Founded in 2001 as a 501( c ) 3 nonprofit organization under the name City Connect Detroit by local foundation and civic leaders, Connect Detroit today helps Detroit-area nonprofit organizations and governments work together to solve local problems.

This organization mobilizes much-needed funding so these groups and its constituents can be empowered to reach common goals for the greater good of the community.

Connect Detroit has tackled, and continues to pursue, collaboration opportunities surrounding a variety of issues affecting children, youth, and families. The nonprofit has been instrumental in creating platforms and partnerships for community health and community development initiatives, too.

To-date, the agency has organized, managed, and led more than four dozen community change initiatives and mobilized more than $140 million in support of this work. Several Connect Detroit-driven initiatives became self-sustaining and grew into standalone initiatives outside of Connect Detroit.


Connect Detroit Board of Directors

Dennis J. Clark (Chair)
Dennis J. Clark (Chair)Clark Law Firm, PLLC
Kimberly Trent (Vice-Chair)
Kimberly Trent (Vice-Chair)Labor and Economic Opportunity
Byna Elliott (Treasurer)
Byna Elliott (Treasurer)JP Morgan Chase
Roderick K. Rickman (Secretary)
Roderick K. Rickman (Secretary)Rickman Enterprise Group, LLC
Penny Bailer (Director)
Penny Bailer (Director)Community Activist
Brandon H. Barton, Jr., D.D.S. (Director)
Brandon H. Barton, Jr., D.D.S. (Director)Brandon H. Barton, Jr. Family Dentistry
Rodney E. Cole, Sr. (Director)
Rodney E. Cole, Sr. (Director)DTE Foundation
Linda Orlans (Director)
Linda Orlans (Director)Orlans PC
Tanisha A. Sanders (Director)
Tanisha A. Sanders (Director)ITG Brands
Kevin A. Smith, Esq. (Director)
Kevin A. Smith, Esq. (Director)State of MIchigan
Dale E. Thomso, PhD (Director)
Dale E. Thomso, PhD (Director)University of Michigan

Connect Detroit Staff

Danielle Boone
Danielle BooneExecutive Assistant to the President & CEO/Special Projects Manager
Nikita Buckhoy
Nikita BuckhoySenior Program Director
Dierk L. Hall
Dierk L. HallPresident & CEO
Shuna K. Hayward
Shuna K. HaywardVice President of Programs
Nicole Hill
Nicole HillProgram Director
Jancey Littles
Jancey LittlesIntake & Data Associate
Catherine J. Murray
Catherine J. MurrayFinance & Program Associate
Glenda Myhand
Glenda MyhandVice President of Finance & Administration
Sharron Rose
Sharron RoseFinancial Consultant
Dawn Simmons
Dawn SimmonsProgram Assistant
Rick Sperling
Rick SperlingProgram Director, DEYA
Nafeesah Symonette
Nafeesah Symonette Program Director, DEYA
Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey ThompsonProgram Director


Collaborative Facilitation

Help for cross-sector groups to develop a common agenda, align their work, communicate, use data, advance policy, manage projects, and mobilize funding – especially through cultivation of funding relationships, grant writing, and donor stewardship activities.

Incubation of Innovative Change Initiatives

Fiscal management and technical assistance to innovative community change initiatives with the potential to create positive community impact.

Intermediary Services

Project management, accountability, and sub-granting support to grant makers and other funding organizations with an interest in supporting work in Detroit and Michigan.


Individual training and technical assistance for community-based change initiatives, especially around relationship building, collaboration, and fund development activities.


Become a funding partner.