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Press Release


Matt Bach
Director of Media Relations
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317;


Detroit 'Permit Corps' Concept Among Finalists in Knight Cities Challenge

Proposal Submitted by Michigan Municipal League Foundation


DETROIT, Michigan - A proposed Detroit project submitted by the Michigan Municipal League Foundation is among the finalists in a civic innovation competition called Knight Cities Challenge.

The Knight Foundation has announced the finalists for this year's Knight Cities Challenge--and the Michigan Municipal League Foundation's idea, "Permit Corps" is among them. With over 4,500 ideas submitted in the first round, the 158 finalists who have been invited to submit full proposals include 20 finalists from Detroit. Detroit is tied with Philadelphia for the largest number of finalists and for the second year, Detroit also had the best response to the challenge with 767 total applications.

“The Permit Corps would make it easier to get projects implemented in Detroit by connecting students who can provide free expertise on navigating city regulations and codes to residents who need their services,” said League Foundation President Samantha Harkins in submitting the project.

The Permit Corps would be an intern or fellowship program that would place graduate students in a few neighborhoods in Detroit. They would serve as a combination of technical expert and patient advocate, helping residents and small business owners get projects done, Harkins said.

The proposal is an idea of Richard Murphy, a program coordinator with the Michigan Municipal League.

“Maybe a small business owner needs a site plan to show zoning compliance for an expansion. Perhaps a resident wants to renovate their home in a historic district. Maybe someone wants to have a street art festival. There are any number of ways that the Permit Corps can help in these situations,” Murphy said.

The League Foundation and the other Knight Cities Challenge finalists now have until the end of January to submit full applications and the winners will be announced in spring 2016.

The Michigan Municipal League Foundation is the fundraising arm of the Michigan Municipal League. The League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at

The vision of the Foundation is to help create and maintain vibrant communities in Michigan by funding placemaking projects and through education to community leaders and advocates. We recognize that communities are economic drivers, so the Foundation plays a key role in connecting communities to opportunities to help them grow and thrive.

The Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization.





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