Gilbert Family Foundation Announces Hiring Darnell Adams as Director of Detroit Community Initiatives

The Gilbert Family Foundation today announced the hiring of Darnell Adams as its Director of Detroit Community Initiatives.

Adams will oversee the organization’s Detroit-based community programming as part of its “Building Opportunity and Equity” pillar.

A months-long national search and competitive interview process resulted in the hiring of Adams, who brings more than 10 years of strategic planning, project management, community development and relationship management experience in Detroit to his new role. Most recently, Adams served as Vice President for Program Implementation at Invest Detroit, and previously served as the Director of Inventory for the Detroit Land Bank Authority.


As Director of Detroit Community Initiatives, Adams will oversee the deployment of $350 million in philanthropic investments, which is directly tied to the ten-year, $500 million joint commitment between the Gilbert Family Foundation and Rocket Community Fund announced by Dan and Jennifer Gilbert this past March.


“Dan and I are honored to welcome Darnell to the Gilbert Family Foundation team. His experience, talents and dedication to Detroit will lead to unprecedented impacts across our community,” said Jennifer Gilbert, entrepreneur and co-founder of the Gilbert Family Foundation. “Darnell leads by always asking questions first. His curiosity and empathy allow him to bridge gaps and connect residents to the resources they need, build community and grow access to equity and opportunity.”

Darnell will serve under Laura Grannemann, the Interim Executive Director of the Gilbert Family Foundation and Vice President of the Rocket Community Fund. He will continue the work and strategy developed through dozens of neighborhood listening sessions and meetings with stakeholders and partners.


“I am grateful for the trust placed in me by Dan and Jennifer Gilbert. Having the opportunity to work hand in hand with Detroiters – to be intentional, thoughtful and inclusive with the right partners and resources – has been a dream for me since I was a kid,” said Adams. “Detroit is full of talented organizations and individuals that have been doing incredible work to keep this great city moving during its hardest times. I look forward to building upon the Foundation’s relationships with those partners to scale up their impact.”


In addition to his role with the Gilbert Family Foundation, Adams will continue serving as a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Detroit and will maintain his membership on numerous Community Development Organization boards across the east side of Detroit.


Detroit Tax Relief Fund Update


The Detroit Tax Relief Fund, established by the Gilbert Family Foundation to eliminate the property taxes owed by an estimated 20,000 low-income homeowners who are eligible for the City’s Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program (HPTAP), has already paid off the back property tax debt for 1,600 Detroiters.


The Fund, administered by Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, aims to preserve an estimated $400 million in wealth and home equity in Detroit, as well as allow homeowners to achieve financial independence and utilize the money saved to address home repairs, bills and other financial needs.


“We are encouraged by the progress we have already made through the Detroit Tax Relief Fund in paying off the property tax burden of 1,600 Detroiters, unlocking equity and opportunity for them and their families,” said Louis Piszker, CEO of Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency. “While the tax foreclosure moratorium was a critical need amidst the ongoing pandemic, our concern was that it would reduce the urgency amongst homeowners in enrolling in this program. We are grateful that has not been the case.”


An additional 3,250 homeowners are in the pipeline to have their back property tax burden addressed by the Detroit Tax Relief Fund. This cohort should see their taxes paid in full by the end of the year.


An additional 5,000 Detroit residents who called the Detroit Tax Relief Fund hotline have been referred for a property tax exemption through HPTAP.


If you are a Detroit homeowner struggling with your property taxes, you may be eligible for the Detroit Tax Relief Fund. Please call (313)244-0274 to learn more, or visit the Wayne Metro Property Tax Assistance page.



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