Detroit Partnership and the University of Michigan
The Detroit Partnership provides University of Michigan students with opportunities to volunteer in Detroit through weekly programs and the university’s largest service-learning event, Detroit Partnership Day.
This event, also known as DP Day, first took place in 2000 as a way for students to participate in community service projects in Detroit. Katie Foley, the Detroit Partnership’s founder, wanted to fulfill the lack of service opportunities for students in Detroit, so she brainstormed a variety of projects with another U-M student, Sara Rowe. Together, they created a student organization on campus responsible for planning a day filled with service projects for students.
They focused on the Brightmoor neighborhood in northwest Detroit, an area with a median income of $16,010 and 44% of its residents living below the poverty level. On the first ever DP Day, over 400 students worked at 32 different sites in Brightmoor planting trees, cleaning parks, and engaging in a variety of other service activities.
Since it’s founding, the Detroit Partnership has expanded in numbers and now works with both the Brightmoor and Southwest communities. There are also countless weekly service programs in which students can get involved, including tutoring elementary school students, teaching dance lessons, and mentoring community children. The Detroit Partnership even works with student groups to organize one-time volunteer events with one of their community partners.
The organization has also dedicated itself to the idea of service-learning, incorporating a strong education component to the organization.
The Detroit Partnership is one of the largest student organizations at the University of Michigan. Now, more than 1,500 students participate each year, either in DP Day or in the Detroit Partnership’s weekly service programs.
They have made an immense impact not only on Detroit communities, but also on the university students who are passionate about volunteering, service programs, and giving back to their communities.