We tackle critical challenges that support the people of Detroit and its surrounding communities.
Detroit: an iconic American city where many of our alumni, students, faculty, and staff live, access rich cultural and civic activities, and work toward the public good.
The systemic challenges facing primarily Black and brown neighborhoods—health and economic inequalities, not enough jobs, and unsafe infrastructure— are well-documented. Less well-known is the resiliency of the people who have formed block clubs, neighborhood associations, community gardens, and more. Long-term residents of Detroit have defied their circumstances and forced real, grassroots change for their city.
Well-trained, collaborative policymakers are vital to supporting changes that build on Detroit’s proud history, and create a more just, inclusive future.
Driven by our values of community, respect, and inclusion, our work in Detroit is place-based, relevant, and collaborative. We partner with city and county agencies, philanthropic organizations, businesses, neighborhood groups, and nonprofits. We conduct rigorous research and engage with the people from around the city.
Our research centers, faculty, and staff carefully build partnerships based on mutual respect and reciprocal learning with policy communities. Through these partnerships, we cultivate a range of ever-growing opportunities — coursework, internships, consulting, and research — so Ford School students at all levels are involved in public policy and social justice efforts that are helping transform the Motor City.
Prior to joining Poverty Solutions, Cooney worked as a policy associate at Michigan Future, Inc. (MFI), where he contributed research, policy analysis, and writing to MFI projects focused on influencing state economic and education policies. At MFI, Patrick also managed the college success program for the Michigan Future Schools initiative, which funded and supported new college-prep high schools in Detroit.