Partnership for Resilient Communities

Seventy miles from Flint, in Detroit's Chandler Park neighborhood, flooding, molding and sewage backups are all too common – similar to Flint, the burden of neglected water infrastructure falls heaviest on the city's most vulnerable residents.

ISC is working with local partner The Eastside Community Network to give residents the power to take matters into their own hands by installing green infrastructure in their neighborhood – increasing livability, economic viability and decreasing exorbitant water bills. #WorldWaterDay…/partnership-resilient-communities/


ProsperUS Detroit Graduates

On Tuesday February 14th at Eastside Community Network HQ graduated our 2nd cohort of ProsperUS Detroit entrepreneurs.  

ProsperUS Detroit is an entrepreneurial training and small business lending program for Detroit residents designed to empower low and moderate income, immigrant and minority individuals and neighborhoods.  By helping emerging entrepreneurs develop successful businesses, ProsperUS will help strengthen neighborhood economies, create jobs, serve residents with new goods and services, and cultivate community-based leadership.

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Marilyn Barber - Queen's Greens Seasoning, LLC
Kamesha McDaniel - The Detroit Green Carrot
Stacey Coleman - Moisture Mobile Day Spa
DeQuentin Jones
Robert Williams - Do You Right Auto, LLC
Myron McQuitty - Direct Marketing
Robert Lee Muhammad - Original Man Bean Pie
Shavaughn Joyce - Tapas Soul Cafe

Tiara Copeland - Get It Done, LLC


A few weeks ago we got together with FCA and staff and volunteers of ECN to celebrate MLK Day with a day on and not a day off.  Our service for the day was giving our newly named Teen Center The Vault a makeover with a little paint.  The Vault is our new initiative to give teens in the area a safe place to come and be teens without any distractions.  We went with the name The Vault, because that is where you store your precious jewels and we believe our teens are that valuable. If you would like to donate to the center you can do so through:

Special Thanks to FCA and Michigan Community Service Commission

Meet our Challenge Detroit Fellow : Sharde' Fleming

Sharde' is a Detroit Native. She graduated from Renaissance High School c/o '10. She went away to Washington DC to attend Howard University c/o  '13 and obtain a: B.A. History and B.A. Political Science. Education is very important thing to Sharde', she is currently pursing a Masters of Urban Planning at Wayne State University. By day she works miracles at ECN as the Green Growth Coordinator.

After college what brought you back to Detroit?

Family, most specifically my ailing grandmother brought me back to Detroit. But it was not a hard fight, I knew I wanted to work in community development and eventually become an urban planner so Detroit was ideal. Everywhere you turned Detroit was in the news for one thing or another and I knew I wanted to help frame that dialogue. I understood that Detroit was again a focal point of the world so I wanted to make sure, in some form or fashion I was able to have an impact on what the world would see.


What is Challenge Detroit?

Challenge Detroit is a leadership and professional development program that invites approximately 30 of tomorrow’s leaders to live, work, play, give, and lead in and around the greater Detroit area for one year. During the course of the year, Fellows contribute intellectually and through hands-on service making incremental impact in the community. Learning by doing is a cornerstone of the program and the Fellows have the courage, passion, and drive to make a difference.


What made you choose to stay with ECN during your fellowship?


When I decided to apply for Challenge Detroit I was excited about the opportunity but I had just really began my quest with ECN and it was too early too walk away. Though Challenge Detroit partners with dozens of companies none of them are unique as ECN so my decision to stay was not hard. I wanted to do urban planning while being hands on in the community and ECN offered both and more. 

ECN Community Spotlight: Craft Cafe Detroit

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Meet: Candice Meeks, 31, born and raised on the Eastside of Detroit on Balfour and Mack. she currently resides in East English Village. She attended  Peace Lutheran School for preschool and kindergarten, Bethany Lutheran from 1st to 8th, graduated from King High school in 2003, obtained her bachelors in Integrated Studies (Human Resources/ Business/ Communication) from Oakland University in 2008 and continued her education by getting a Masters of Science Administration in Human Resources from Central Michigan University in 2011. Currently she works in the mental health field as an Employment Specialist. 


Business Name: The Craft Cafe Detroit



Why did you choose to open your business on the Eastside of Detroit? 

I wanted to turn my passion into profit and bring a fun, interactive event venue to the neighborhood I grew up in, the lower Eastside of Detroit.


Would you mind sharing a story about ProsperUS since you are a recent graduate: 

I learned so many different marketing techniques, effective apps to use to help run my business smoothly, and met my current landlord by participating in the ProsperUS program.  


What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

NETWORK NETWORK NETWORK! You never know who you will meet that will help you in business. Take advantage of the entrepreneurship programs that are being offered around the city, be open to constructive criticism, get you a strong team (lawyer, insurance agent, accountant) and never stop learning.


Describe in five words what the Eastside of Detroit means to you:

"Innovative, Artistic place for entrepreneurs"

Annual Letter from the President & CEO

Dear Partners and Neighbors of Eastside Community Network,

I am honored to return to Eastside Community Network and humbled to succeed Maggie DeSantis as President and CEO. Much has changed in the almost 20 years between my service as Deputy Director for Programs at Warren/Connor Development Coalition and my current appointment. Parts of the lower eastside are challenged by vacancy, blight and divestment, even as others are experiencing a resurgence beyond anything we dared imagine in 1997.

Detroit's riverfront is beautiful and vibrant, Belle Isle is restored as a shining gem in our community, new housing and retail space has been developed in pockets of our community, including the Jefferson Corridor and West Village.

Over the years Eastside Community Network has been a key partner to community development initiatives, including sponsorship of impactful programs and organizations, new retail centers, new parks, new green developments and new seed funding for resident-based projects. We are proud to have sponsored creation of the Mack-Alter Square and development of the Wow! Gas station; to partner in the development of Mack-Ashland multi-family housing; to catalyze the development of the Chandler Park Conservancy, which will create a state-of-the-art park right in our community. We are most proud of our investment in forming a Lower Eastside Action Plan that convened community partners to reimagine and influence reclamation and reuse of abundant parcels of vacant land and provide a cohesive vision for community growth and development. 

YES, we support strengthening the availability of quality, affordable housing and YES, we support vibrant commercial retail in our communities. But YES, we also believe in the power and value green re-development - of removing broken buildings and replacing them with pocket parks, flower gardens, urban farms, agri-businesses, and well-landscaped greenways. YES, we support new businesses locating in our community. YES, we support the power of the people on the lower eastside to control their own land and develop their lots. And we advocate to ensure local benefits from any new development, including hiring of local residents, using environmental and design best practices, and ensuring affordability within local markets.

As President and CEO of ECN, I commit to continuing the work of Maggie DeSantis and our many community partners; to be a voice for Eastside residents, ensuring that our principles of practice, the goals and objectives of our LEAP plan, and the needs of our resident, business and institutional stakeholders are both honored and respected. I also commit to ensuring that the changes we envision for our broader community are reflected in all that we do with our youth, our families, and our seniors - creating healthier homes, enhanced access to community resources, increased opportunities for jobs and new business development, and greater access to resources that encourage college and career success.

I look forward to working with you. We are stronger together.


Yours in Partnership,

Donna Givens Williams