City of Detroit secures $1 billion in grant revenue since bankruptcy to support residents, businesses & neighborhoods



City of Detroit secures $1 billion in grant revenue since bankruptcy to support residents, businesses & neighborhoods

  • Revitalized Office of Development and Grants has increased outside sources of funds each year, now over $300M for 2019 alone
  • Funds have gone to support wide range of initiatives including violence reduction, small business support, neighborhood reinvestment, improved parks and new buses.
  • Funds have come from more than 500 individual sources


Detroit, MI (December 10, 2019)- As the City of Detroit marks five years since its exit from municipal bankruptcy, a new report issued by its Office of Development and Grants (ODG) shows the City has attracted more than $1 billion in outside funding to support dozens of initiatives that are improving Detroiters’ quality of life.


The report primarily tracks funds secured over the past four years (2016-19). During this period the City reorganized its grants and development efforts under the leadership of Chief Development Officer Ryan Friedrichs.  Since bankruptcy, the amount of funds secured by the City has increased annually, and in 2019 has exceeded $300 million for the first time.   ODG’s work continues to benefit residents: In October, the U.S. Housing of Urban Development (HUD) awarded Detroit its largest award in the nation - $9.7 million – to reduce lead hazards in Southwest Detroit.


The revenues have come from a wide range of public and private sources, including federal and state grants, philanthropic grants and corporate donations.  Together, they have made a profound impact on the City and its residents.  Just a few highlights:

  • 400,000 free lunches for Detroit students
  • 38,369 summer job opportunities through Grow Detroit’s Young talent
  • 3,079 affordable housing units preserved for low income residents
  • 863 low-income homes improved through 0% Interest Loan Program
  • 600 low-income homes to receive free lead abatement
  • 168 new DDOT buses through federal transportation grants
  • 148 City parks improved with the help of over $25M in grant funds
  • 85 new small businesses opened through Motor City Match
  • 18% reduction in fatal and non-fatal shootings in grant-supported Project Cease Fire areas


“Since exiting bankruptcy, our primary focus has been on improving services and quality of life for all Detroiters and doing it in a fiscally responsible way,” said Chief Financial Officer David Massaron.  “Ryan and his team have done a terrific job supporting both of those by helping to secure hundreds of millions of dollars that are impacting the lives of Detroiters in every neighborhood.”



Improved compliance attracts additional grant funds


ODG was created within the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) in October of 2017 to align the City’s fund development activities with grant management support for City departments, including project planning and oversight of expenditures. In overseeing grants management, Katerli Bounds has led the team in improving oversight of grant expenditures and providing project management support to departments.  The development staff, led by Sirene Abou-Chakra, has built confidence with hundreds of different funders and provided a strategic vision to attract higher levels of grant support each year. 


In the year prior to bankruptcy, the City had over 60 grant-related audit findings and millions in questioned costs requiring the return of funds to grantors. For the last three years, the City has dramatically reduced grant related findings and questioned costs and expanded the scale and type of new awards. As a result of improvements like these, federal agencies such as the Department of Justice and HUD have removed the City from high-risk status, and increased the number of discretionary grants awarded to the City. A key indicator of the City’s improved use of grant funds came in 2015 when HUD awarded an additional $8.9 million that had gone unspent by other US cities.


Prior to bankruptcy, the City had a decentralized financial management system with limited central authority over day-to-day departmental finances – including grants. The City struggled to produce timely and accurate financial information and relied heavily on outside consultants. In 2014, the City exited bankruptcy with a restructured balance sheet and approach to financial management.  In addition to increasing outside revenues to the City, this reform greatly improved the performance, processes, and transparency of the OCFO office. The ODG shares a strategic vision with funders and partners by providing them with compelling opportunities to enhance the quality of life for Detroit residents.  


“Our goal every day is to help the City compete for the resources that will most enhance the quality of life for Detroit residents.” said Friedrichs. “Public and private funders look for accountability and impact as they invest their resources, and Detroit has made great strides on both fronts these past five years.”






About OCFO

The Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) is the centralized financial management organization for the City of Detroit and ensures fiscal stability, provides sound business advice, builds strong internal controls, and maintains data integrity. Under CFO David Massaron, the OCFO is enabling the City to make investments that improve quality of life for Detroiters and creating a financial infrastructure that can withstand the next recession. 


About ODG

The Office of Development and Grants was created in October of 2017 to align the City of Detroit's fund development - the coordination and support of relationships with existing and potential funding partners - with grant management support for City departments, including project planning assistance and oversight of expenditures. The mission of the Office of Development and Grants is to compete nationally for, and support the implementation of, public and private investments that enhance the quality of life for Detroit residents.