LISC National

Bridging Communities, Inc. named the 2018 Community Development Organization of the year

By Lori Ella Miller

Bridging Communities, Inc. (BCI) Executive Director Phyllis Edwards says that being named Detroit LISC’s “Community Development Organization of the Year” puts BCI on a whole new playing field.


For three decades, Bridging Communities, Inc. has been a force in the Southwest Detroit focusing on programs and initiatives to promote neighborhood stabilization. Edwards, who has been with the organization for some eight years, says, “It is a significant award. We are honored to receive it. This was an acknowledgement that we are on the playing field with some of the area’s most prominent CDOs.”


BCI is in good company, joining the foster of past winners of this prestigious award that include: Jefferson East, Inc. (2017), Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance (2016), Central Detroit Christian CDC (2015), Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (2014) and Midtown Detroit, Inc. (2013).

BCI Employee Gabby White assisting a senior with the application for the 0% Interest Home Repair Loan Program
BCI Employee Gabby White assisting a senior with the application for the 0% Interest Home Repair Loan Program

Edwards pointed out that BCI had its eye on the prize for some time. “It’s huge for us to be acknowledged in this vein.” BCI is leveraging the prestige that comes with this honor by promoting the award in its marketing material, on its website and in grant proposals.

BCI’s work speaks for itself. For nearly 38 years, BCI has been investing in the stabilization of neighborhoods throughout Southwest Detroit. A grassroots organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for area elders by providing resources and community support, BCI built the first senior independent living facility in Southwest Detroit in 2002. The Pablo Davis Elder Living Center is 80 units of independent living for a culturally diverse senior population. In response to the situation where seniors were becoming caregivers to their grandchildren, BCI built 24 town-homes geared for grandparents raising their grandchildren.

Affordable housing is a major issue in the City of Detroit. As a property developer, BCI implemented an inclusionary housing program that puts affordable housing to the forefront of its endeavors, and offers land contracts for potential home owners.

Edwards explains that the goal is “to show those who want to be homeowners that they can be.”

BCI is currently working with Southwest Detroit Business Association, Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, and Congress of Communities to build or rehabilitate 560 housing units over the next five years.

Detroit LISC has supported the organization by providing pre-development funding, as well as a grant to hire a consultant to assist the collaborative in developing a working product.

BCI continues to be a place maker, community advocate and a beacon of hope for the Southwest Detroit residents.