New Detroit is a coalition of leaders working to achieve racial understanding and racial equity in Metropolitan Detroit.


Photo Credit: Nic Antaya for Crain’s Detroit Business

New Detroit Recognized by Crain’s as one of Metro Detroit’s Best Managed Nonprofits.

December 02, 2021

SHERRI WELCH, Crain’s Detroit Business

New Detroit Inc. was in the midst of developing plans for industry-specific, cultural sensitivity trainings when the pandemic-related disparities and nationally publicized deaths of George Floyd and other Black men and women spurred demand for them last year.

Individuals and organizations alike contacted New Detroit for guidance on how they should respond.

“Big questions were, ‘What can I do?’ ‘How should I be looking at my role in the organization…(and) my organization’s role in the moment?’” said New Detroit’s President and CEO Michael Rafferty.

The organization had just come through cost-cutting and securing $600,000 in new grants to respond to revenue losses that had decreased its budget to just over $1 million for 2020 and left it with a staff of only five employees.

It raised $130,000 or more to increase its staff capacity and launch initial cultural sensitivity training pilots with local health systems and retail and hospitality employees.

Click here to read more.

New Detroit Partners with Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan and Vital Strategies to create a Just Care® training program for providers in hospital emergency room settings treating patients of color with opioid use disorders.

New Detroit’s Leadership Series on R.A.C.E.

Racial Understanding | Anti-Racism | Cultural Competency | Equity in Practice

Now more than ever leaders recognize they need to be change agents around diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. Join New Detroit and local leaders from our diverse racial and cultural community for a six-part online professional development program and become a positive catalyst for change in transforming your business or community organization.

New Detroit Town Hall Series

On November 16th, 2021 we hosted a Town Hall, Critical Race Theory: What It Is and Isn’t in partnership with the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance. Moderated by Stephen Henderson, panelists included Dr. Truman Hudson, Jr., Dr. Rashawn Ray, Mary Jane Evink, and Hailey Beatty Barton. 430 people from across the state joined us for the Town Hall.

Our three-part Town Hall “Advancing a Racially Equitable COVID-19 Recovery: Voices of the Community” may now be viewed online. Based on a report we commissioned from the Brookings Institute with support from Rocket Community Fund, “Examining and Addressing COVID-19 Racial Disparities in Detroit”  the series included:

  • Report Authors Jane Fran Morgan and Dr. Rashawn Ray (May 10) view here.
  • Leading policy experts discuss COVID’s impact on education, small business, and the health care industry view here.
  • Six Detroiters talking about their personal experiences view here.

Our History

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.

On July 6, 2020, in response to the dual pandemic of COVID-19 and racial injustice (which had come to a head with the murder of George Floyd on May 25), standing alongside 30 of Detroit’s most prominent business, political and philanthropical leaders in front of the “United We Stand” sculpture at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, New Detroit declared War on Racism.

New Detroit will dismantle racism through systems change and by moving hearts and minds. We do this as an institutional thought leader, an advocate for policy change, and as a catalyst for collective action. Our work is organized around these three strategies, and includes trainings, education, research, advocacy, and partnerships to fight racism at the personal, institutional, and systemic levels.

New Detroit Founders: Joseph L. Hudson, Jr.,Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, and Governor George Romney
The original New Detroit committee

New Detroit’s work is made possible with the generous support of the following funders: