2017 Finalist
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
March 30, 2018

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) teamed up with Patronicity, to launch a crowdgranting platform to help create more vibrant communities throughout Michigan. Thriving public places help define a community’s economic vitality and contribute to a strong quality of life, help attract and retain talent, and grow stronger local economies. From bike trails, to pocket parks, to alley revitalization projects, they contribute to an overall mission of the MEDC of creating places people want to live, work, and play. This program was created to meet the needs of local communities across the state who needed assistance funding small but impactful placemaking projects. Through feedback from local communities throughout Michigan, MEDC staff responded to an acknowledged gap for funding these smaller projects with a mechanism that now creates active public and social spaces in Michigan communities. This program was a way to spur more public involvement around the their surrounding built environment and engage various stakeholders to decide what they wanted in their community. The practice of crowdgranting aims to fund projects by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people that invites residents to be engaged in the process from start to finish. Contributing patrons also receive project specific incentives depending on the level of donation. The goal of this practice is to have an inclusive platform that allows local residents and stakeholders to play a role in projects that will transform their communities and make visions into reality. This program supports identified projects through a community or non-profit organization and provides the necessary funds to make their vision into a reality. Since the launch of the program in September of 2014, there have been improvements made to better assist the communities across the state. The original match maximum started at $100,000 and due to the expanding pipeline, high demand, and the desire to meet the needs of many different communities, the maximum match is now set at $50,000. If the project receives the initial goal amount set, they will receive all of that money and be backed with 1:1 matching dollars by the State. This change has allowed more projects to be completed and focusing on different areas instead of investing in one primary location.