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Press Release


Contact:

Kathleen Achtenberg, MEDC
517.335.4590
achtenbergk@michigan.org

Edward Ponti
Architect/Volunteer-Auntie Na’s
313.977.0379
egponti@gmail.com                                                                              

Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
734.669.6317; C: 810.874.1073
mbach@mml.org; www.mml.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 5, 2020

Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for 'A Nutrition House for Auntie Na's Village' in Detroit

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative

LANSING, Mich. – A community kitchen and gathering space will become a part of Auntie Na’s Village in Detroit through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and local nonprofit Auntie Na’s announced today. The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by April 5, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit: patronicity.com/nas.

“The Nutrition House at Auntie Na’s Village is a community-led development that will create a space for neighbors to gather and grow,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “We are happy to support community anchors such as this and their placemaking efforts through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

Sonia Brown, better known as Auntie Na, has opened her house and her heart for those in need in her neighborhood on the Westside of Detroit for years. In 2010 Auntie Na created the nonprofit Auntie Na’s to provide a pillar of support and survival for those left unprotected by traditional services and to promote health and wellbeing in her community. The work of the nonprofit began the development of Auntie Na’s Village, providing a warm space to share meals and to connect with neighbors, and a safe place for children and families to play and learn.

Through this campaign Auntie Na’s will deliver transformative change by completely rehabbing an abandoned house on the block and adapting it as a nutrition center. Building on an existing partnership with the Wayne State School of Medicine, who staff a free clinic in an adjacent house once abandoned and now rehabbed by Auntie Na's, the group will be able to provide a holistic and targeted approach to community health. The goal is to radically reimagine how health and nutrition services are delivered in Detroit's “food deserts.”

“We at Auntie Na's are extremely excited to be utilizing the PSCP program, which will allow us to complete the rehab and construction of our Nutrition House on Detroit's West Side. Auntie Na has worked tirelessly for over a decade to provide essential family services to residents of her neighborhood on Detroit's West Side, and the Nutrition House will be a major step towards realizing a wrap-around community wellness program,” said Edward Ponti, volunteer at Auntie Na’s. “Now more than ever, there is a need for innovative, targeted, and holistic solutions to solving health and nutrition problems in Detroit, and with the benefit of this funding and the support of our partners at the Wayne State School of Medicine, we know we can deliver this change.”

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity, in which local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at https://patronicity.com/puremichigan.

“Revitalizing neighborhoods is key to great placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and
executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “This nutrition center will contribute to the
health of the entire neighborhood as well as the people who are welcomed in by its community
Services.”

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with MEDC providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of Jan. 31, 2020, MEDC has provided nearly $7.3 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 233 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $8.4 million raised from 43,159 individual donors.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: FacebookInstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Michigan Municipal 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 mml.org.

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