The Detroit Community Wealth Fund – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

The Detroit Community Wealth Fund

I have had the great fortune of working with the Detroit Community Wealth Fund this Summer. Their mission as stated on their website is as follows:

DCWF exists to empower historically marginalized Detroiters, blending education and programming about cooperatives, with non-extractive loans to support democratic and community-based businesses in Detroit.

https://www.detroitcommunitywealth.org/

I have been tasked with handling some of their social media campaigns and as a graphic designer, I’m finding it quite enjoyable to work with these passionate, progress-minded people who bust their tails to try to make sure the people of Detroit have equitable access to the funds needed to make their dreams come true. The DCWF gives funding to cooperative businesses in the city through non-extractive loans, which means they don’t dig into their clients’ financial history or go after their assets if a loan defaults. Their loan repayment terms mean the payments are a percentage of monthly profits and taken after workers are paid. The interest doesn’t compound and the repayment process doesn’t start until the business is breaking even – regardless of how long that takes. DCWF will invest in your business as much as you do and will help with more funding down the line if needed.

Their values include:

  • Providing resources to locally embedded, collective businesses for distributed economic benefit under community control, inherently combating inequality
  • Investing in financially sound and sustainable businesses to protect worker-owner interests and the longevity of our fund, supporting ongoing community economic self-determination
  • Building local wealth while investing in projects with social, economic and environmental benefit
  • Lend to those who have been historically marginalized from capital and provide the TA to overcome the historic lack of access to resources that are prerequisites to successful enterprise, and
  • Ensuring repayment only comes from proļ¬ts they helped create, never extracted from prior assets

The best part of all? The three people behind it are super chill and easy to work with. It’s really my kind of environment and mission!

My DCERP Experience so far!

I’ve also really enjoyed working with the DCERP program (I know that’s redundant!) and seeing all these great minds come together for a greater good. We have talked a lot about where DCERP has been and where we want it to go, and although I’m over a decade older than most of my cohorts, I’m amazed at the amount of maturity and forward thinking in the next generation. Everyone has great ideas and enthusiasm for what we do in DCERP, and passion for the city we’re hoping to improve – or at least bring a bit of light to – with our work. Ray Wang has been a phenomenal director and treats us as colleagues rather than underlings, and I’m really proud of him for all he’s accomplishing with our team.

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