UpNext is an editorial series highlighting eight burgeoning business and real estate developers in the city. Presented by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the series highlights Detroit professionals who are leaders, innovators, and influencers in their industry and community. This week’s UpNext professional is LaTrice McClendon.
LaTrice McClendon, a native Detroiter, has always cared for her community. After initially being employed as a District Manager for Detroit under Mayor Mike Duggan, she now serves as Senior Vice President and Director of Community Relations for TCF Bank.
“I’ve always had a passion for community and helping people who need support and advocacy,” said McClendon.
After gaining professional and educational experience away from Michigan, she returned to the Great Lakes State, initially outside the city limits.
“I had never lived outside of Detroit. I ended up moving to Canton, and it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t stay in the suburbs. I’m a city girl. I love Detroit,” said McClendon, a proud Cass Tech graduate. “I wanted to be back in my community. With what I do now, this was really an opportunity for me to double down in the community.”
As part of her current role, McClendon oversees the TCF Foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations through volunteerism, and charitable sponsorships through grants. In 2019, the TCF Foundation contributed $1.9 million to more than 700 charitable partners and an additional $831,000 in team member matching gifts.
Additionally, TCF has made a $5 million commitment to the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood through Detroit’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund and a partnership with the mayor’s office for the Affordable Housing Leverage Fund.
“TCF Bank is a strategic neighborhood partner to Grandmont Rosedale, which was the same community I served when I worked for the mayor’s office,” said McClendon. “I had a chance to bring additional resources from the corporate perspective and help bridge the gap between neighborhoods and corporations.”
A big part of bridging that gap includes investing in education. McClendon supported TCF Chairman Gary Torgow to facilitate a STEM lab for Cooke Elementary School. And for the past six years, TCF has partnered with the Michigan Chronicle for the Students Wired for Achievement and Greatness (S.W.A.G.) Scholarship Awards and handed out $500,000 in scholarships to Detroit students.
“I’ve had the privilege to lead a lot of those initiatives,” McClendon said. “It’s absolutely amazing. This is an opportunity that I am so fortunate to have. There is never a time in my career that I don’t want to serve my community. This is a lifelong passion.”
McClendon attributes much of her success to working well with others and said teamwork is needed in Detroit.
“Without partnerships and collaboration, we’re not going to be our best city. We have to work together as residents to continue to voice what it is that we want to see in our neighborhoods, in our communities, in our business districts, and we have to advocate for ourselves for equity.”
For her, working together requires representation from all demographics.
“It’s going to take every single sector in the city to help get us to the next level…The real thing is that young people are going to have to talk to old people, Black people have to talk to White people. There’s going to have to be collaboration across all sectors. No sector is exempt. We need everyone who has a role in the community to participate.”
Moving forward, McClendon wants Detroit to continue attracting organizations that want to do business and hire Detroiters. She sees so much talent here and recognizes many people who have great perspectives, great education, and are ready to serve in various roles. She hopes her work continues to create opportunities.
“My goal is to continue to funnel resources to communities we live in and care about.