ in Detroit through programs like Motor City Match,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “I know that he will use his new role as CEO of New Detroit to expand on the work he already has done to bring greater economic equity to our city. The board of New Detroit made a great choice.”


Prior to his role at the DEGC, Rafferty led the Michigan Nonprofit Association’s Metro Detroit office focusing on policy and overall technical support for nonprofits within nine counties. Rafferty also worked in economic development at Wayne County, as a program officer for the Local Initiates Support Corporation (LISC) in Detroit and as a policy analyst for the Detroit City Council.


“As I have worked to bolster the economic growth throughout the region, I identified that racial inequities and cultural segregation was a common barrier to continued advancement,” said Rafferty. “As CEO of New Detroit, I have an opportunity to build on the organization’s legacy to address these systemic inequities at their core to help create a better outcome for our region’s people and places.”

Rafferty will begin at New Detroit on May 20 and will be acknowledged at the organization’s “Closing the Gap” awards dinner on May 1 at Cobo Center.


New Detroit, Inc. was founded on Aug. 10, 1967, when, acting on the request of Governor George W. Romney and Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, Joseph L. Hudson, Jr., convened 39 leaders, black and white, from all segments of the Detroit community.  Their charge was to determine the root causes of the rebellion that had just occurred and to establish what could be done to ensure that it never happens again.  Out of those deliberations came New Detroit, Inc.


In the ensuing years, New Detroit has been at the forefront of efforts to bridge the gap caused by Southeast Michigan’s most intractable problem – race. Through the years, New Detroit has had numerous  specific initiatives designed  to chip away at this region’s racial divide in one way or another They include: A financial literacy initiative for youth in the Detroit Public Schools; a multicultural leadership series to educate leaders about the history, culture, and socio-economic issues of communities of color;  annual summer business camps to introduce high school students to entrepreneurship and business principles; and programs to help community organizations build their capacity to serve.


About New Detroit, Inc. 

New Detroit, Inc. is a racial justice organization comprised of leaders from civil rights and advocacy organizations, human services, health and community organizations, business, labor, foundations, education, media and clergy.  It provides a unique and valuable arena where leaders of these groups and organizations come together to plan cooperative strategies to address the issue of race and its many manifestations.  The coalition works as a catalyst to impact the actions of individuals and institutions by serving in a number of roles: advocate, convener, and facilitator.

It is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organization.  New Detroit’s mission statement: “New Detroit is a coalition of leaders working to achieve racial understanding and racial equity in Metropolitan Detroit.”


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