News from the Office of Metropolitan Impact: Metro Detroit Nature Network, seed grants, Concert of Colors


OMI announces seed grant recipients, recaps Urban Bird Treaty signing and Concert of Colors.

Public Allies Metro Detroit
Public Allies Metro Detroit
Public Allies volunteering at the Concert of Colors on Sunday, July 16, 2017.

Metro Detroit Nature Network

On May 22, 2017, the Metro Detroit Nature Network (MDN2) announced the signing of Detroit’s Urban Bird Treaty. This marks Detroit becoming the 29th city in the nation to create an Urban Bird Treaty, a program run by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The event was attended by representatives from local and Washington D.C. offices of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Detroit Audubon, Detroit Zoological Society, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and other members of MDN2. As a founding member of MDN2, the Office of Metropolitan Impact provides logistical support to the network, which has expanded to include 23 member organizations from across metropolitan Detroit, including land conservancies, government agencies, universities and nonprofit organizations. The vision of the network is that all people in the metropolitan Detroit region have access to and actively steward nature and promote ecosystem sustainability. Soon, the network expects to recruit corporate partners as its membership continues to grow.

For more information on the Urban Bird Treaty program, see:

Read more about the signing in this article in Trenton Trib.

Seed Grants

The Office of Metropolitan Impact is excited to announce this year’s seed grant recipients! Congratulations to the following:

  • Hani Bawardi, associate professor of history, will continue his work on the construction of a documentary based on oral histories of Arab Americans.
  • Joshua Akers, assistant professor of social sciences, will continue and expand his work on Property in Practice, a public portal mapping speculative property ownership.
  • Danielle DeFauw, assistant professor of education, is working with Bennett Elementary School on a library project, helping to restock the school library with appropriate and engaging literature.
  • Paul Draus, professor of sociology and anthropology, will work on a project that focuses on violence prevention by comparing street outreach programs in two Michigan cities
  • Julie Taylor, professor of education, is working with a mobile museum to explore its role in community-based history.

Youth Work

The Office of Metropolitan Impact (OMI) serves as a host site for the Grow Detroit's Young Talent (GDYT) summer internship program. GDYT is a citywide summer jobs program that trains and employs young adults between the ages of 14 and 24 for six weeks in July and August. The Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC) and City Connect Detroit have partnered to employ 8,000 youth this summer in the Detroit metropolitan area. As part of this program, OMI currently hosts two interns who are assisting with projects on youth engagement that OMI is spearheading on Detroit’s east side. Additionally, OMI is involved in coordinating professional development workshops for GDYT interns at the Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO) location in Detroit over the course of the six-week program.

Concert of Colors

Thank you to all who volunteered at the 25th annual Concert of Colors! OMI coordinated volunteer efforts on Saturday and Sunday, July 15-16, at the Max M. Fisher Music Center. With the help of students, staff and faculty, community friends, and special help from Public Allies Metro Detroit Allies and Scholars, the volunteer effort was hugely successful in supporting the popular annual world music festival.

Public Allies Metro Detroit

Public Allies just completed their annual year-end retreat at the Howell Nature Center. Camp is a time for the Allies to discuss their progress, connect with nature, engage in team building and reflect on their 10 months of service to a local nonprofit organization in a relaxing and rejuvenating atmosphere. Public Allies is now recruiting for its 10-month flagship AmeriCorp program, which places homegrown young leaders in stipended nonprofit capacity-building positions and provides them with leadership development coaching! For more information about the program, please see: In addition to recruiting Allies, staff are also recruiting for nonprofit agencies to host the Allies during their 10 months of service.

If you know someone who would be a good fit for this leadership program, especially an individual between the ages of 17 and 24 who is not currently working or in college, please contact Markyshia Smith at 313-670-0124 or email her at

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