Mayor Duggan, Council President Sheffield celebrate 34 recipients of 1st Neighborhood Beautification Program grants


Mayor Duggan, Council President Sheffield celebrate 34 recipients of 1st Neighborhood Beautification Program grants

  • Each year, block clubs, neighborhood associations and nonprofits can apply for grants ranging from $500 to $15,000 for neighborhood clean-ups, community gardens, and public space activities.
  • Total of almost $500,000 going to groups all over Detroit, representing all seven City Council districts.

DETROIT – Mayor Mike Duggan, Council President Mary Sheffield and Councilmember Scott Benson joined community groups to celebrate the 34 recipients receiving the City’s Neighborhood Beautification Program (NBP) grants, a new program this year that gives Detroit groups $500 to $15,000 to help improve and beautify their blocks. This year, almost $500,000 will be awarded to winners all over the city, including in every City Council district.

The NBP grants provide funding for Detroit-based neighborhood associations, block clubs, faith-based organizations and nonprofits that currently own the property where they want to carry out a project in the community. The Neighborhood Beautification Program was created to support three types of projects: clean-up activities, community gardens, and public spaces and activities.

“Detroiters are proud of their communities and want to roll up their sleeves and beautify the streets they call home, they just need financial help to do so,” said Mayor Duggan. “When I campaigned, I said that every neighborhood has a future and, this fund will go a long way to making our neighborhoods stronger and more beautiful places to live and raise a family.”

Today’s announcement was made at one of the 36 winning projects, Rescue MI Nature Now Inc. in the Nolan neighborhood in District 3. Founded just three years ago, the nonprofit now encompasses 29 parcels and one house between State Fair and Winchester along Derby and Exeter Streets. The 501c(3) acquired vacant Detroit Land Bank Authority properties and have created a beautiful campus that has helped to replace blight with beauty. Their efforts include wildlife habitats, planting 100 trees – including 23 trees with support from The Sterling Group – creating food and flower gardens, and clearing the alley and turning it green. The group is also in the process of finalizing, thanks to support from Huntington Bancshares and Gary Torgow, the renovation of a formerly vacant house into educational innovative studios for youth, including a culinary studio, where they can learn how to cook what they grow. Rescue MI Nature Now is receiving $14,990 to put toward its efforts.

The nonprofit also hires youth from the neighborhood and surrounding areas to help clean up and tend the gardens, and it partners with Go Cutters Lawn Care, a neighborhood business to help clean, address illegal dumping and mowing and maintaining the properties. Rescue MI Nature Now Inc., led by Tharmond Ligon Jr., Zenaida Flores and Brodrick Wilks, also teaches the youth how to sell the produce they grow at Eastern Market and the Palmer Park Farmers Market. It also works with the Keep It Clean Block Club, Youth Farmers Market, Crossroads Community Association, Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund, American Forests, Detroit Community Markets, Keep Growing Detroit, the University of Michigan – Dearborn and Flint, and others.

“We know that it can be hard for those who grow up in poverty to succeed without proper nutrition,” Ligon said. “I grew up on Derby, and moved back here in 2018, so I know the challenges in having access to healthy food. We’re also instilling in these youth skills they can use for the rest of their lives and will hopefully share with others and future generations. This grant will allow us to continue our beautification efforts, while educating Detroit youth and others about the quality-of-life benefits in their own neighborhoods.”

Councilmember Benson, who represents the Nolan area as the councilman for District 3, said dedication of the community and standing up and taking action is what the Neighborhood Beautification Program is all about.

“Rescue MI Nature Now is a group that embodies community,” Benson said. “Their dedication to making Detroit a better place is inspiring. I’m thrilled that the Neighborhood Beautification Program is helping them in their work in making this corner of District 3 more beautiful while also teaching the next generation about the skills they need to live healthier lives.”

The NBP is part of the Neighborhood Improvement Fund (NIF), which was championed by Council President Sheffield as part of the development deal for the Detroit Pistons’ new headquarters and training facility in District 5. The initial funding for the program is $2.25 million over three years, which includes $1.25 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and $1 million in NIF funding. NIF dollars are derived from the net income tax revenue collected from NBA players’ salaries during home games played at Little Caesars Arena and the salaries of Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment employees.

“The Neighborhood Improvement Fund was created with one goal in mind: bringing resources and assistance to neighborhoods across Detroit,” Council President Sheffield said. “The Neighborhood Beautification Program is allowing our neighborhoods and Detroiters who don’t live downtown to benefit from all of the development going on downtown.”

The funds available under the NBP can be used to fuel creative ideas, spark neighborhood revitalization, or strengthen connections between neighborhood-based groups. The City of Detroit will provide resources to allow the eligible organizations and residents to become actively engaged in the health and well-being of their community and to encourage residents to get involved in making their neighborhood better. For those hoping to beautify their community but do not own the land, the NBP will assist organizations with purchasing or leasing vacant lots owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority. Up to 50 projects a year will receive funding.

The NIF has an expressed purpose of removing blight; providing new recreational opportunities and home repairs for senior citizens and disabled Detroiters; creating educational and apprenticeship opportunities for young people; and financing affordable housing developments – all with the goal of enhancing, strengthening and transforming Detroit neighborhoods outside of Midtown and downtown.

The Neighborhood Beautification Program is overseen by the City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department and administered by the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency (Wayne Metro).

“The Neighborhood Beautification Program is playing a key role in our efforts to turn blight into beauty,” said Tamra Fountaine Hardy, director of HRD’s Neighborhood Services Division, which oversees the NBP. “This first year was a tremendous success, and we know that as more people see the difference this program is making, we’ll see even more Detroiters applying as we build our city back better than ever before.”

Applications for next round open in early 2023

The next application round opens early next year, and organizations will be able to apply then at For more information, residents can e-mail Wayne Metro at [email protected] or call (313) 388-9799. The City will make an announcement when the application process goes live and will post on social media.

The 34 recipients of the first NBP grants are:

  1. In Memory of Community Garden – District 7
  2. Berg-Lahser Community Association – D1
  3. Canfield Consortium – D4
  4. New Beginnings CDC – D4
  5. NW Goldberg Cares – D5
  6. Demographic Inspiration's Detroit – D2
  7. Woodbridge Neighborhood Development – D6
  8. Mohican Regent Homeowners Association – D3
  9. Rescue MI Nature Now – D3
  10. Grandmont #1 Improvement Association – D1
  11. Minock Park Block Association – D1
  12. Crane Street Garden – D3
  13. Arboretum Detroit – D5
  14. Nardin Park Improvement Rock – D7
  15. North Rosedale Park Block Captains – D1
  16. Calyxeum Catalyst – D7
  17. Renaissance of Hope Inc. – D7
  18. Camp Restore Detroit – D4
  19. Sanctuary Farms Block Club – D4
  20. Marjorie Street Garden – D3
  21. Class Act Detroit – D6
  22. United Block Club Council – D6
  23. Evergreen Block Club – D7
  24. Mt. Olivet Neighborhood Watch – D3
  25. Esper Street Robert Aviation Community – D7
  26. Cross Pollination Corridor Project – D1
  27. Field Temple – D5
  28. North Rosedale Park Civic Association – D1
  29. East Davison Village Community Group – D3
  30. DeSoto Ellsworth Block Association – D7
  31. Schoolcraft Improvement Association – D1
  32. Bailey Park Neighborhood Development Corporation – D5
  33. A Place of Refuge – D7
  34. PR²OmiSE (Peers Responding to Overlooked Matters in Social Environments) – D2