NBA Champion & MSU Spartan
Real Estate Developer & Philanthropist
Economist, Columbia University
President, Rockefeller Foundation
Actress & Comedian
For the fourth annual Homecoming, all anyone wanted to talk about was the location. With the assistance of the Maroun family, the kickoff dinner took place in the Michigan Central Depot train station in Corktown. Long a symbol of the city’s decline, the train station was once again aglow, lit up from the outside by a moving light show. The 400 guests inside were treated to tours of the building, including an eye-popping view from the station’s 13th floor. Mayor Mike Duggan presented former Detroit resident Lily Tomlin with a key to the city and a lifetime achievement award, and she shared entertaining stories of her youth in the city. Multimedia artist Mike Ellison returned to the event with a new video, and celebrated artist Charles McGee was honored for his lifetime of creativity.
Two more days of networking and conversation followed, with a memorable panel on Friday on the lasting legacy of 1967 that included panelists Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Detroit school board member Misha Stallworth, and City of Detroit Planning Director Maurice Cox. The theme for 2017 was “Reaching Out, Reconnecting, and Inspiring,” and the neighborhood immersion tours of Brightmoor, Central High School neighborhood, and Livernois/Six Mile prompted lively conversations about the importance of street-level engagement and cooperative investing.
As with previous years, Homecoming saw major investments from returning Detroiters in their city. The Urban Entrepreneur Showcase pitch competition, inspired by Urban Science CEO Jim Anderson, granted four start-ups in the city $10,000 each to build on their ideas. Anderson also donated $25 million to the Wayne State College of Engineering. Former Donna Karan CEO Jeffrey Aronson also announced a real Homecoming: he plans to move back to Detroit and launch a comprehensive clothing design and production center here in the city.