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The Kirwan Institute has been providing technical assistance to the Detroit Civic Engagement Fellows as they work to craft an equitable civic engagement plan for the residents of Detroit and the surrounding region amid the city’s dramatic reorganization. Over the past nine months, the Kirwan Institute has helped plan site visits to communities throughout the country in order to experience new civic engagement models and innovative ideas that may be useful to civic engagement in Detroit. We have also worked to develop a framework for a new model of civic engagement in Detroit by meeting with local officials and community groups and holding work meetings where we address issues such as race and class barriers to opportunity, and reciprocal accountability between government officials and residents. Other issues include engagement with regional and corporate entities, and confronting barriers to building civic capacity in the most marginalized communities. We are in the final stages of crafting a framework and plan of implementation for civic engagement, with plans in place to coordinate these efforts with the larger non-profit and philanthropic civic engagement initiatives in order to create meaningful civic empowerment.

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