Leadership Projects

Proactive Leadership of our Community Foundation

As a community leader, our Community Foundation has made a commitment to work more proactively, not just reactively, to better address our region's greatest needs. Our board of trustees recognizes that our Community Foundation can and should do more as a leader.

Community “listening tours” were conducted in fall 2015 and early 2016 to find out what the community felt were the region’s greatest needs, and what our role should be in addressing those needs. We analyzed the feedback we received, and through board retreats in fall 2015 and spring 2016 we determined our new strategic leadership initiative, which is to lead placemaking projects that will create vibrant communities to enhance economic prosperity in our region.

Since then, we built Rotary Park in 2019 and Play Michigan! in 2023, both from inception to completion as gems on the riverfront. We are currently working on Fish Ladder Music Park, offer placemaking activation sponsorships and Local Impact Investing opportunities, and have other projects in the works.

For more information or to be involved in a future project, contact Laurie Baumer, President & CEO of the Community Foundation, at (517) 281-9054 or lbaumer@ourcommunity.org.

Placemaking is a collective community vision and process of reimagining public spaces (such as neighborhoods, downtowns, waterfronts, parks, plazas, markets, etc.) and the arts and activities that create culture and a social environment.

Economic prosperity for all

We believe that economic prosperity is vitally important to our region, especially for the disadvantaged. An improved economy helps everyone.

Economic development is all about attracting and retaining talent, and people with talent want to live in cities that have a vibrant downtown, attractive and welcoming public spaces, and rich artistic and cultural opportunities. Placemaking is an investment proven to have a “multiplier effect” that attracts a talented workforce, employers and jobs.

Our Current Placemaking Focus

We may lead projects that no one else is working on, or we may collaborate on existing projects where we can address gaps and sticking points.

We are focusing on the region’s urban core, which is the Michigan Avenue corridor, from the Capitol to Abbot Road, and ¼ mile to the north and south of the avenue, including the downtown riverfront.

Map of current placemaking boundaries