Our Vision for a Prosperous Detroit

In 2009, Michigan’s economy was in the midst of intense crisis: unemployment was at an all-time high of 15.3 percent, our population was on a steep decline, the auto bailout was on the horizon, and the city would soon be entering bankruptcy.  Thanks to some farsighted leaders looking for a bold answer to the city’s decline, the Global Detroit study was commissioned and released in 2010 with transformational strategies for our region.

In the years since, Global Detroit has embarked on an ambitious journey to understand the impact immigrants have on our regional economy, and explore how we can reform our ecosystem to better integrate immigrants and build a more prosperous Detroit for all residents.

“History teaches us that from every major economic crisis, America has emerged stronger, smarter and more innovative—it’s in our DNA . . . It’s that time again. We must write a new chapter in the story of American innovation . . . Many people around the country think that our state is broken, done-for, intellectually bankrupt. We all know otherwise. History teaches us that our future will depend on how quickly, and how well, we innovate and adapt.”

--Patricia Mooradian, President, The Henry Ford “Advancing a Culture of Innovation” Address before the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce Mackinac Island Policy Conference, May 28, 2009

The economic transition Michigan faces to be competitive in the global economy is similar to the one it made a century ago when Detroit lead the nation in innovation, industrial might, and economic prosperity. At that time, more than one third of the city’s population was immigrants who brought talent, innovation, and a diversity of cultures with them. The 2010 report that set Global Detroit on this path details immigrants as being uniquely powerful agents of economic development and transformation in Detroit and across the nation.

No one strategy will, by itself, revitalize the Detroit regional economy. However, nothing is more powerful to remaking Detroit as a center of innovation, entrepreneurship and population growth, than embracing and increasing immigrant populations and the entrepreneurial culture and global connections that they bring and deliver.

More than 100 friends and supporters joined us last month at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Arts in Midtown Detroit for our inaugural Gala to celebrate the last five years of Global Detroit’s development of strategies to tap into immigrants’ talent, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and determination to foster regional job growth and prosperity. We celebrated how far our region has come, and that Detroit has emerged as a leader of in immigrant integration. Most importantly, we celebrated the vision for a unified and prosperous region where all residents of all ethnicities, religions, races, and backgrounds can succeed.

  • Our vision is that a more educated workforce and region is a pathway to prosperity—for all of us.
  • Our vision is that diversity produces more innovation, more resilient companies, more prosperous firms, and a richer quality of life for our region.
  • Our vision is that immigrants bring a passion for the American Dream and a tenacity for achieving it that inspires all of us and makes our communities richer.
  • Our vision is one that welcomes people from all over the world. That knows Metro Detroit can compete best when it embraces its unique historical assets and builds upon them in engaging the global economy, instead of retreating into a 1950s economic structure that can no longer be sustained.

“Now more than ever, it is imperative that we embrace the positive economic impacts immigrants have on local economies and knock down the fears and myths about immigrant’s role in the economy,” said Global Detroit Executive Director Steve Tobocman. “It was gratifying to see so many people here this evening who support this vision, and will stand strong with us as we focus on progress.”



The Gala honored a mighty few who have been a part of this success. DTE Energy and the DTE Energy Foundation received the Corporate Leadership award for its continued support of Global Detroit’s efforts to grow Michigan’s economy through job creation. Rami Fakhoury of Fakhoury Global Immigration accepted the Global Detroit Champion Award for his long-time leadership in immigration law, as well as his continued support of Global Detroit. The Immigrant Entrepreneur Award was given to Iraqi refugee Imad Agh Morad for the success of his company, My Computers and Phones, a retail facility in northwest Detroit.

The Global Detroit Gala was sponsored by Presenting Sponsor Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures, as well as Platinum Sponsor Fakhoury Global Immigration and Llamasoft.

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