Durfee Innovation Society

2019 Project

The Vision for our 2019 Six Day Project (August 5 – 10) Includes:

  • Clearing every blighted alleyway within a four square mile geography surrounding the Durfee Innovation Society (Aug 5 – 10)
  • Avengers Youth Mentoring Summer Camp for 150 K-8 students (Aug 5 – 9)
  • Basketball Camp for middle and high school students led by the nationally renowned organization The Family (Aug 5 – 9)
  • Family Fun Day with activities, horseback riding, carnival games and the largest bounce house in the world (Aug 10)

As 2019 marks the 52nd year anniversary of the 1967 Detroit uprising, Life Remodeled and our partners continue to invest in the neighborhood surrounding Central High School and the Durfee Innovation Society, in the community where Detroit’s civil unrest began. Our collective impact serves not only as a powerful commemoration of the progress that has been made, but also the progress we continue to strive toward.

In the past, Life Remodeled made only one year investments into neighborhoods, however in 2017 we decided to commit a minimum of four years per community. Therefore, we will remain focused on the Durfee/Central community until at least the year 2020. 

In 2017, we:

  • began renovating and repurposing the former Durfee Elementary Middle School building (adjacent to Central High School) into the Durfee Innovation Society
  • repaired 53 homes
  • mobilized 11,032 volunteers in six days
  • boarded up 534 vacant houses
  • removed blight on 367 blocks

During our 2018 Six Day Project, we mobilized 10,397 volunteers on the same blocks, but went beyond blight removal. In response to the vision and requests of students and community residents, we:

  • Beautified 316 city blocks
  • Boarded up 396 houses
  • Cleared 102 alleyways
  • Planted more than 700 trees, shrubs and perennials
  • Built 2 community gardens and upgraded 4 more
  • Installed 20 Little Free Libraries along Safe Routes
  • Designated the safest routes to Durfee and Central schools with artwork
  • Installed 3 new bus shelters
  • Installed 5 grills and picnic tables at neighborhood parks
  • Installed 2 sets of bleachers for the Central High School softball field
  • Added neighborhood signage
  • Significantly improved Central High School’s football facilities and equipment (renovated the press box that had been vandalized, repaired the home bleachers and handicap ramps, installed a new scoreboard, and helped get new uniforms and equipment for the team and headsets for the coaches)

Durfee Innovation Society

The Durfee Innovation Society (DIS) exists to create substantial and impactful opportunities for Detroit children, families and single adults, while advancing collaboration among the eight major sectors (arts, business, education, faith-based, government, human services, media and philanthropy) in both the city and its surrounding suburbs.

Life Remodeled has repurposed the former Durfee Elementary-Middle school building into the “Durfee Innovation Society,” which is a hub of opportunity for children, students and adults. Instead of creating new programs ourselves, we created a dynamic space for the best and brightest nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies to move in, share resources and achieve greater collective impact. In partnership with students and community leaders, our new tenants move the needle on educational outcomes and community revitalization. They provide innovative approaches to education, employment, support for entrepreneurs and various social services. In order to be a tenant inside the DIS, organizations must enrich the human spirit of Detroiters by achieving at least one of the following:

  1. implementing real world educational opportunities for youth and/or children
  2. creating significant workforce development and employment opportunities for youth and/or adults
  3. supporting and cultivating entrepreneurism
  4. providing a nonprofit service

Address + DIS Website

The Durfee Innovation Society is located at 2470 Collingwood St, Detroit, MI 48206 and you can visit the website here. 

Our Approach to Sustainability