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The Gilbert Family Foundation Commits $1.8M to jobs and ‘The Greening of Detroit’

The Gilbert Family Foundation Commits $1.8 Million to Support Access to Jobs and Green Spaces for Detroiters through the Greening of Detroit.
Three-year commitment is the largest private philanthropic gift ever for The Greening of Detroit.
Three-year commitment is the largest private philanthropic gift ever for The Greening of Detroit.Comprehensive investment includes support for community engagement, tree planting, workforce development and programming. Announcement was made during a graduation ceremony for Greening of Detroit’s “Detroit Conservation Corps” program. (Photo Courtesy: The Greening of Detroit)

Detroit, March 28, 2024 – The Gilbert Family Foundation today announced a $1.8 million, three-year investment in The Greening of Detroit to strengthen the organization’s impact in Detroit. The announcement was made at a special ceremony honoring 22 new graduates of The Greening of Detroit’s signature workforce development program, the Detroit Conservation Corps. 

“Tree canopy is critical for reducing pollution, mitigating heat and creating safe, walkable streets,” said Laura Grannemann, Executive Director, Gilbert Family Foundation. “Unfortunately, we often see a disproportionate lack of green spaces in predominantly Black communities. This partnership addresses that head on by creating job opportunities while increasing access to quality green spaces in Detroit.”

The Gilbert Family Foundation’s investment will ensure more equitable access to quality green spaces in Detroit, create jobs for Detroit residents, connect youth to educational opportunities and enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods throughout the city.

The $1.8 million program, which represents the largest private philanthropic donation in The Greening of Detroit’s history, is comprised of four parts:

  • Workforce Development:  12 cohorts of at least 200 trainees will go through the six-week Detroit Conservation Corps (DCC) workforce training program as tree artisans and landscaping technicians.  Approximately 60% of DCC trainees are returning citizens, who face considerable employment barriers due to their incarceration. The Greening of Detroit boasts an 85% job placement rate for DCC trainees and aims to have at least 70% retain employment for up to a year.  
  • TreeKeepers Kids:   140 youth will experience outdoor and indoor programming focused on environmental awareness and stewardship. Participants will come from Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) schools and City of Detroit Recreation summer camps.
  • The Shade Salon:  Detroiters will bring their art, science and history knowledge into 12 salon events for discussions about an art project for their community. The outcome will be 7 art projects, one per Detroit District, focused on nature and trees.   
  • Community Tree Planting:  1,000 trees will be planted at locations selected by Detroit residents via applications. 

“I love that we announced this program at a Detroit Conservation Corps workforce development graduation with 22 of our newly trained tree technicians,” said Lionel Bradford, President, The Greening of Detroit. “Good, well-paying jobs are available in this industry, and programs like this will innovatively teach people that nature and trees can have a positive impact in so many ways in every corner of Detroit.”

The investment with The Greening of Detroit is a part of the Gilbert Family Foundation and Rocket Community Fund’s $500 million, 10-year commitment to support equitable opportunity for all Detroit residents.


About the Gilbert Family Foundation
The Gilbert Family Foundation is a private nonprofit foundation founded by Jennifer and Dan Gilbert to accelerate a cure for neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and build economic opportunity and equity in the city of Detroit. The Gilbert Family Foundation supports groundbreaking, cutting-edge research in hopes of eradicating NF1, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves anywhere in the body. Additionally, the Foundation supports the economic stability and mobility of residents in Detroit by investing in wealth-building opportunities and breaking down systemic barriers. For more information on the Gilbert Family Foundation, please visit
About The Greening of Detroit
The Greening of Detroit is a nonprofit organization focused on enhancing the quality of life for Detroiters by planting trees, providing job training and involving our youth in the education of the natural environment. They involve Detroiters in the process through community engagement, green spaces, education, and jobs. Since 1989, The Greening of Detroit has planted over 147,000+ trees throughout the City of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. For more information, visit
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