Message from WGBC President, Mildred Hunt Robbins on the occasion of

Breakfast on the Boulevard, the WGBC Annual 11th Annual Event –  November 19, 2015.            

The  WGBC  Shared Economy

As an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff, the shared economy works

for the WGBC.  Gifts to our organization include:

     – An office at New Center Community Services with a phone line and computer;

Access to meeting rooms at Boulevard Temple and Duffield Branch Library;

Event venues at:

–  Boulevard Temple (who also serve in this capacity in 

addition to hosting many WGBC meetings weekly);

–  Communication Workers of America Local 4100;

–  Duffield Library (our information distribution center);

–  Laborers’ Union Local 1191;

–  Gamma Phi Delta Sorority National Headquarters; and,

–  The WGBC non-profit organizations, businesses, and

institutions that host our monthly meetings.

Sobriety House is a joint venturer in the WGBC-Sobo (coined by Kyle Sandefur, Esq.) employment initiative, and provides transport for WGBC projects, such as the local assets survey by LTU Detroit Studio, and for volunteers at community cleanups.  Sobriety House also hosts the special December monthly meeting;

Boulevard Marketplace donates refreshments and supplies for meetings and special occasions, and solicits discounted menu items from Papa’s Pizza for community cleanups and other WGBC functions;

Brazelton’s Florist donates flowers annually for Breakfast on the Boulevard, and other special events;

ECS Partnership-McDonald’s sponsored catering at our 2014 LOU press conference and provides refreshments for special events; and,

Many other members and friends who provide gifts and services provided that are too innumerable to list.

With appreciation, WGBC receives the generosity that is evidenced by silent-auction donations, and other in-kind gifts and services.  We are particularly indebted to Lawrence Technological University for their many services to the WGBC, including their recent application to the National Endowment for the Arts for a grant on our behalf (Joongsub Kim, Ph.D.).  It is our good fortune to have members and friends who are abundant in their sharing of their talents, creativity, human capital, monetary resources, professional expertise, and personal and professional networks to serve our community.

The willingness to share by the WGBC Advisory Board, members and friends, is the fuel that drives our engine in service to our Mission …to advance employment, entrepreneurship, culture and environmental health… in our community. The spark for the engine that generates our accomplishments is the cohesive triad of integrity, transparency, and commitment to equity, as we serve our West End Detroit neighborhoods: Northwestern Goldberg, LaSalle Gardens, & Virginia Park.

WEdetroit

Click here to view a PDF of the Message from the President.

November 30, 2015

Mr. Keith Crain, Editor-in-Chief

Crain’s Detroit Business

kcrain@crain.com

Dear Mr. Crain:

Kirk Pinho did not represent journalism well in his (November 20, 2015) article about the Moneta Energy, LLC, redevelopment of Detroit’s Lee Plaza Residential Hotel.  Craig Sasser, Managing Member, made public the redevelopment plan  (November 19, 2015) at Breakfast on the Boulevard, the 11th Annual Event of the West Grand Boulevard Collaborative (WGBC), the group that organized the WGBC Community Coalition and signed a Letter of Understanding (May 16, 2014) with Henry Ford Health System and their development partners (Kirco Manix and Cardinal Health) for the Cardinal Warehouse on Rosa Parks (12th Street) just south of the Boulevard, having received multi-millions of public funds for the private business.  Without providing any facts about the qualifications, experience and resources of Moneta Energy, Pinho expects readers to accept his opinion and (that of an anonymous) “source of mine . . . that ground would never be broken . . .”   Based on my reading of the John Perkins book Hoodwinked . . . – hoodwinked fits perfectly the definition of what appears to have happened to Mr. Pinho, as evidenced by his Lee Plaza article.

With the recent Henry Ford Hospital announcement of their new Cancer Center about a mile away, and the Cardinal Warehouse even closer, one must consider the real reasons why Mr. Pinho is pushing the idea that the Lee Plaza area is not ready for investment.  Does he represent a cohort of developers who have their eyes on the Lee Plaza neighborhood as they march north and west from their downtown and university-cultural district strongholds?  Two years ago, Dr. John Popovich, President and CEO of Henry Ford Hospital, quoted the founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford the first who, according to Dr. Popovich, said “when Henry Ford Hospital is ready for a major expansion, it will have all the land it needs across the street” – and guess what, 100 years later, it has come to pass.  I was present on two occasions when Dr. Popovich quoted Henry Ford, and on both occasions I asked if Henry Ford was a clairvoyant, or if there are forces in place that insured his 100-year forecast.  On both occasions my question was dismissed as an attempt at humor, but my question remains a serious inquiry.  There is absolutely a story to be written about development in our community, but it will require the interest and talents of a real investigative reporter.

In the meantime, those of us who truly believe in the principles of a democratic economy are working – neighborhood by neighborhood – to build a strong and sustainable nation, in spite of negative messages delivered by people who write in the press, but don’t know, or perhaps don’t care, about upholding the standards of good journalism that are essential to a sustainable American democracy.

Very truly yours,

Mildred Hunt Robbins

Click here to view a PDF of the Letter to Editor.

2015

  • New community partner Moneta Energy, LLC, makes public announcement of redevelopment of historic Detroit icon, the Lee Plaza Residential Hotel, at WGBC Annual Event, Breakfast on the Boulevard (Craig Sasser, Managing Member).
  • Herman Keifer Development, LLC, becomes new community partner with WGBC (Studio Castellano/Ron Castellano).
  • WGBC Workforce Pipeline for Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs partners with Southwest Economic Solutions.
  • After 18 months of Letter of Understanding (May 16, 2014) negotiations, Henry Ford Health System commits to providing Human Resources staff to present at WGBC Workforce Pipeline Workshops (the first having been conducted 11/4/15) to place attendees on a “pathway to employment at HFHS”.
  • Completed Phase II of Duffield Branch Library Mary and Albert H. Mallory Reading Garden (Jeffrey Klein, ASLA).
  • New Partnership with Herman Keifer Development, LLC, (Ron Castellano).
  • Pro bono legal services Dykema Law Firm & Ford Motor Company Office of Legal Counsel (Rochelle Lento, Esq., and Kyle Sandefur, Esq.)
  • Updated WGBC Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation.
  • Updated WGBC forms.
  • Registered WGBC logo and names.
  • Joint Venture Agreement between Sobriety House and WGBC.
  • Pro bono services of Harold Michael Stack, Ph.D., WSU professor and labor workplace consultant.
  • UAW Ford to secure building for West End Detroit Welcome Center or land for new construction (UAW Vice President James Settles).
  • Instituted WGBC Pipeline Workshops for Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs.
  • Ongoing negotiations with HFHS/Developers regarding Letter of Understanding signed in May, 2014.
  • HFHS HR present at WGBC Pipeline workshop, the first community benefit from HFHS since signing of Letter of Understanding (LOU) in May of 2014.
  • Partnered with National Conference of Artists Detroit Chapter, African Bead Museum, and Irwin Art Gallery to develop projects and programs for West End Detroit Welcome Center + Art & Culture Gallery.
  • LTU sponsored NEA Grant application on behalf of WGBC.
  • First annual Walk, Paddle and Roll Fundraiser in partnership with Freshwater Future.
  • Since 2009, continuing annual participation with Arise Detroit Neighborhoods Day.
  • Arise Detroit Angelo Henderson Community Servant Award presented to
  • Mildred and Tommie Robbins at Neighborhoods Day press conference.
  • Equitable Detroit Coalition Tech Town panel on Community Benefits Agreements (Mildred Robbins).
  • State-Wide Community Benefits Conference presenter (Mildred Robbins).
  • Freshwater Future Certificate of Recognition for “projects and efforts to… address climate change impacts and increase sustainability”.
  • Pro bono services of Kristine Miranne, Ph.D., Consultant to Non-Profit organizations.

2014

  • WGBC Infrastructure Enhancement Project – Green Infrastructure Design (Jeffrey Klein, ASLA).
  • WGBC/WGBC3 signs Letter of Understanding (LOU) regarding Cardinal Warehouse complex with HFHS and development partners Cardinal Health and Kirco Manix.
  • Press conference for signing of LOU (Gamma Phi Delta Sorority House (Celestine Carter, Bertha Crossley, catering provided by ECS Partnership – McDonalds).
  • WGBC Pipeline for Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs partnered with Crossroads of Michigan employment services.
  • tPro bono legal service from Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice (John Philo, Esq.)
  • Pro bono legal services from Perkins Law Group (Todd Perkins, Esq., Nikkiya Branch, Esq.)
  • Pro bono services from Kristine Miranne, Ph.D., Consultant to non-profit organizations.
  • Ongoing negotiations for community benefits with HFHS/Developers.
  • WGBC Pipeline for Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs partners with Detroit Public Library Department of Technology, Literacy and Careers.
  • LTU Department of Architecture Detroit Studio, community development consuls (Joongsub Kim, Ph.D.).
  • West End Welcome Center Design – Zero Energy (Terrence Samuels).

2013

  • Mildred Hunt Robbins received a Quiet Heroes Award at the Annual Ford Freedom Award Ceremony honoring Congressman John R. Lewis, recipient of the 2013 Ford Freedom Scholar Award.
  • Duffield Reading Garden Design Phase III (Jeff Klein)
  • American Planning Association Conference in Chicago – Stormwater Management: A Community Perspective (Deborah Dorsey)
  • Healing Our Waters (HOW) Community Planning Workshops (Deborah Dorsey)
  • WGBC spearheads formation of the WGBC Community Coalition (WGBC3)
  • HFHS and partners Kirco Manix and Cardinal Health agree to negotiate for community benefits with WGBC/WGBC3.
  • Negotiations between HFHS/Developers (Kirco Manix and Cardinal Health) and WGBC/WGBC3 are convened.
  • WGBC Pipeline for Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs established.
  • WGBC-LTU Department of Architecture Detroit Studio field trip to O’Hare International Airport and Zero Energy Container Construction (David Robbins, Terrence Samuels).
  • Pro bono legal services of Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice (John Philo).
  • LTU Department of Architecture Detroit Studio master planning for West End Detroit community.
  • Participated in Arise Detroit Neighborhoods Day.
  • Pro bono services from Vince Proctor Landscaping for landscape maintenance of Duffield Reading Garden.

2012

  • BLAK Magazine interviewed Deborah Dorsey and Mildred Hunt Robbins for feature article on the Mary and Albert H. Mallory Reading Garden installed by the WGBC at the Duffield Branch Library.
  • First WGBC Advisory Board dinner meeting, Gamma Phi Delta Sorority House (Bertha Crossley).
  • SAFE Grant administered by Michigan Community Resources (Dalton Roberson, Jr.).
  • Purchased commercial-grade riding mower, push mower, and power and hand tools for WGBC Community Tool Shed.
  • Freshwater Future Grant for measuring volume of water diverted from stormwater system because of Duffield Reading Garden stormwater-diversion elements, and other designs and systems included in the Rain Garden installation.
  • WGBC volunteers participated in Angels’ Night patrols.
  • Rain barrel workshop conducted in collaboration with the Sierra Club at Duffield Reading Garden.
  • Campaigned successfully to appeal against the opening of a new liquor store.
  • Proposed Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with developers, HFHS, Kirco Manix and Cardinal Health.
  • Spearheaded campaign to initiate CBA regarding HFHS/Kirco Manix/Cardinal Health warehouse project.
  • Organized coalition of Boulevard-area organizations, businesses and residents to seek CBA with HFHS/Developers.
  • NOF Grant funds reallocated to the Duffield Reading Garden project.

2011

  • WGBC Advisory Board established.
  • Participated in LTU accreditation process (evaluation of community outreach Pprograms).
  • Phase I of the Mary and Albert H. Mallory, Sr., Reading Garden installed at Duffield Branch Library, MSU Department of Horticulture (Robert Schutzki, Ph.D.).
  • Established CASE Project (Clean and Safe Environment).
  • Received SAFE Grant administered by MCR (Dalton Roberson).
  • WGBC was fiduciary for Churchill Block Club SAFE Grant (Deborah Dorsey).
  • Purchased, installed and stocked community tool shed (CASE Program).
  • Freshwater Future Grant for Duffield rain garden (Jill Ryan, JD).
  • Vacant lots between Churchill Street and MLK, Jr., Park cleared of abandoned building materials and debris, General Services (Brad Dick, Tim Karl).
  • Completed Phase I of Mary & Albert H. Mallory, Jr., at Duffield Branch Library, MSU Department of Horticulture (Robert Schutzki), and WGBC volunteers.
  • WGBC presented at Healing Waters (HOW) Conference (Deborah Dorsey)
  • Duffield Reading Garden placed on Healing Waters tour schedule, Mildred Robbins (2 tours).
  • Duffield Reading Garden placed on Sierra Club’s tour schedule, Mildred Robbins (3 tours).
  • Duffield Reading Garden placed on Bioneers (Sierra Club) tour schedule, Mildred Robbins (1 tour).
  • Partnered with Sierra Club to conduct 2 rain barrel workshops at Duffield Reading Garden.
  • Presented at Green Task Force Round Table (Deborah Dorsey, Mildred Robbins).
  • Presented at Sierra Club Rain Garden Conference (Deborah Dorsey)
  • WGBC volunteers participated in Angels’ Night patrols.
  • MSU Department of Horticulture produced designs for Boulevard islands (Robert Schutzki, Ph.D.).
  • Comerica Grant for Duffield Reading Garden.
  • Pro bono website redesign (Roslyn Coleman).
  • Pro bono website management (James Witman).

2010

  • Awarded Comerica Grant to defray cost of 2010 Annual Event (Louise Guyton).
  • Awarded Kresge Foundation Community Arts Grant for artwork in Phase I of Duffield Library Reading Garden.
  • LTU Department of Architecture produced Phase II Design Study & Conceptual Plan (Joongsub Kim, Ph.D., Detroit Studio).
  • MSU Department of Horticulture assumed leadership for design and installation of plant material for Duffield Library Reading Garden (Robert Schutzki, Ph.D.).
  • Dan Burden Walking Audit (walkability study) facilitated by Raquel Wilson and funded by Henry Ford Hospital.
  • Commissioned College for Creative Studies to produce artwork for Duffield Library Reading Garden (Vera Smith, Sioux Trujillo, Steve Schock, Graham Whyte).
  • Ferry-Morse Seed Company commits to partnership with WGBC to beautify Boulevard landscapes to commemorate the Ferry Seed Company’s residence and legacy in the WGBC community (Monika McCurdy).

2009

  • Granted 501 (c) (3) status by the United States Internal Revenue Service.
  • LTU Dept. of Architecture produced Phase II Design Study (Joongsub Kim. Ph.D., Detroit Studio)
  • Awarded York Foundation Grant facilitated by Cole Home for Funerals (Antonio Green).
  • Ombudsman’s Newsletter recognizes WGBC for No Trash Left Behind initiative (Ombudsman Durene Brown)
  • Vacant overgrown lots mowed General Services/Forestry (Brad Dick).
  • Large debris removed from Boulevard lots and alleys, DPW (Alfred Jordan, Charles Harmon).
  • Lee Plaza Existing-Conditions Report produced by Christopher Heini, RA.
  • Alleys clear from Boulevard to Pallister and Churchill to Poe Streets, DPW (Alfred Jordan, Charles Harmon).
  • Small-debris cleanup on Boulevard between Lodge and Jeffries, General Services (Lee Stephenson).
  • WGBC joins Arise Detroit Neighborhoods Day. (Cleaned MLK Park and sponsored live entertainment and refreshments.)
  • Received CLR non-profit training (Leor Barak, Esq, Sarida Scott, Esq.)
  • Successfully advocated through appeal process at Board of Zoning Appeals for compliance with Mainstreet Overlay on Boulevard – unfortunately, the BZA reversed their decision on an irregular appeal in 2010, with strong objections by WGBC.
  • Continuing pro bono architectural services (Patti Hurst, RA, Christopher Heine, RA)
  • Annual Event venue provided by Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.

2008

  • UD Mercy Department of Architecture produced Community Development Study (Professor Will Wittig).
  • Community Legal Resources secured attorneys for 501 (c) (3) application (Foley & Lardner).
  • Rosemarie and James Evenhuis seed grant for Mary & Albert H. Mallory Reading Garden.
  • Henry Ford Hospital matched seed grant toward cost of installation of Reading Garden.
  • No Trash Left Behind launched (Candy Collins-Adams Committee Chair) – name coined by HFHF President and CEO Anthony Armada.
  • Police support for No Trash Left Behind kick-off (13th Precinct, Sherese Fleming Freeman).
  • WGBC received Keep Detroit Beautiful Award (Councilmember Alberta Tinsley-Talabi).
  • WGBC hosted Motor City Makeover Kickoff in Martin Luther King, Jr., Park.
  • MLK, Jr., Park spring cleaning and bench painting with support of General Services (Brad Dick).
  • Detroit Public Library (DPL) and WGBC members donate to reading-garden installation with volunteer support from Habitat for Humanity and Sobriety House.
  • DPL Duffield Branch grounds prepared and plants purchased preliminary to Phase I installation of Reading Garden.
  • WGBC rallied support for restoration of Lee Plaza
  • Pro bono interior inspection of Lee Plaza (Christopher Heini, RA).

2007

  • PBS Greenways Documentary, Pathways for People, features Mildred Robbins, Alex Wright/Oliver Thornton, producers.
  • First public Annual Event hosted by HFH (Anthony Armada, President/CEO, Candy Collins-Adams, Dir. Comm. Relations.)
  • First consultation with Community Legal Resources (now Michigan Community Resources), Leor Barak.
  • Established Tribute Award, Robert E.L.Parking DDS, MDS, first recipient.
  • Design standards developed by Tribute Award (Sue Sells).

2006

  • WGBC Design Study produced WSU Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning under professorship of Constance Bodurow, Ph.D.
  • To date, Pattie Hurst, RA, continues to offer pro bono architectural services on an as-needed basis.

2005

  • Granted not-for-profit status by State of Michigan.
  • Launched WGBC Newsletter (Sue Sells, Patti Hurst).

2004

  • WGBC co-founded by Mildred Hunt Robbins & Tommie E. Robbins, Jr.
  • Logo designed and donated by Kari Lehman and Mildred Hunt Robbins.
  • Logo stamps produced and donated by DC Graphics (Denise Coklow).
  • Street lights restoration facilitated by Councilmember Joann Watson.
  • Open buildings boarded with intervention of Ombudsman Durene Brown.
  • Pro bono registered architectural services for WGBC projects (Patti Hurst and Christopher Heini).

WGBC Members

African Bead Museum, Andy’s Pharmacy, Black United Fund, Boulevard Marketplace, Boulevard Temple, Brazelton’s Florists, CVS Pharmacy, Churchill Block Club, Cole Home for Funerals, Comerica Bank, Communications Workers of America Local 4100, Crossroads of Michigan, Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Detroit Memorial Park, Detroit Public Library Duffield Branch, ECS Partnership – McDonald’s, Fifteenth Street Block Club, Friends of Duffield Branch Library, Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Health Alliance Plan, Henry Ford Hospital, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kipling Block Club, Laborers’ Union Local 1191, Lakeshore Engineering, Lewis & Thompson Ins. Agency, Moneta Energy, LLC, Motown Historical Museum, New Center Community Services, Northwestern High School, Northwestern HS Alumni Assoc., POWERlink, Sobriety House, Tabernacle M.B. Church, Union Grace M.B. Church, Virginia Park/HFH Non-Profit Housing Corp., Woodrow Wilson Block Club.

Major Partners and Supporters:  Boulevard Temple, Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD), Detroit Department of Historic Designation, Doing Development Differently in Detroit (D4), Equitable Detroit Coalition (EDC), Dykema Law Firm, Freshwater Future, Ford Motor Company Office of General Counsel, Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Kristine Miranne, Ph.D., Consultant to Non-Profits, (pro bono), Lawrence Technological University Dept. of Architecture, Michigan Community Resources (MCR), Michigan State University Dept. of Horticulture, National Conference of Artists Detroit Chapter, Perkins Law Group (pro bono), Sobriety House, Southwest Economic Solutions, Harold Stack, Labor and Workplace Training Consultant (pro bono), Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice (pro bono), UAW Ford.

As a volunteer organization with no paid staff, it would be impossible to conduct business, plan events and execute projects and programs, without our many dedicated members and friends, i.e. office space provided by New Center Community Services enables us to have working space for WGBC volunteers and Board members.  Collaboration with Sobriety House has resulted in the WGBC-Sobo Joint Venture that employs local residents.  Finalized this year, the Joint Venture was accomplished thanks to the pro bono legal services of Dykema (Rochelle Lento, Esq.) and Ford Motor Company Legal Counsel (Kyle Sandefur, Esq.) who also helped the WGBC update bylaws and organizational structure, and obtain exclusive rights to our names and logo.  Their service is being provided through a program offered by Michigan Community Resources (MCR) with the support of Dykema, Ford Motor Company Legal Counsel, and the many legal professionals who understand the value and necessity of insuring legal representation for those who might otherwise be deprived of appropriate and necessary legal services.  Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice (John Philo, Esq.) and the Perkins Law Group (Todd R. Perkins, Esq., and Nikkiya Branch, Esq.), are among this important cohort of socially responsible legal professionals who offer pro bono services to the WGBC and others like the Equitable Detroit Coalition that is a stalwart ally in our mutual fight for equity in community development.

The WGBC Pipeline for Job Seekers and Entrepreneurs was established to connect local residents with employment and business opportunities, and we are pleased to report a new collaboration with Southwest Economic Solutions (Maureen Sheahan and Angela Rayford) to access additional job training, personal finance management and employment opportunities through their resources and relationships, including Focus Hope.

The WGBC is embarking on an exciting new collaboration with the National Conference of Artists Detroit Chapter, (Shirley Woodson), WGBC members, MBAD African Bead Museum (Olayami Battles), Irwin Art Gallery (Valerie Irwin), and the Detroit Department of Historic Designation (Janese Chapman), to develop projects and programs in advance of the opening of the West End Detroit Welcome Center + Art and Culture Gallery.  The Welcome Center will preserve and promote the art, culture and heritage of our West End Detroit (WEdetroit) neighborhoods – Northwestern Goldberg, LaSalle Gardens, Virginia Park.

Mr. Jimmy Settles and UAW Ford have committed to providing resources to secure a building for the Welcome Center, or land upon which the Welcome Center can be constructed.  This commitment is a part of their much larger plan to beautify and serve our neighborhood, as evidenced by renovated Boulevard islands between Poe and Churchill Streets.  (HFHS is renovating islands in front of Henry Ford Hospital.)

The Letter of Understanding signed in May, 2014, by both WGBC/WGBC3 and HFHS/Developers (Kirco Manix and Cardinal Health), has resulted in a commitment by HFHS to make available Human Resources staff to present at WGBC Pipeline Workshops and place attendees of these workshops on a “pathway to employment at HFHS” for positions for which attendees qualify.  The “pathway” will include “advance notice” for openings that fit the resumes of attendees.  The first HR presentation at a WGBC Pipeline Workshop was November 4, 2015, and a follow-up session has been scheduled at One Ford Place for those who attended.  We carry on with the hope that this is the beginning of a long relationship that will produce good employment for the WGBC3 community and good employees for HFHS.  WGBC/WGBC3 have no promising reports regarding Cardinal Health and Kirco Manix but, as always, we are steadfast in service to equity in community development.

 

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Thank You
WGBC wishes to thank its Supporting and Sustaining members:

Detroit Area Agency on Aging
Henry Ford Hospital

See a full list of our Member Organizations
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