Impact Projects

Detroit R&B’s Impact Projects provide Ross students with the unique opportunity to work with a Detroit non-profit for a seven-week consulting/design-thinking project, solving real problems to deliver impact.

Past partners have come from a variety of industries, ranging from education to entrepreneurship to neighborhood development. Impact Project teams consist of 5-6 students and are a venue to practice client engagement, consulting project management, and problem-solving through design-thinking. Each year, the projects culminate in a presentation to the clients, followed by a celebration open to others students and community members at the Impact Conference.

Past Partner & Project Descriptions

     8 mile

The Eight Mile Boulevard Association (8MBA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization with a mission of facilitating collaboration between community and government stakeholders on public and private sector projects to improve the revitalization of Eight Mile Road corridor. 8MBA has sponsored multiple Detroit Impact projects in recent years, and this year they are requesting support for a feasibility and execution study regarding the pooling of community resources for public and private goods. Individual businesses currently pay vendors for services such as security, information technology, landscaping, snow plowing, and trash removal. There is an opportunity to receive higher quality services at lower costs through a shared service program. The Detroit Impact team will examine current spending amounts, analyze potential services to include and potential savings, and develop a plan of execution. More information can be found at


Central Detroit Christian (CDC) is a non-profit community development corporation in the central Woodward Avenue corridor of Detroit. They provide educational, economic development, and employment opportunities in order to help individuals in the community reach their highest potential. The CDC Farm & Fishery, an aquaponics farm, is one of ten CDC businesses. The organization is requesting support for this year-old business as they reassess their business plan, budget and cash flow projections, and market viability. The Detroit Impact team will help CDC with this reassessment and determine what additional sources of funding would be necessary to help the business meet their strategic goals. More information can be found at


The Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI) is a non-profit organization that imagines, designs, and delivers programs to help people become more creative and innovative in how they think and learn. Their mission is to create academically excellent small schools and learning programs through community partnership as they prepare individuals to succeed in college and pursue careers. HFLI is developing an authentic, outcomes-based program for youth entrepreneurship and social innovation called Innovation Springboard and is requesting support as they work to strengthen and scale the program. The initiative already has an 18-month timeline for pilot testing in Detroit, MI and San Antonio, TX that will help develop entrepreneurial and social innovation skills in urban minority youth and young adults. The Detroit Impact team will help HFLI understand potential partnership opportunities in Detroit, identify sources of community support, establish the infrastructure needed to track program success, and analyze the pilot data to identify highlights and suggest refinements. More information can be found at


MACC Development is a division of the Mack Avenue Community Church (MACC), a 501(c)(3) community development organization concentrating on the development of the lower east side of Detroit’s 48214 community. MACC Development is requesting support for their Mack Avenue Business Corridor Master Plan, a feasibility study focused on assessing anchor businesses for the economic corridor in order to provide meaningful employment opportunities for the local community. By assessing the demographics, potential sustainable business solutions, and drafting an action plan for community stakeholders, the Detroit Impact team will help MACC and the community establish their five to ten year plan for the corridor. More information can be found at


Southwest Solutions is a non-profit organization that provides a broad range of programs in the areas of human development, economic development, and community engagement. Southwest Economic Solutions (a sub entity of Southwest Solutions) is looking to launch a business incubator/coworking space, with a focus on assisting Detroit based entrepreneurs and startups with launching their ventures. Southwest Economic Solutions currently runs a Detroit Entrepreneurship Program that has graduated 400 participants since its inception. To further assist these entrepreneurs with starting up, they are looking to make a business case to their sister organization (Southwest Housing Solutions) for obtaining a property to develop into the business incubator/coworking space mentioned above. The team will assist by analyzing the portfolio of businesses currently being developed and determining which ones would make the most efficient use of the space and have the greatest potential to succeed.  More information can be found at


REDICO is a Metro-Detroit based commercial real estate developer and investor that owns, manages, develops, and invest in real estate projects primarily in the Midwest. The organization is requesting support in their assessment of senior households in Detroit to include housing communities such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities. The Detroit Impact team will look at industry trends to include the factors that would draw seniors to relocate in Detroit and the importance of proximity to medical care and family. By exploring current options in the Detroit area, the team will help REDICO identify potential real estate opportunities and next steps for senior housing. More information can be found at

Detroit CompPrep is a new student-run program at the Ross School of Business that supports Detroit entrepreneurs in finding and preparing for local, regional and national business competitions. CompPrep aims to increase the likelihood that Detroit entrepreneurs win business competitions in order to gain grant awards for their start-ups. This project will help build the foundational structure for the organization to include the public-facing website and detailed database of applicable business competitions, as well as aid pre-identified entrepreneurs through the competition preparation program and help them win in their next business competition.


Detroit HorsePower is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that believes Detroit youth can develop personal and social character skills by interacting with the power and sensitivity of horses. Currently, Detroit HorsePower is bringing local youth to partnering horse barns for a five-day summer camp outside of the city.; approximately 150 youth will participate in 2017. DHP’s current mission, though, is to re-purpose some of Detroit’s vacated land in order to create a horseback riding center. This center will provide year-round support for youth programs while strengthening the community. More information can be found here:


FoodPLUS Detroit strives to facilitate and create a more sustainable metropolitan food system. Through innovation, research and experimentation, they hope to create a new system that is economically prosperous, globally connected, socially just and efficiently sourced. FoodPLUS Detroit hopes to do this by creating communication tools to engage a variety of stakeholders into dialogue about food waste, food waste collection and composting. The team preformed an analysis of farm staff, the community, current and potential partners and potential funding resources. Through their work, the team has created a plan that will reach out to adults, children and anyone who has access to the web. More information can be found here:


Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation is a non-profit organization located in the vibrant Latino community within Detroit. Their mission is to provide an array of services including: English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, child care, General Education Diploma (GED) classes, creative expression youth programs, a youth college scholarship program and much more. Due to their efforts, the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation serves over 5,000 Detroit residents each year. The team’s objective while they worked with the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation was to get a better understanding of DHDC’s mission in order to create a business plan for a cafe. The team visited the various facilities in the Corktown community to understand how the new business would be able to fit well into this area. Additionally, the team analyzed potential competitors and what competition may look like in the future. More information can be found here:


Nortown Community Development Corporation is a (501)(c)(3) non-profit organization that aims to support a community that is economically sustainable, strong, healthy, diverse an an environmentally desirable place to work, live, shop and play. Their mission is to foster affordable and safe housing options, business retention, educational growth and job opportunities. Ideally, these components wold raise and stabilize impacted neighborhoods economically, environmentally, socially and educationally. For this project, the team studied a 250′ by 350′ lot of land, containing arable land that is free from contaminants in the Nortown community. The goal was to develop this land to achieve maximum community benefit while being economically viable. More information can be found here:

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