DETROIT (WWJ) — Challenge Detroit, a national initiative focused on revitalizing Detroit by retaining and attracting top talent to share their intellectual capital with the city, has launched year three of the program and is now accepting applications for its class of 2014-2015 fellows.

Challenge Detroit provides the opportunity for talented individuals to live, work, play, give and lead over the course of a yearlong program. Challenge Detroit participants work with host companies four days a week and spend the fifth day with non-profits in and around Detroit on challenges designed to positively impact the city and region. Fellows in the first two years of the program have helped promote entrepreneurship, community arts, environmental sustainability and education, among other things.

Challenge Detroit is looking for its next class of innovators. Talent is intentionally sought from a variety of backgrounds in order to create a diverse mix of bright, innovative professionals who want to make an impact on the revitalization of one of the nation’s great cities. Past fellows have come to Challenge Detroit with experiences including top internships and jobs, policy and community development work, and independent business ventures and non-profits.

“The incredibly bright, ambitious and innovative thinkers we draw through Challenge Detroit have the potential to transform the city in lasting ways,” said Challenge Detroit executive director Dierdre Green Groves. “The last two years have exceeded our expectations, as our fellows have gained new insights about the city, while bringing unique skills to their host companies and our partnering non-profits. The response has been overwhelming, and we can’t wait to meet the city’s next set of future leaders.”

Challenge Detroit will select 30 fellows for its next class. They will receive a $36,000 annual salary plus benefits typical of host company, live in Detroit, participate in a leadership development program, and receive benefits such as memberships to various organizations, discounts, event access, and more.

Said Year Two fellow Carlos Spearman: “I was born and raised in Detroit, and I know that this city is about opportunity and evolution. Being a part of Challenge Detroit has allowed me to further give back and realize the future this city has. As a Fellow, I’m paving the way to a new future for Detroit through my job, my work with non-profits and in my day-to-day life.”

Host companies for year three include some of the region’s most innovative corporations and non-profits, including General Motors, CBS Radio, the Detroit Lions, the United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Crestmark Bank. Challenges are focused on making a social impact and will address issues and opportunities in the community.

Challenge Detroit is accepting Phase One applications until Sunday, March 9. The year in Detroit will begin in September. For more information and to apply, visit

Challenge Detroit was launched by The Collaborative Group, a Birmingham-based non-profit dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship. The program partners with the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s
LiveWorkDetroit program.


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