New Detroit was formed in response to civil unrest in 1967 that uncovered a host of entrenched social and community ills. At the request of then Michigan Governor George Romney and Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, business executive Joseph L. Hudson, Jr. convened a unique coalition—the nation's first—to identify what went wrong in July 1967, what needed to change, and how to make that change happen.
Since then, New Detroit, Inc. has been a unique and valuable arena where leaders of Detroit's business, civic, grassroots, and religious communities have come together to plan cooperative strategies and to demonstrate their commitment to the city and its environs. New Detroit provides a forum for community leaders to come together to listen and learn from each other and to serve as a regional forum for sensitive issues among individuals who might otherwise have no contact. The coalition has worked to impact the actions of individuals and institutions by serving in a number of roles; advocate, catalyst, convener, and facilitator.
New Detroit has served as a catalyst for change, influencing the actions of individuals and institutions. Through advocacy and leadership by example, New Detroit has demonstrated new ways for solving specific community problems, as well as provided resources to community-based groups.
A number of significant local organizations and institutions were created or sustained through New Detroit's early advocacy and support. Some of these include: