“WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY”, A Fundraising Event With East Michigan Environmental Action Council

April 30, 2013

(Photo courtesy of photographer Anthony Lockhart)

East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC) invites members of the community to celebrate the start of the “Windows of Opportunity” fundraising campaign with a local wine and cheese tasting on Friday May 10 from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. For tickets and RSVP please go to emeac.eventbrite.com call or email: 313-556-1702, dee.emeac@gmail.com

East Michigan Environmental Action Council and their partners at the Commons are kicking off a fundraiser to restore and replace the windows at the historic Cass Corridor Commons/Unitarian Universalist building at 4605 Cass Avenue where their offices are quartered. This community celebration will be held at the Commons and feature locally made cheese, wine and entertainment. Guests will have the opportunity to tour the Commons and learn about EMEAC’s 40 year history as an environmental justice organization serving the needs of Detroit and Southeast Michigan. Community activist and author, Dr. Ife Kilimanjaro, will also be officially announced as the new co-director of EMEAC.

The money raised through this fundraiser will be used to replace aging and broken windows throughout the Detroit landmark which is made up of three buildings, including the Unitarian Universalist Church, McCollestor Hall and the Paul McAdow House built in 1891. The house was used as a private residence until 1913, when it was sold to the First Universalist congregation, the Church used it as a place of worship for three years until the church was completed, after which the house was used as a parish house.

The Unitarian Universalists have a long history of hosting community stabilizing events and groups throughout its existence such as the Women’s Wisdom Institute, the Red Door Theater, the Women’s Coffee House and the Women’s Poetry collective. As gentrification intensified in the Cass Corridor area, however, the Church found it harder and harder to keep their doors open. In 2011 the Church donated the buildings to EMEAC. The transition of the buildings from the Church to “The Commons” has allowed the traditional community based values of the Church to be carried on through the organizing work of EMEAC.

EMEAC’s media director, Lottie Spady remarks that the Commons is, “built around the concept of things that we collectively own in community like libraries and public spaces, community resources that must be protected and managed for the good of all.  We intentionally went back to the Cass Corridor concept. There is a piece of history there. It's a manifestation of the relationships that we've been growing over the past several years. This is the realization of a dream. This is in many ways the outcome that is supposed to happen when you work with community."

After EMEAC accepted stewardship of the building, the work of making updates and repairs to the buildings began. But with this work came the realization that additional community support would be the only way to raise enough funds to complete the many repairs and replacements. The fundraiser goal is $10,000, all of which will be matched by a challenge grant from the Smartbuilding grant program. Through the challenge grant, every donated dollar will actually equal two.

Replacing and restoring the decades old windows allows a tremendous cost savings for EMEAC, and the environment as well, as EMEAC co-director, Diana Copeland states, “This window campaign seems like fitting way to launch our new vision! This will save tremendous energy. Many of the windows are cracked or the window seals and trim are rotted through. It will be an uplifting accomplishment for EMEAC and beautiful improvement for these historic buildings.”

EMEAC’s board and staff have committed to raising funds through their own individual online fundraising pages, all of which can be found at https://www.firstgiving.com/emeac. Donations can also be sent to : EMEAC, 4605 Cass Ave., Detroit Mi 48201

All people who make donations will also receive thank you gifts:

ANY amount = EMEAC sticker
$20 or more = EMEAC membership + sticker
$50 or more = EMEAC sunflower starter kit + membership
$120 or more= EMEAC tshirt + membership
$500 or more= name or dedication on the tiled EMEAC mosaic + membership

East Michigan Environmental Action Council began as a response in the 1960's to environmental concerns in southeast Michigan. A cornerstone of EMEAC's formation was the belief that informing the public about environmental issues would lead to solutions to environmental problems. Founding members and staff established an organization that would always predicate its public information and advocacy on careful research. With the help of our members' continuing support and enthusiasm, EMEAC will continue to pursue its mission to empower the Detroit community to protect, preserve and value the land, air, and water. We build community power through environmental justice education, youth development, and collaborative relationship building.

For more information about the fundraiser you can visit firstgiving.com/emeac or you can contact Lottie Spady at lottie@emeac.org or 313-556-1702 Ext 701