Delivering on the Promise of an Equitable & Inclusive Detroit
In 2020, Detroit corporate and civic leaders made an unprecedented public pledge to actively fight inequity in Detroit. They committed to devoting resources to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion became a reality in our city. To help the corporate community deliver on these promises, Bishop Edgar Vann, a lifelong Detroiter and champion of equity, launched the nonprofit Detroit Equity Inc. (DEI).
DEI, founded by Vann and attorney and civic leader Dr. Bertram Marks, is committed to ensuring Detroit’s comeback is within reach of every Detroiter in every Detroit neighborhood. To fulfill its mission, DEI helps Detroit corporations use data to develop solutions that help disadvantaged communities and their residents gain access to better economic prospects: better jobs, business opportunities and leadership positions.
Our consulting services for Detroit’s corporate community are designed to:
Ensure a company’s diversity, equity and inclusion programs and policies are effective at bridging the equity gap
Create a space to develop and share Detroit-specific data and best practices
Measure the pulse of the community through formal interactions between our trusted faith-based leaders and community members
Building Partnerships to Develop Data-Driven Solutions
To achieve its mission, DEI formed a partnership with Wayne State University’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights to gather relevant data on equity gaps in Michigan and present those findings to businesses, civic leaders and other institutions and help develop data-driven solutions to increase equity and prosperity in our community.
Since then, several organizations have joined DEI as founding and community partners, including Huntington Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, DTE Foundation, City of Detroit, The Kresge Foundation and Henry Ford Health. These organizations have demonstrated a strong commitment to taking significant and meaningful steps towards bridging the equity gap in Detroit.
Connecting Corporate Leaders with the Community to Drive Change
To build familiarity and trust between corporations and the community, DEI is implementing a series of community-based town hall meetings and forums to understand what distressed communities want, need and know about corporate employment, advancement and procurement programs. Bishop Vann’s strong relationships with Detroit’s interfaith community, neighborhood-based organizations and community leaders help bridge the gap between Detroiters and the greater corporate community.
DEI and its partners are collecting additional survey and benchmarking data and evaluating all findings to help shape and accelerate effective corporate diversity, equity and inclusion programs. The organization also maintains active partnerships with the City of Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), Detroit Means Business and Detroit Workforce Development to share learnings that will support program development.
To share best practices with corporate and civic leaders, DEI hosted its first symposium in September 2022. The event, to be held annually, included keynote speakers, breakout sessions and roundtable discussions. In conjunction with the symposium, DEI released its 2022 Detroit Equity Report, sharing data and proven best practices that can provide a road map for our collective efforts. DEI will continue to track emerging data, monitor progress and report on any equity gap shifts.