History of NEI

The beginning…

  • 50% of the jobs lost in the entire country between 2000 and 2010 were lost in Michigan*, with Southeast Michigan and Detroit fairing particularly poorly;
  • Michigan lost 367,000 manufacturing jobs during the same time;
  • All  while Michigan dropped 21 spots in per capita income from 18th to 39th.

This is the climate that the New Economy Initiative was born from. An unprecedented market collapse that required an unprecedented response. So, in 2007, 10 foundations contributed an initial $100 million, with the broad and urgent purpose to “return Detroit to its position as a global economic leader.” A lot of money to be sure, but a tall order in the context of an annual regional GDP over $170 billion, or just around $1.3 trillion over eight years.

After smart early grants that not only fostered rich learning, but began laying the foundational infrastructure to support regional innovation, today’s NEI has sharpened its focus to aggressively engage in transforming the region by building a network of support for entrepreneurs.

With early success and important traction gained in the entrepreneurial space, NEI recently announced a $33.25 million recapitalization of the program over the next several years to continue its work.

Funders to date include
  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit)
  • Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield)
  • Ford Foundation (New York)
  • Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit)
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Detroit)
  • John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (Miami)
  • The Kresge Foundation (Troy)
  • McGregor Fund (Detroit)
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint)
  • Skillman Foundation (Detroit)
  • The William Davidson Foundation (Troy)
*According to the Michigan Turnaround Plan.