Our community of Detroit expats is actively engaged with and invested in the city’s development.
The Detroit Homecoming team has tallied more than $606 million in economic impact from local initiatives and projects led by or invested into by expats after attending Detroit Homecoming.* This figure also includes projects that resulted from local relationships formed at our annual event. Expats have directly invested over $361 million into projects and initiatives in Detroit.
Expat investment and outcomes have resulted in over 1 million square feet of redeveloped real estate and over 1,800 hours of pro-bono volunteer and advisory services. These outcomes have taken place in over 30 neighborhoods and have involved more than 40 nonprofits and initiatives and more than 20 startups and small businesses.
For every dollar invested in Detroit Homecoming, the region enjoys $100 of economic impact. Expats specifically invest $60 for ever 1 dollar invested in the event.
*Expat survey results verified by Detroit Homecoming
Total Regional Financial Impact
Inspiration converts into action, and relationships into engagement
Notable Homecoming Outcomes
In 2016, Steve Ballmer cited Detroit Homecoming as being the catalyst for his interest in Detroit’s revitalization efforts. In 2017, Steve and his wife, Connie Ballmer, opened a Detroit office for the Ballmer Group and hired an executive to manage their philanthropic investments.
In October 2018, the Ballmer Group announced $16 million worth of grant funds that would be allocated to a select number of support groups working in Detroit neighborhoods. In June 2019, the Ballmer Group joined Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in a $12 million 10-city initiative that includes Detroit. In November 2019, it announced a $5.9 million grant to the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
In total, the Ballmer Group has given $98 million to the tri-county region over the last 3 years.
In 2017, Mary Kramer and the Detroit Homecoming team envisioned an opening dinner at the Michigan Central Train station. Just months after the spectacular dinner and Homecoming, the Ford Motor Company announced a purchase of and $90 million investment into transforming the historic building. Matthew Moroun, the former owner of the historic building, cites Detroit Homecoming IV as the catalyst for this transaction.
This $65 million development of Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center on West Grand Boulevard stems from a relationship formed at Detroit Homecoming II between Arn Tellem, vice chairman of Palace Sports and Entertainment and Wright Lassiter, CEO of Henry Ford Health System.
Greatwater Capital was founded in 2019 by Jed Howbert, Roger Ehrenberg, Justin Golden, Jonathan Opdyke and Matt Temkin, with the latter three co-founders all being Detroit Homecoming expat attendees (pictured above left to right). Of the $72 million of Detroit real estate development projects sponsored by Greatwater and its principals, over $45 million has been funded through individual and family office equity investments.
Within those individual investments, $17 million came from Detroit expats, of which $10.8 million came specifically from 26 Detroit Homecoming expat attendees. These investments have helped to fund 21 projects in 6 neighborhoods and have created 25 full-time jobs, including 10 positions held by Detroit residents. 574,000 square feet of real estate projects have been acquired and developed by Greatwater and its principals. The future Greatwater pipeline has over 3.5 million square feet of land and development projects.
Based in Singapore, Graticule Asset Management CIO/Managing Partner/Founder, Adam Levinson announced a major $10.8 million gift to the Detroit Children’s Fund at the inaugural Detroit Homecoming in 2014. The fund provides strategic investment in Detroit neighborhood programs for kids that have shown proven results. The goal is to help those kids succeed so that they, too, will become a part of the city’s turnaround.
Robin McClary boosts fundraising for city’s youth employment initiative
In 2018, Robin McClary worked with Detroit’s Office of Workforce Development in the construction of their Grow Detroit’s YoungTalent program. In addition to $10,000 worth of pro-bono consultation, McClary helped the department to secure a $50,000 grant from the Citi Foundation’s Summer Jobs Connect initiative.
Startup Alerje receives investment through expat Justin Anderson
Subsequent to Javier Evelyn’s participation in Homecoming IV, expat Justin Anderson, who was present for the pitch, invested $25,000 into the Alerje, a food allergy management startup, through his firm, Solidea Capital. In 2019, an FDA-backed accelerator accepted Alerje into its portfolio.
Expat Wendy Hilliard grows gymnastics foundation in Detroit
The Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation, which provides free and low-cost quality gymnastics programming for urban youth, began offering weekly classes through Kemeny Recreation Center. Hilliard’s foundation has served more than 17,000 youth in Harlem and Detroit.
Mickey Bakst launches hospitality workforce development DPSCD pilot
Teach the Need is a hospitality professional development program designed by Mickey Bakst, an expat and restaurateur based in Charlotte, NC. In 2018, Bakst launched a pilot with the Detroit Public Schools Community District. In partnership with DPSCD, Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails, and Selden Standard, 10 students from Osborn High School received training for seven weeks.
Method Development plans $20 million Milwaukee Junction development
Method Development, a firm led by expat Homecoming attendees, Amelia Zamir and Rakesh Lala, has invested over $9.25 million in Milwaukee Junction, Brush Park and Eastern Market.
They are planning $20 million in investment and over 101,000 square feet of development for future projects at 5 different sites in Detroit.
Expat secures AARP marketing project for Motown Museum Anniversary
Through the employer relationship of an expat Homecoming attendee, the American Association of Retired Professionals (AARP) launched a $200,000 marketing and content campaign with Detroit’s Motown Museum in celebration of its 60th anniversary.
Expat Outcome Facts
Fastest Way to Engage
Contribute to a local nonprofit
Local Companies & Organizations
33 engaged by expats
Median and Smallest Charitable Donation
$10,000 & $200
$505,500 worth of expertise
Largest Philanthropic Outcome
$27 million contribution
Largest Small Business Outcome
$1.2 million investment
Who are Expats?
Detroit Homecoming is designed to reconnect former residents with their hometown, inspiring them to use their career success and resources to support the city’s development.