Bishop Edgar Vann Launches Non-Profit to Address Equity in Detroit

“I always call myself ‘a preacher comma, and not a preacher, period.’”

Bishop Edgar Vann, a renowned faith leader, but one who has also been involved in year-long civic and corporate work. He is launching, Detroit Equity Inc., a non-profit hoping to bridge the community and corporate world and ultimately connecting more Detroiters to opportunities.

“It is really a passion of mine to see Detroiters included,” Bishop Edgar Vann, Detroit Equity Inc.’s founder and CEO. “Detroiters should be a part of the prosperity of the city as the city continues to grow and thrive.”

Bishop Edgar L. Vann developed Detroit Equity Inc. (DEI) with the intention of working with nonprofit, community, and corporate leaders to change the reality of Black Detroiters in the labor force being nearly four times as likely to be unemployed as their White counterparts.

“At a time when the very humanity of communities of color appears to be under attack, it is more important than ever for us to stand up locally for equity, inclusion and opportunities,” Bishop Vann, said. “We must work together to ensure prosperity is within everyone’s reach and Detroit Equity Inc. looks forward to joining a community of organizations in Detroit committed to making equity a reality.”

Bishop Edgar Vann has been a renowned interfaith, corporate, and civic leader in the City of Detroit for more than 45 years. Vann founded Vanguard Community Development which has led to $63 Million of housing and commercial development in Detroit. He has served the City of Detroit as a member of the Detroit Police Commission, Human Rights Commission, and the State of Michigan Civil Rights Commission. He continues to serve on the Executive Committee of the Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Board of Directors of Henry Ford Health System.

Detroit Equity Ince looks to be a resource for companies and organizations in areas of increasing the number of Detroiters and People of Color represented in Detroit’s workforce, connecting Detroit-based and minority-owned Business to procurement and suppliers, and creating a pipeline for executive leadership and board positions for Detroiters.

Following years of determination, planning and support, Bishop Edgar Vann tapped Attorney Bertram Marks, a former Civil Rights Commissioner, as Co-Founder and General Counsel to aid in transforming his vision of connecting Detroiters to economic opportunities into Detroit Equity Inc.

“I’m excited because I’ve lived my entire life of service here in Detroit, connecting people, being a liaison to people and to opportunity, so I’m excited to take it to another level,” Bishop Vann added.

The organization is launching with the strong support of founding corporate and civic partners Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Huntington Bank, DTE Energy Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, City of Detroit, Wayne State University and Henry Ford Health System.

Bishop Vann understand diversity, equity, and inclusion has become important now more than ever and hoping companies understand it, too.

“Many of them get it, others would like to get it, and there are still others who don’t know how to get it.”

Bishop Vann is hoping his years of relationship building will foster a pipeline for Detroiters and People of Color will access to opportunity and leadership positions in every space.

“This a true project from the heart that I want to see embedded. If I were to look down the road in five years, I would want to see a new understanding embedded in the culture of Detroit automatically lends itself to equal opportunity for everybody.”


DEI has partnered with Wayne State University’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights to develop a report, funded by the Kresge Foundation, that will examine areas of inequity in Detroit and share proven best practices to provide a road map for our collective efforts moving forward. The findings of the report will be released at a symposium which will also be held at Wayne State University this fall.


“Bishop Vann’s vision of a more equitable Detroit is directly in line with Wayne State University’s mission to positively impact our local community,” said Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson. “We’re proud to add the university’s talent pool and resources to support this worthy initiative in the pursuit of a more inclusive comeback.”


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