Our community of Detroit expats is actively engaged with and invested in the city’s development.
The Detroit Homecoming team has tallied more than $606 million in economic impact from local initiatives and projects led by or invested into by expats after attending Detroit Homecoming.* This figure also includes projects that resulted from local relationships formed at our annual event. Expats have directly invested over $361 million into projects and initiatives in Detroit.
Expat investment and outcomes have resulted in over 1 million square feet of redeveloped real estate and over 1,800 hours of pro-bono volunteer and advisory services. These outcomes have taken place in over 30 neighborhoods and have involved more than 40 nonprofits and initiatives and more than 20 startups and small businesses.
For every dollar invested in Detroit Homecoming, the region enjoys $100 of economic impact. Expats specifically invest $60 for ever 1 dollar invested in the event.
*Expat survey results verified by Detroit Homecoming
Total Regional Financial Impact
Inspiration converts into action, and relationships into engagement
Notable Homecoming Outcomes
Ford Motor Company Buys Michigan Central Station
$90 Million Investment
In 2017, Mary Kramer and the Detroit Homecoming team envisioned an opening dinner at the Michigan Central Train station. Just months after the spectacular dinner and Homecoming, the Ford Motor Company announced a purchase of and $90 million investment into transforming the historic building. Matthew Moroun, the former owner of the historic building, cites Detroit Homecoming IV as the catalyst for this transaction.
Steve and Connie Balmer Invested $98 Million in Grant Funding to Combat Systemic Poverty
$98 Million Investment
In 2016, Steve Ballmer cited Detroit Homecoming as being the catalyst for his interest in Detroit’s revitalization efforts. In 2017, Steve and his wife, Connie Ballmer, opened a Detroit office for the Ballmer Group and hired an executive to manage their philanthropic investments.
In October 2018, the Ballmer Group announced $16 million worth of grant funds that would be allocated to a select number of support groups working in Detroit neighborhoods. In June 2019, the Ballmer Group joined Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in a $12 million 10-city initiative that includes Detroit. In November 2019, it announced a $5.9 million grant to the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
In total, the Ballmer Group has given $98 million to the tri-county region over the last 3 years.
Detroit Expat Dominique Morisseau
Tony-Nominated playwright ("Ain't Too Proud," "Skeleton Crew")
Dominique, a speaker at Detroit Homecoming VI in 2019, wrote us of the event’s impact on her:
“...You’ll have no idea of the measure and impact on my husband, Jimmy, and I, but it was transformative for us and necessary for where we were in our lives. Two months after attending Homecoming, Jimmy and I purchased a house on West Grand Boulevard at the corner of Grand Boulevard and La Salle, about a mile up from the Motown Museum. Just at the onset of COVID, we were interviewing contractors and approving blueprints from our architect to create what we want to be Artist Residency Housing and Creative Space for Detroiters .... We have a partnership with Detroit Public Theatre to use our space for upcoming productions, and have a vision to partner with many more on-the-ground Detroit organizations to create artist and arts education programming in our city.
“...our time at Detroit Homecoming was truly one of the most optimistic highlights of our past year. We thank you for the incredible experience, and look forward to finding more ways to not only support you, but be an ambassador for more expats, particularly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), to add to the exciting contributions in our city.”
Tudo Pham & David Woessner
Love at Detroit Homecoming
Tudo and David can measure their lives together through annual Detroit Homecoming experiences. As Tudo puts it: “We met at DH 3, engaged at 4, married by DH 5, expecting at DH 8 and baby by 9.” (Jonas Tane Duc Woessner, born February 2022)
The couple now lives in Detroit’s Palmer Woods neighborhood. Tudo is a Lt. Col. In the Michigan Army National Guard. David has founded two ventures: FutureOf and New Electric Mobility Corp. David is cofounder and general partner of FutureOf, which invests “time and capital in leveraging frontier technologies” in mobility, energy, industry and community. FutureOf has offices in D.C., Detroit and Miami. He’s also president of NEMC, whose goal is “to bring unique products and services to the crowded electric mobility space.”
Key Findings of
the 2023 Expat Survey
Detroit Homecoming is a celebration of the city by its former residents. The first Detroit Homecoming event was in 2014; since then, approximately 800 former residents, referred to as “expats,” have attended Homecoming. Even in 2020, when most gatherings were canceled due to COVID-19, approximately 20 expats attended for masked tours, outdoor events, and all-virtual speakers and panels. Expats contribute to the city in many ways, including financial investments, starting and expanding their own local businesses, and providing local businesses and non-profits with their time and expertise. Some expats have even returned to the city to live.
This year, Detroit Homecoming will celebrate its tenth anniversary, presenting an opportunity to reflect and hear from expats about their experiences in the program and their contributions to Detroit, financial and
otherwise. To achieve this, Crain’s invited expats who had attended Detroit Homecoming to respond to a short electronic survey. Of the 137 expats who started the survey, 107 (78%) completed the survey in full. Another 8 expats (6%) completed at least 80% of the questions. Within this report, each survey question is analyzed for all respondents, even if some of those respondents did not answer subsequent questions. Therefore, the number of respondents analyzed in each question (N) decreases as the survey progresses. The survey sample was not drawn using statistically representative sampling, so findings from this survey should not be ascribed to the larger population of expats.
Find the whole report below!