The Metro: Eastside Community Network celebrates 40 years of service

ECN President and CEO Donna Givens Davidson joined “The Metro” on Thursday to discuss the organization’s 40-year milestone and plans for the future.

The nonprofit Eastside Community Network is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

The nonprofit Eastside Community Network is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

The Eastside Community Network (ECN) is celebrating 40 years of community service this year. The organization also recently received a $1 million grant from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office to improve its offerings and services on Detroit’s east side.

ECN’s mission is to develop programs and resources that center the needs of east side residents and amplify their voices. The organization’s President and CEO, Donna Givens Davidson, joined The Metro on Thursday to discuss the 40-year milestone and ECN’s plans for the future.

Davidson says the organization is continuing to grow and support community needs, both for current residents and new residents attracted to the area.

“When people feel good about those things, they’re more likely to stay, invest and continue to help improve things,” she said. “And we want that, we want young people to not only feel good growing up, but to want to stay, to go to college, to come back and reinvest in their skills.”

The $1 million grant the organization received will support the continued buildout of the Stoudamire Wellness Hub, which Davidson says is ECN’s signature program. The 17,000-square-foot building serves about 1,700 members, and membership is free of charge.

Davidson says the services they provide at Stoudamire is largely based on the community’s needs, of which there are many.

“There’s no real finite, you know, number of things that are needed,” she said. “Our community is predominantly poor, we’ve had hospitals close, we’ve had recreation centers close, businesses close, and a lot of the things that people rely on for quality of life.”

Stoudamire offers everything from art, dance and fitness classes to resource fairs, pop-up events and much more. The center also doubles as a climate resiliency space, Davidson said, so that in the event of a climate emergency or any other kinds of emergency, community members have a place to receive goods and services or to shelter until the emergency ends.

“We are in the process of updating our space with resiliency practices, including solar and energy efficiency appliances, stormwater management systems, things of that nature,” she said.

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