About The Ground Up Project

A community development initiative of the Black Legacy Advancement Coalition

The Ground Up Project is a large-scale effort to revitalize property in one of Detroit’s historic African American neighborhoods, promoting new construction and restoration development within the Dexter/Linwood and LaSalle Gardens communities. The Ali Legacy House is the first project in this real estate rehabilitation effort, and Detroit is the first pilot project in a comprehensive ten-city plan. The next phase of the Detroit pilot is a commercial building, the Black Legacy Advancement Center, less than one block west of the Virginia Park residence. This center will be activated as a transformative business incubator – run both by and for Detroiters.

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About The Ground Up Project

A community development initiative of the Black Legacy Advancement Coalition

The Ground Up Project is a large-scale effort to revitalize property in one of Detroit’s historic African American neighborhoods, promoting new construction and restoration development within the Dexter/Linwood and LaSalle Gardens communities. The Ali Legacy House is the first project in this real estate rehabilitation effort, and Detroit is the first pilot project in a comprehensive ten-city plan. The next phase of the Detroit pilot is a commercial building, the Black Legacy Advancement Center, less than one block west of the Virginia Park residence. This center will be activated as a transformative business incubator – run both by and for Detroiters.

Watch the Film

The Black Legacy
Advancement Center

8339 Linwood Ave
Detroit, Michigan 48206

“A Beacon of Promise”

This commercial space will be named the Black Legacy Advancement Center, and it will be redesigned as a mixed- use facility for both business and living. The BLAC Center will function as “Ground Zero” for the project’s central efforts in the neighborhood. Lodging for select apprentices will be provided, where they will have the dual opportunity to live and learn independently on site, while working responsibly.

Four residential apartments will be renovated on the second level of the Legacy Center facility. We will operate a barber shop in the first commercial space. In the second space, we will operate a take-away food restaurant and catering service, led by a black-American chef restaurateur. A full-service kitchen will be secured to make this space functional. During this two-year period, apprentices living in the facility will receive training in business management, business planning, basic engineering, leadership development, life skills, and other such topics.

The wrap around curriculum and services will help to ensure that participants are equipped with the necessary knowledge to be successful in their own long-term business ventures when graduating the Ground Up Project’s apprenticeship.

The residential spaces above the businesses will house (4) studio apartments, (2) bathrooms, as well as laundry facilities. The commercial property sits on a total of four lots. In the initial phase of development, a portion of the lots will be converted into parking and a garden space, producing fresh produce for the restaurant. In later phases of development, additional apartment units will be built on the additional three lots.

The Ali Legacy House

2420 Virginia Park
Detroit, Michigan 48206

“A Haven of Hope”

The Ali Legacy House is a residential property, named in honor of the late Ishmail Ali. Ishmail is the original inspiration behind the Coalition’s male mentoring group, The Man to Man Project. Man to Man was founded in 2010 by BLAC President Dexter Sullivan, shortly after Ishmail’s passing. Since that time, hundreds of young people have been impacted nationally.

The Ali Legacy House will serve as our first incubator for Detroit’s rising business owners and philanthropists. This space will be used to serve Ground Up apprentices with training and equitable solutions. By providing this affordable housing resource, we will accelerate opportunities for our young people, empowering them to take their future by storm.

The Ali residence is in direct proximity to BLAC’s future Legacy Center, creating an additional layer of support and efficacy for our overall programming.

Apprenticeship Programming

Trained to Make an Impact

Mis·sion

/ˈmiSHən/

Through the Ground Up Project, we will strengthen our relationships and impact in the community while developing the next generation of business leaders in the City of Detroit.

Apprentices will experience a fully integrated model of full spectrum support to ensure that they foster the skills, talents and competencies necessary to thrive intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Each apprentice will walk away from this experience with a fully integrated business plan and the tools necessary to thrive while sustaining themselves and their business.

All applicants are required to complete a rigorous application prior to participation in the Ground Up apprenticeship. Male and Female applicants between the ages 18-25 will be selected from three talent pools – local Detroit talent, applicants representing our partnered ally organizations, and the Coalition’s broader national audience. Selected apprentices will have the opportunity to work in their desired field of choice within the Detroit metroplex at employer partner businesses of the Ground Up Project. Apprentices will live on site for two years. These young adults will be given a unique, dual opportunity to live and learn independently, as well as work responsibly.

As a result of the Ground Up Project’s curriculum, programming, formal learning, and work assigned by industry mentors during the apprenticeship; our young people will be prepared to succeed in their communities, and become strong contributing members of society.

Over time, we will secure additional property in the immediate vicinity of the Black Legacy Advancement Center and Ali Legacy House, to house more young adult participants for programming.

Ground Up Leadership

Dexter Sullivan

Dexter Sullivan

Founder and Lead Operator

13+ years of impact in nonprofit leadership

Extensive expertise in education, business, diversity and inclusion, international relations, sales, marketing, mentoring, and development

Development lead and fundraiser for the Ground Up Project

Oversight of the Ground Up facilities

Ground Up programming support

Tiffany Johnson

Tiffany Johnson

Lead Designer and Facilitator

12+ years of experience as an educator, coach, designer and facilitator

Master’s of Arts Candidate in Clinical Psychology Candidate at Columbia University

Highly skilled at building individual and collective impact by creating spaces of healing and connection

Designs transformative communal experiences to elevate teams and organizations

Partnership

“Give today, where it makes a difference tomorrow.”

Why Partner?

The Ground Up Project presents a unique environment within our urban context. It creates a safe place where seeds of potential can fully germinate in a setting equipped with the proper support and guidance for learning.

Partner with the Ground Up Project today – a community development effort committed to uplifting our communities. Tremendous value is at stake, and we are committed to being a key partner in rebuilding America’s historically Black communities. Consider investing into this pivotal project today!

Be sure to add Ground Up to the comment section to help us direct your gift.

Make all Checks and/or Money Orders out to BLAC.

Mail to:

BLAC
PO Box 32088
Detroit Michigan 48232

Ground Up In the News

Ten City Plan

The Ground Up Project’s Ten City Plan includes expansion to the following Cities:

Jackson, Mississippi

Chicago, Illinois

Austin, Texas

Columbus, Ohio

Birmingham, Alabama

Durham, North Carolina

Los Angeles, California

Baltimore, Maryland

Atlanta, Georgia

Ten City Plan

The Ground Up Project’s Ten City Plan includes expansion to the following Cities:

Jackson, Mississippi

Chicago, Illinois

Austin, Texas

Columbus, Ohio

Birmingham, Alabama

Durham, North Carolina

Los Angeles, California

Baltimore, Maryland

Atlanta, Georgia

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