Co.act Detroit is proud to announce today the first cohort of the Earned Revenue Accelerator program, a pilot program of the $1.5 million Activate Fund! The Accelerator aims to help Wayne County nonprofits grow earned revenue streams from existing services or products. In partnership with a jury of local nonprofit and business leaders, we selected six Wayne County nonprofits that will participate in a virtual curriculum valued at $75,000.
The inaugural Accelerator cohort includes senior leaders from six organizations:
- Artlab J
- Concrete Oasis
- Detroit Hives
- Mack Avenue Community Church Development (MACC Development)
- Ruth Ellis Center
Why does Earned Revenue matter?
Earned revenue models, while relatively rare, are gaining popularity among nonprofits. We offered this program because earned revenue models allow organizations to diversify bases of support to meet growing needs and to better sustain operations over the long term. And while we designed this program long before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting funding priorities among grantmaking organizations have made earned revenue models more attractive to nonprofits nationwide.
Innovation is all around
In partnership with a jury of local nonprofit and business leaders, Co.act Detroit selected these six Wayne County nonprofits to participate in a virtual curriculum valued at $75,000. Awardees were selected on a number of criteria, including sales history, potential for catalytic impact and market demand. Preference was also given to organizations and leaders traditionally excluded from capacity- and knowledge-building programs. The result is a diverse cohort, representative of Wayne County nonprofits in terms of geography, budget size, products or services offered, and racial and ethnic demographics of leadership.
Meet the Cohort
Industry/Sector: Dance Arts
ArtLab J is a community-based nonprofit dedicated to spreading the dance arts across the city of Detroit. Through its mission, ArtLab J aims to deepen the collective appreciation for the dance arts and build social cohesion using its transformative power to not only bare our life stories but bridge them.
By participating in the Earned Revenue Accelerator, ArtLab J hopes to expand its current roster of contemporary, ballet and K-Pop dance classes and events and gain the critical skills necessary to ensure its sustainability.
JOURNi is a nonprofit that focuses on empowering young Detroiters through tech education and entrepreneurship training. They do this by providing programs that introduce students to front-end development and transferable skills such as design thinking, time management, and agile methodology. In addition to that, their core activities include a laptop loaner program and development of digital products.
As part of the Accelerator, JOURNi plans to build upon their existing capacity to develop and produce websites and apps for their clients.
Industry/Sector: Design/Skilled Trades
Concrete Oasis partners with organizations and institutions to spread knowledge by pairing high technology training with community and cultural arts practice (to include dance, design and place-making) for K-to-Career, workforce development in electrical engineering and skilled trades basics.
As part of the Earned Revenue Accelerator, Concrete Oasis aims to grow its existing sales capacity, which include a variety of LED light kits, ready-made electronic gifts, 2D youth art, business + STEM/STEAM education consulting and local green products. They also plan to build capacity for providing training and demonstrations to build these products, virtually and in the real world. Future considerations will include placemaking and real estate development projects in urban and rural locales.
Industry/Sector: Personal and Laundry Services
MACC Development exists to seek the holistic revitalization of Detroit’s 48214 zip code, block by block, neighbor by neighbor.
As part of the Accelerator, MACC Development will build capacity of The Commons, a unique combination coffee bar and coin laundry operating in the storefront space of their multipurpose building. The laundromat includes fourteen commercial washers (with a variety of load options) and sixteen commercial dryers. As a business, they also offer laundry supplies per load including liquid detergent, powder detergent, bleach, oxy boost, etc. Additionally, The Commons offers a personal drop off laundry service and a commercial drop off laundry service for other local businesses.
Industry/Sector: Human Services
Founded in 1999, Ruth Ellis Center (REC) has established a national reputation for quality and innovation in providing trauma-informed services with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth, and young adults. The work of REC is focused on youth ages 5 to 30, in black and brown communities experiencing barriers to housing, health and wellness.
As part of the Accelerator, REC plans to grow the existing capacity of their two primary training products, Building Safety with Diverse S.O.G.I.E. (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression) Youth and their Caregivers and Asking About SOGIE. The training products are designed to meaningfully engage adult learners and facilitate measurable increases in knowledge and supportive attitudes toward LGBTQ youth which translate into safer provider behaviors.
Industry/Sector: Food Products/Beekeeping
Detroit Hives is a 501c3 nonprofit organization working to build sustainable communities for people and pollinators by transforming vacant lots into educational green spaces to provide a social, environmental, and financial impact in the Detroit and Southeastern Michigan area. They exist in 13 locations with over 10 community partners, proclaiming DETROIT is the place to bee!
As part of the Accelerator, Detroit Hives plans to build their capacity in three areas:
- Bee The Change: An educational youth program that targets inner city youth ages 4-8 on the education and conservation of pollinators.
- Bee Well Care Packages: In response to COVID-19 they created bee well care packages to provide basic essentials to our local heroes, front-line responders and health care workers.
- Bee/Hornet/Wasp Removal: They also provide bee swarm, hornet and wasp relocations for community residents and businesses in Detroit and Southeast Michigan.
Meet our Partners
Participating organizations and speakers include:
- Gingras Global
- TechTown Detroit
- Lydia Michael (Blended Collective)
- Judy Nimer Muhn (Nonprofit Enterprise at Work)
- Ellen Currin
- Susie Wayntraub (Waxenberg Wayntraub, PLLC)
- Eric Thomas (City of Detroit and SAGA Marketing)
- Andrew J. Goldberg (The Law Office Of Andrew J Goldberg)