Over a year ago, the Detroit Regional Chamber and five other civic and business organizations came together to form a new and unprecedented initiative called One D: Transforming Regional Detroit, with Edsel B. Ford II as its lead champion. In this interview, Ford shares his thoughts with the Detroiter on One D's progress to date and where it is heading in the future.
In general rather than specific terms, how has the One D initiative succeeded to date?
Ford: In the past 18 months, we have adopted the five priorities that were identified by the public. We have established objectives for each priority that support the One D vision; we have established and continue to work on developing short-term strategies that will support this work. We are continuing to retrieve baseline data and data that shows our progress or lack there of in these areas. We have established an office for One D activities and a full-time director to help coordinate this process. We have also begun the process of bringing in other people and organizations that are working on these issues to partner with us. Finally, we have connected to several groups that have asked us for support and encouragement as they embark on their own collaborative initiatives.
What is one example you would point to that illustrates how collaboration because of One D is producing positive results for the Region?
We have seen some great collaborative efforts take place between the One D founding organizations. However, what has been most striking is that there have been a number of collaborations that have been created that point to One D as their inspiration. Particularly, we have seen an alliance formed among the family services organizations within the tri-county area that point to One D as their role model for working collaboratively to increase their ability to serve more families and to cost cut through aggregated purchasing. In addition, we have seen other groups, such as the Mechanical Contractors' Association, make a conscious effort to show how their work impacts progress toward the One D priorities. So rather than stating how they have done over the past year in their own work, they have reached out to us to say that they are thinking and acting in such a way as to increase progress in race relations, educational preparedness and economic prosperity through their own programming and services.
Going forward, what are the greatest challenges One D faces in achieving...