by Liz Essley Whyte
February 03, 2014
The current mobilization of private money that keeps Detroit breathing on life support is remarkable in scope. Between 2007 and 2011, area foundations like Hudson-Webber, Skillman, Kresge, W. K. Kellogg, and others poured at least $628 million into Detroit. The Ford, Charles Stewart Mott, and John S. and James L. Knight foundations have also directed more resources to the city in the last few years. Are donors giving differently than during Detroit’s decades-long spiral into dysfunction? With the sobering realities of Detroit’s social and economic bankruptcy, even the “progressive” foundations are dabbling in programs not normally associated with the left: bits of school choice, enhanced law enforcement, a friendlier business climate, private solutions to public problems. Today, private donors are keeping the city’s bones from crumbling. Whether they can help lead a resurrection is still uncertain.