The Marygrove Conservancy announces a new Community Impact Incubator program

July 29, 2020

Five local organizations chosen as part of a pilot program that will launch in September

Dr. Rita Fields to serve as Executive-in-Residence for incubator program
DETROIT, MICH. – The Marygrove Conservancy today announced its Community Impact Incubator, a new program that will provide capacity building and facilities support to community-based, nonprofit organizations. Built in partnership with Strategic Community Partners (SCP), this program complements the P-20 cradle-to-career educational campus the Conservancy is stewarding on the 53-acre site in Northwest Detroit and advances its mission to identify partnerships that will benefit the neighborhood.

The Marygrove Conservancy and SCP selected five Detroit nonprofit organizations to participate in this pilot phase of the Community Impact Incubator. In addition to office and programming space on the Marygrove campus, the organizations will receive holistic support (including monthly intensive sessions with content experts), technical assistance, access to professional consulting services and opportunities for professional development. The Community Impact Incubator will also have an Executive-in-Residence to help facilitate the program, meet with participating organizations monthly and serve as a mentor for the nonprofit leaders. Dr. Rita Fields will serve as the program’s first Executive-in-Residence.

Each nonprofit leader will participate in a training program tailored specifically to their organization’s mission and the needs of the community it serves. These leaders identified several strategic areas in which they need support; in response, the Conservancy created a curriculum that will provide them with the specific resources and training needed to further scale their services. This tailored approach is intended to strengthen nonprofit leaders of color while also providing key services to communities that may not normally have equitable access to them.

“In the midst of COVID-19, so many small businesses and organizations have been hit hard and are facing economic uncertainty. At the same time, we are experiencing a changing social climate, fighting for greater racial justice and equality. These two different events have really been a catalyst for the Community Impact Incubator,” said Racheal Allen, Chief Operating Officer of the Marygrove Conservancy. “Organizations are at risk of shutting down because they may not be able to afford rental space. The Marygrove Conservancy can provide support by offering space in one of our campus facilities. Beyond that, we can help train more leaders of color and grow the network of offerings for our community.”

The inaugural five organizations selected for the Community Impact Incubator program are:

  • Detroit City Lions Youth Club helps at-risk youth develop healthy bodies and minds. Children aged 3 to 15 can participate in sports programs such as football, soccer, basketball, swim, dance, lacrosse, and more. Detroit City Lions also provides tutoring and mentoring services, STEM programming, leadership development, financial literacy, youth employment, and wraparound services for families.
  • Detroit Phoenix Center is a low-barrier resource center for young people between the ages of 13 and 24 who are experiencing housing insecurity. Homeless and high-risk youth can drop in to take a shower, access laundry services and receive meals or other basic need items. The center also offers career readiness, life skills and educational workshops, as well as a computer lab for schoolwork or job searching.
  • Detroit Youth Choir and Performing Arts Company offers the youth of Detroit a performing arts experience to develop creative skills and talents though music education, dance and theater.
  • JOURNi is dedicated to building an inclusive technology ecosystem in Detroit, equipping individuals with the education and skills to jumpstart their careers and thrive in the local economy. JOURNi provides immersive courses and youth-centered programming in technology and entrepreneurship.
  • Pure Heart Foundation aims to empower and embrace children of incarcerated parents to help break the cycle of generational incarceration. Children enrolled in the Pure Heart program receive access to mental health care and counseling, mentorship, academic support and recreational activities.

Dr. Rita Fields brings to the Executive-in-Residence role nearly two decades of consulting experience in the business, human resource, nonprofit, healthcare and educational sectors. Dr. Fields has served as a professor and currently is a dual CEO of 313 Industries, a contract machining and manufacturing corporation, and Copper Phoenix Consulting, LLC where she offers expertise on talent and operations management. She is also a Marygrove College alumna and earned bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology, as well as a master’s degree in human resource management.

“Our incubator nonprofits have served and led in our city, and beyond, for anywhere from three years to nearly three decades. They have proof points and they have strong track records. Imagine what these nonprofits can accomplish with deep intentional learning, coaching, support and facilities,” said Chanel Hampton, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Community Partners. “Our belief is that we can help them strengthen and scale their impact and, in turn, further flourish our community.”

These five organizations began the onboarding process earlier in July and have started moving into their new facilities on the Marygrove campus. Programming is slated to begin in September to officially kick off the Community Impact Incubator. The pilot program will culminate in June 2021.

The Marygrove Conservancy envisions the campus as a hub serving the children and families of the surrounding Fitzgerald neighborhood. Like-minded organizations and businesses in need of space are invited to become tenants on the Marygrove campus. Information on campus resources and facilities can be found here.

About the Marygrove Conservancy

Established in 2018, the Marygrove Conservancy is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve the legacy of Marygrove College through equitable stewardship of a campus that exemplifies excellence in education, serving Northwest Detroit and the city overall. 

About Strategic Community Partners

Strategic Community Partners (SCP) is a national firm that works with organizations by advising, designing and managing projects (or efforts) and initiatives that advance equity with and for communities. Through partnership with mission-driven organizations, SCP builds capacity by pairing strategy with community and cultural context to drive forward powerful and equitable missions. SCP also operates a community center and the first co-working space in Detroit’s legacy-rich Fitzgerald neighborhood, providing accessible workspace for local nonprofits and community organizations.

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