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PAB Make Site Visit to Organizations Serving People in Need in Detroit

August 8, 2016, Detroit, Michigan – Many people might write off Detroit as a “lost cause” because of the well-known poverty and violence afflicting this town. However, Lura Mack and Kristine Cooper, director and executive assistant, respectively, of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), spent a day visiting a variety of organizations that have made a difference for the individuals and communities in this troubled city.

For more than 40 years, the PAB has helped the Adrian Congregation to use its financial assets to further the values of the Gospel in the economic realm, through the wings of corporate responsibility and community investment. During a recent tour of Detroit hosted by IFF Detroit. The PAB has granted low-interest loans to IFF Detroit for its work, in turn, in lending to organizations that “create opportunities for low-income communities and people with disabilities.”

During the tour, Lura and Kris visited three organizations that have received low-interest loans from IFF Detroit:

  • The Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHCD), begun in 1979 by Angela Reyes in response to the violence in her community, serves more than 5,000 low-income people. DHCD’s first initiative was the Gang Retirement and Continuing Education and Employment Program (GRACE),which helps gang members to turn their lives around and work in local Hispanic-owned manufacturing companies.  The organization also provides bilingual support, child care support, community organization, and advocacy to bring about a change in policies that affect the people in the local community. Through a loan from IFF, the organization was able to refinance its existing debts.

  • Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation (CDC), founded in 1994 by six local churches, provides people in the community with positive opportunities through education, employment, and economic development. The CDC purchased 11 businesses and now operates eight of them to create jobs and provide needed goods and services. A loan from IFF helped to cover renovation costs for a vacant church that now serves as CDC’s home.

  • Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym (DBG) Youth Program, founded in 2007 by Carlo Sweeney, helps urban boys and girls to develop good citizenship through a “demanding boxing program, strong academic support, and volunteer work.” Children in the program – ages seven to 18 – receive tutoring, mentoring, physical training, transportation, and a daily meal and, in turn are required to continue improving their academic performance. The loan from IFF allowed DBG to renovate a vacant building to provide services to more youth. 

“The trip reminded me of the ‘bus trips’ the Adrian Dominican Sisters used to provide when they first began doing this work as a way to educate the members about where their dollars were being invested in the community,” Lura said. “What a great experience and inspiration to see first-hand how the investment dollars are being used to benefit these organizations as they provide creative opportunities and hope to individuals.”

 

Lura Mack (third from left) and Kris Cooper (fourth from left) with staff members from the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation.

 

 

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