Antoine Jackson, executive director, MACC Development, left, sits down in an interview with Digital Anchor Andre Ash in Studio 1452.
Since 2010, members of the Mack Avenue Community Church, (MACC), sought out to be the “hands and feet of the church,” while exemplifying Biblical principles in real-time to serve the spiritual and physical needs of the communities that make up Detroit’s east side 48214 zip code.
MACC Development, a certified 501(c) community development corporation, was birthed through MACC to help revitalize that portion of the city “block by block, neighbor by neighbor.”
MACC Development Executive Director Antoine Jackson visited Real Times Media Studio 1452 recently in an interview with the Michigan Chronicle’s Digital Anchor Andre Ash to discuss the community, revitalization, and development efforts for that area of Detroit.
According to a recent study from small business resource AdvisorSmith, the homeownership rate in Detroit was 71.8%. Inside the MACC Development community, figures are above the city average with 80% of the 48214 community being homeowners.
Jackson said that the bustling, thriving community benefits from the organization’s charitable and helpful ways, which only intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic last year as they gave continuously, and then some, to those in need.
“We are focused on helping support our neighbors with some of their basic needs,” he said, adding that in the middle of COVID, MACC launched their 48214 Care Program, which provides grocery runs, prescriptions help, and financial assistance (including car note payments and mortgage help) to residents. In addition to that, they also do welfare checks on some neighbors. “COVID provided us a lot of opportunities to serve our neighbors and laid bare a lot of the issues that exist in our community.”
Ash asked Jackson what some key issues the MACC has been working on to try to revitalize the area and help residents dealing with the recent rainwaters that have flooded basements, destroyed cars, and more when inches of rain devastated parts of southeast Michigan including Detroit.
“We had a number of residents in the area that called us reaching out for assistance,” Jackson said, adding that many of their basements had flooded. “Many of them had waist-deep water in their basements.”
From helping these neighbors identify a plumber and helping them move the water out of their basements to assisting residents with funds to find remediation solutions – MACC never waivers in their financial and emotional investment in their community, especially when they need it the most. “We’ve had a number of residents … lost their vehicle — their only means of transportation. So, we’ve been trying to work with connecting them with resources.”
He added that the community spirit is as strong as ever and is lived out in recent examples with many residents (whose own basements were flooded) looking beyond their own need to help relieve their neighbors who are suffering from similar flooding issues.
MACC Development has its philanthropic and financially-forward thinking hands elsewhere, too, including the running of The Commons – a neighborhood laundromat and café located at 7900 Mack Ave.
The organization also runs a signature flagship program, MACC LIT Program, designed to work with students in kindergarten through fifth grade in helping them with tutoring and more.
“We know that reading is fundamental and something essential to the success of every child,” Jackson said, adding that the program now offers virtual assistance in partnership with Central Michigan University (CMU). (CMU) came in as a partner to make sure students had adequate tutoring and support.”
MACC Development also hosts mission trips, MACC Missions, a yearlong trip to the 48214 area where individuals learn about the city beyond the headlines, Jackson said. Due to COVID-19, the trips were halted but they are now up and running again.
“We are unique here at MACC Development,” Jackson said about the trips. “We offer opportunities for individuals to come and learn about Detroit from Detroiters.”
He added that people have come from Colorado, Portland, and beyond to learn about the city and its rich history. On a recent trip, attendees even helped some residents clean out their basements to see firsthand the issues “Detroit faces.”
Jackson said that he is doing the Lord’s work – a calling that took prayer and courage.
“One of the craziest things I ever done,” Jackson said smiling, adding that his position was a “leap of faith.” “An opportunity that I believe the Lord placed in front of me.”
Jackson, who has 15 years in nonprofit community development work, said that he was allowed to make an impact in the city he is from– a chance he doesn’t take lightly.
“I am a youth pastor here in the city of Detroit – this isn’t just something I put on my to-do Monday through Friday – but this is really who I am,” Jackson said, adding that MACC Development “fits the posture of his heart” and allows him to help make an economic impact.
“(Each) day is never the same and it is a really great opportunity to serve my community,” he said.
For more information visit https://www.maccdevelopment.com/.