Youth sports, a Cinco de Mayo festival, rainbow pavement paintings and food for unhomed individuals are just a few of the projects funded by this year’s Community Organization Investment (COI) fund, an initiative of the Gordie Howe International Bridge Community Benefits Plan.

Fourteen organizations providing services to Sandwich/west Windsor and Delray/Southwest Detroit will receive investments ranging from $4,000 (CDN) to $25,000 (CDN) to support events, programming, and small infrastructure improvements. The total investment for this year’s projects is $200,000 (CDN).

“The Gordie Howe international Bridge project team is excited to announce the diverse and meaningful initiatives receiving funding this year. By providing more support to our community partners through the increased investment amount, we’re able to create even better outcomes for our neighbours living in Sandwich/west Windsor and Delray, Southwest Detroit.”

- Heather Grondin, Vice President, Corporate Affairs and External Relations - Windsor- Detroit Bridge Authority

“Bridging North America would like to congratulate the recipients of this year’s Community Organization Investment funding. This yearly initiative is very important as it allows smaller groups to receive funding for grassroots activities and programs. We look forward to seeing the impact it will have in both communities.”
- Michael Hatchell, CEO, Bridging North America

Recipient Organizations

Canadian Organizations

Journey Home Hospice Windsor, Saint Elizabeth Foundation: Enhancing Quality of Life - $25,000

Funding will provide opportunities for patients experiencing homelessness and vulnerable housing to access the healing benefits of art and music therapies during their end-of-life journeys.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Funding: Noise Reduction at the Helping Hands Friendship Centre - $20,000

Funding will support the installation of a drop ceiling at the Helping Hands Friendship Centre to enable program participants to feel comfortable sharing their stories in a more private, safe environment.

Les Amis Duff-Bâby: Green Space Reclamation - $16,000

Funding will support the reclamation of the former garden area/orchard of the Bâby and Beasley families. This work includes improving the grading, removing or relocating materials, reinstating the lawn, tree maintenance and control of invasive species.

Alzheimer Society of Windsor and Essex County: Bridging the Gap: The Sandwich Dementia Series - $15,000

Funding will support hosting three public events in Sandwich/west Windsor to share relevant information on Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Events will include qualified guest speakers sharing up-to-date research, information and best practices on caring for people living with dementia.

Windsor/Essex County Humane Society: Spaying and Neutering Community Cats in Sandwich - $10,000

Funding will support the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society to support the spay and neuter program for community cats in Sandwich, helping to control the community cat population and improving the environment for residents as well as their owned cats.

Border City Athletics Club: Women Can Summit - $8,500

Funding will support a multi-day, three-part series that encourages and empowers Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) young women in coaching, mentorship and leadership in sports.

John McGivney Children’s Centre: Rainbow Paintings in Pavement - $5,500

Funding will support painting two pavement areas at the John McGivney Children’s Centre in the colours of the Progressive Rainbow Flag in honour of the LGBTQ2S+ community to celebrate equality, inclusion and compassion and signal that all diversities are safe and welcome.

US Organizations

Community Health and Social Services (CHASS): CHASS Mercado Summer Program - $25,000

Funding will support a new produce voucher program will be included in the Mercado summer program helping Southwest Detroit households to access fresh and culturally appropriate food at a discounted rate as well as offering culturally inclusive on-site cooking classes for youth.

Capturing Belief: The Southwest Detroit Portrait Studio - $21,000

Southwest Detroit youth will be mentored to learn the basics of operating a photography business through a series of pop-up studios where mentees will photograph and gift free family portraits to Southwest Detroit residents. The family portraits will be incorporated into a public mosaic exhibited in Southwest Detroit.

Trinity St. Mark’s Pantry and Gardens: Food for Unhomed Individuals - $15,000

Funding will help to provide lunches to unhomed individuals three times weekly. Funding will also be used to provide shelf stable, fresh, or frozen food to local residents.

Mexican Patriotic Committee of Metro Detroit: Cinco De Mayo Parade and Fiesta - $13,000

Funding will support the 2024 Cinco de Mayo Parade and Fiesta in Detroit, part of a weekend program filled with local entertainment and artisans.

Hispanic Police Officers’ Association of Michigan-Detroit Chapter: Grants for Youth Sports in Southwest Detroit - $12,000

Funding will support grants for Southwest Detroit youth who desire to participate in group sports but face financial challenges to participate. Grants can be used to subsidize team registrations, fees, equipment, uniforms, travel and related expenses.

Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition: Delray-Southwest Engagement and Family Days - $10,000

Funding will be provided to support outreach efforts and deliver programming at the Delray Neighborhood House through new Family Activity and Support Days, the purchase of sports equipment for the center and providing regular public access to the computer room and library.

Clark Park Coalition: Summer Program Kickoff and Winter Carnival - $4,000

Funding will support the 2023 Summer Program Kickoff and the 2024 Winter Carnival. The events will include programming and activities in Clark Park, enrollment of community youth in recreational programming and recruiting residents to engage in community service projects throughout the year.

About the Community Organization Investment

The Gordie Howe International Bridge project is a once-in-a-generation undertaking. Not only will the project deliver much-needed transportation improvements for international travellers, but it is also providing jobs and opportunities for growth to the Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan region. A key project element is the inclusion of a Community Benefits Plan which includes the Workforce Development and Participation Strategy and the Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy.

The $20 million Neighbourhood Infrastructure Strategy of the Community Benefits Plan includes the Community Organization Investment, an annual commitment to provide a $200,000 (CDN) investment allowance for community organizations located in or serving Sandwich/west Windsor or Delray/Southwest Detroit (the host communities). Funds are provided between 2020 and 2024 to support events, programming and/or infrastructure improvements that benefit the host communities and align with one of the community investment priorities, including: community partnerships, community safety and connections, economic benefits, and/or aesthetics and landscaping. Community organizations can apply annually for funding for events, programming and infrastructure improvements in amounts ranging from $1,000 - $25,000 (CDN).

From November 2022 to January 2023, registered non-profit and charitable organizations were invited to apply for the program’s fourth year of funding. Thirty-six eligible applications were reviewed, scored, and prioritized by members of the Local Community Group, which includes 16 stakeholders representing various perspectives from Windsor and Detroit. The prioritized applications were reviewed by senior project representatives from Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA), Bridging North America (BNA) and the state of Michigan to determine funding recipients.