Who We Are
Accelerating collaborative action in Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit community.
coact /kō-ˈakt/ (v): to act or work together
We are a hub for accelerating collaborative action in Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit community. We have paired national best practice research with local insights and context to develop a nimble and coordinated approach to realizing impact in our region.
Our space serves as a natural place for nonprofits to connect, share ideas and develop solutions together. We build authentic community through cultivated conversations and events designed to build trust, deepen relationships and set the stage for collective impact. But we are more than just a space. We source local wisdom to co-create programs and resources that meet nonprofits where they are.
We work with organizations and our partners to bridge the gap between vision and community transformation.
We exist because you do–here’s how it happened: With $1.2 billion to spend down by 2035, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation (RCWJRF) wanted to stimulate systemic and sustainable change that would outlast its existence. In 2016 the Foundation began extensive research and outreach to better understand gaps and needs among nonprofits in Southeast Michigan.
Building upon these early insights, the Foundation explored new ways of thinking and partnering between organizations and philanthropy; a model that moved away from organizations chasing dollars to one that would stimulate community-level problem solving and collaborative action. The RCWJRF envisioned a place-based strategy where natural opportunities for organizations to connect were paired with learning and skill-building.
After exploring a number of national models that activated space for collaborative action, the Foundation applied learnings to our local context and partnered with TechTown Detroit and Michigan Nonprofit Association to develop and launch the concept.
In spring 2018, Allandra Bulger, a recognized nonprofit leader and connector, was named its first executive director and began an intensive engagement process with the nonprofit community to co-create the organizational name, ethos and areas of impact. What emerged was a vision for a center that is a trusted place for collaborative idea generation, shared learning, and programming tailored to local need. Read more about what we heard from local community leaders.
Co.act Detroit opened its doors in 2019 as a place for Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit community to connect, learn and develop solutions together.
Allandra Bulger is a forward-thinking creative and servant leader with experience in nonprofit leadership, organizational development, project management, program design and implementation, and community and economic development. As the inaugural executive director of Co.act Detroit, she is leading the development of a resource hub where Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit and philanthropic community connect and access the knowledge, skills and resources needed to collaborate, innovate and amplify impact.
Prior to joining Co.act, Allandra served as deputy director of Detroit Future City, where she managed the organization’s strategic priorities, internal operations and fiscal affairs while providing key leadership in strategic planning, management and connecting organization mission, vision, values, and programmatic priorities. She has also worked as a consultant at DEXDesign Associates, where she specialized in developing and delivering capacity building technical assistance to community based nonprofit organizations and small businesses, and she managed the Title IV-E Funding Program of the Wayne County Juvenile Assessment Center. She holds a master’s degree in public administration specializing in nonprofit organization and management from Oakland University, where she is also an adjunct faculty member, teaching courses on nonprofit management. Allandra has served as a Detroit Revitalization Fellow and is a graduate of Leadership Detroit Class. She is the co-founder and treasurer of D.Cipher, an arts-based mastermind collective and nonprofit serving the Detroit artist community. When she is not working, she enjoys songwriting, spending time with her energetic nephews, traveling and discovering new music.
In her role as Director of Programs, Kyla Carlsen provides proactive leadership and vision for developing new and innovative programs for nonprofit and social enterprise organizations. With each program, she focuses on emphasizing strategic partnerships, measurable outcomes, and highlighting local and national best practices in a safe, inclusive space.
Kyla is Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certified and has experience leading and managing teams, program strategy and development, and project management. Her expertise includes facilitating design thinking sessions to develop innovative approaches to solve problems, fundraising and working with stakeholders to scale impact. She previously served as Operations and Financial Manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, overseeing operations for small business programs with a combined annual budget of $8 million and addressing barriers to access and capital readiness for Detroit entrepreneurs.
Outside of serving as Co.act’s Director of Programs, Kyla can be found coaching one of the Detroit PAL youth soccer teams as well as serving on an executive committee for Alternatives for Girls and leading the Detroit Global Shapers hub. She also enjoys traveling, cooking and exploring new restaurants in addition to spending time with her 10-year-old pitbull.
Partnerships are the underpinning of our work. We inspire collaborative action and call on organizations to come together to solve our region’s most pressing challenges collectively.
Co.act was created to complement existing resources and support for the nonprofit community in SE Michigan. We work closely with intermediaries and cross-sector partners to drive transformative change. Below are a few of our most notable partners.
Core partners who have guided the development and launch of Co.act Detroit from the beginning:
Program development partners: