Crowdfunding campaign launched for Durfee + Central Community Beautification project in Detroit

Monday, June 18, 2018

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

Lansing, Mich. – The neighborhood surrounding the Durfee Elementary Middle School and Central High School in Detroit will undergo a large-scale transformation with the help of a crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Life Remodeled announced today. The campaign is being offered through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by July 31, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit:

“Public Spaces Community Places is a good resource for communities to build community-inspired projects,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “We are pleased to be able to serve as a partner in this effort to help beautify and focus on place-based improvements through various neighborhoods in Detroit.”

Life Remodeled will mobilize 10,000 volunteers to beautify and improve the neighborhood surrounding Durfee Elementary and Middle School and Central High School over a three-year period. In response to the vision and requests of students and community residents, they will invest in public spaces and places by planting trees, building community gardens, designating the safest routes to schools with artwork and little free libraries, installing new bus shelters with covers, adding neighborhood signage and more.

In 2017 with the help of more than 10,000 volunteers, Life Remodeled renovated and repurposed the school into the Durfee Innovation Society, a community and recreational space for Detroit families and kids. The scope of work also included boarding up vacant homes and removing blight in the surrounding neighborhood.

“Since 2014, Life Remodeled and our partners have invested more than $21 million in cash, labor and materials into four Detroit neighborhoods, but this is the first time we're making a multi-year commitment to one community,” said Life Remodeled CEO Chris Lambert. “The MEDC and Patronicity are helping us double our neighborhood impact as we shift our beautification approach to quality over quantity. This is a historic and resilient community that is moving forward and moving fast.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity, in which local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at

“Making neighborhoods attractive and inviting to residents and visitors alike is key to placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “This effort by Life Remodeled and thousands of community volunteers will go a long way toward reaching that goal.”

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with MEDC providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of June 5, 2018, MEDC has provided $4,938,166 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 166 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $5.9 million raised from 30,187 individual donors.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.