Community gardens, a Cinco de Mayo festival, basketball equipment and sidewalk art reproductions 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. 

Nine organizations providing services to Sandwich/west Windsor and Delray/Southwest Detroit will receive investments ranging from $5650 (CDN) to $25000 (CDN) to support events, programming and small infrastructure improvements.  





Recipient Organizations:

Art Windsor-Essex: Look Again! Outside - $20,000: 
Funding will support expansion of the ‘Look Again! Outside’ project into Sandwich. The project will provide a selection of five-to-eight life-sized reproductions of artworks from the AWE collection that are relevant to the history of the Sandwich neighbourhood and will include an in-person and virtual public tour.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul – Windsor Essex Central Council: Caring Hearts Food Bank - $10,000: 
Funding will support enhancements to the current structure of the Food Bank including paving the pathway and the provision/installation of a retractable canvas canopy. 

Les Amis Duff-Bâby: Green Space Reclamation/Jesuit Pear Grove Conservation - $7,650:
Funding provided will be used to reclaim the former garden area/orchard of the Duff-Bâby Mansion. 

Sandwich Teen Action Group: Outdoor Basketball Hoops - $6,700: 
Funding will support the purchase and installation of two new outdoor basketball hoops behind the STAG facility where youth and community can play at their leisure. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters Windsor Essex: BBBS Big Sandwich Afterschool Program - $5,650: 
Funding will support the purchase of furniture and/or AV equipment for the Group Mentoring Room at Mackenzie Hall to provide a welcoming place for youth. 

Urban Neighborhood Initiatives: Creative Placemaking in Southwest Detroit - $25,000:
Funding is being provided for the Creative Placemaking programming – The Land Stewardship Program. This is to support the implementation of two community gardens, an outdoor kitchen, art installations and an outdoor gathering space on four vacant lots in Springwells.

Friends of the Rouge: Fort Street Bridge Park Multi-Purpose Trailhead Phase II - $10,000:
Funding will support the effort to establish a water trail on the Lower Rouge River, the creation of final design, construction documents, and/or permitting for Fort Street Bridge Park Phase II, that includes an accessible kayak launch. 

We Are Culture Creators: Fiesta Detroit Cinco De Mayo Festival - $7,500: 
Funding will support a music, art, and cultural festival for residents of Southwest Detroit on Cinco De Mayo in 2023. 

Livernois 2 Clark Neighborhood Association: Livernois 2 Clark Neighbor Connections - $7,500: 
Funding will support twelve community-building activities and events including Motor City Makeover, Holiday Lights Competition, a fall block party, and information sharing meetings.

“The Gordie Howe International Bridge project team is proud to see initiatives from the Community Benefits Plan having a positive and lasting impact on the host communities – the very communities that inspired and shaped the plan itself,” said Bryce Phillips, CEO, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. “Only through listening to and collaborating with local residents and representatives are we able to ensure the Community Benefits Plan is responsive to the communities’ priorities.”




About the Community Organization Investment 
The Community Organization Investment is a five-year annual investment allowance with $50,000 (CDN) allocated to registered non-profit or charitable organizations located in or serving residents in Sandwich/west Windsor and Delray/Southwest Detroit respectively. The funds support events, programming and infrastructure improvements that will benefit the communities and align with one of the community investment priorities identified through public consultation.

The application process ran from November 2021 through January 2022 and resulted in 28 eligible submissions. The project’s Local Community Group, comprised of stakeholders from the host communities, played a significant role in reviewing the applications and providing recommendations to the project team.
As part of this initiative, community organizations can apply annually for funding for events, programming and infrastructure improvements in amounts ranging from $1,000 - $25,000 (CDN). The application process for the 2023 funding cycle is anticipated to open in November 2022.