A Message from the President

by Donna Givens

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Good News! Eastside Community Network (ECN) updated our mission in 2017. We develop people, places and plans for sustainable neighborhood growth on Detroit's Lower Eastside. Sustainability is central to our purpose and process for neighborhood change. Beyond a buzzword, what does it really mean? Sustainable development means that we develop and manage our resources for the betterment of ALL in our community, both now and in the future.

We manage our built resources - our houses and schools and churches and commercial buildings - to protect against neglect, abandonment, decay and decline; against arson, stripping and vandalism - so that these buildings serve the people currently living in our community and so that they serve our children, grandchildren and great grand children. We fight tax foreclosures, we promote investment in home owner repairs, we encourage repurposing and reusing vacant buildings, and we help people to stay or transfer ownership to responsible new users.

We manage our natural resources - our land and air and water - to promote continued affordability; to protect against contamination and waste; to renew for productive use; and to promote positive social, physical and economic outcomes. We recycle our waste and promote recycling to friends and neighbors. We educate our neighbors about water and promote conservation. We plan and install green stormwater infrastructure for productive re-use of vacant land. We support urban agriculture agriculture and solar energy and support partners working to stop toxic emissions from incinerators and industrial plants. 

Most importantly, we support human resources - our people - the lifeblood of our community to promote quality living standards for all. Housing is a human right. Water is a human right. Food is a human right. Education is a human right. We join with partners in social justice to reduce barriers to accessing these human rights. We work directly with both youth and adults at ensuring access to opportunity, access to wealth, and the building of a Beloved community right here on the Lower Eastside.

The United Nations defines community development as: "a process where community members come together to take a collective action and generate solutions to common problems." Now and in the past, this is the work of the Eastside Community Network - we bring people together; we take collective action and we generate solutions to the challenges of maintaining a just community, by developing our people, our places, and plans for sustainable growth.

Yours in Partnership

Donna L. Givens
President & CEO

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