Co.act Detroit

Industry Nonprofit Placemaking
Communities Engaged Nonprofit Leadership, Foundations, Intermediary Leadership, University Staff, Representatives of the Mayor's Office
Collaborator(s) Good Done Daily

The concept of a center for nonprofit support was years in the making, and with many hands involved, narrowing in on a shared vision and theory of impact that drives collective thinking about what is possible was critical.

Co.act Detroit will be a place where nonprofits can collaborate and receive services based on their own determination of need. Its physical space, programs, and organizational experience will be informed by the communities it was designed to serve. The Executive Director articulates Co.act Detroit’s underlying goal as creating a more resilient and connected nonprofit community in the region, where peer learning can breed discovery and opportunity.

Co.act occupies a restored 6,500-square-foot space on the first floor of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation building on Woodward Avenue near East Grand Boulevard. EarlyWorks was charged with surfacing meaning and purpose for this first-of-its-kind collaborative--developing an identity, brand strategy, positioning, and a permanent name. Our mission was to develop an identity--and lay the groundwork for--a place that feels welcoming for all organizations, where nonprofits and the Foundation are authentic partners who learn, fail, and transform together.

Community conversations revealed themes, synergies, and tensions, as well as perspectives relative to key offerings, mission, and values. We identified insights around equity, culture change + trust, access, purpose, and programming. These findings helped shape the identity work and continue to inform ongoing development efforts.

Our work with Co.act Detroit continues as we have been tasked with:

  • Developing brand assets

  • Launching and rolling out the brand strategy

  • Cementing the positioning

  • Cultivating the culture of welcoming inclusion and access


“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves won’t be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.”

—Daniel Burnham, architect & designer of the Dime, Ford, Majestic and David Whitney Buildings

Engagement Summary:

Click below to see highlights from our community engagement work.