Planning students earn top honors in 2014 Social Impact Challenge

Planning students earn top honors in 2014 Social Impact Challenge

The Taubman College planning program wrote another success story as five Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.) students played a major role in this year’s 2014 U-M Social Impact Challenge.

Student Douglas Smith (M.U.P.’15) was part of the winning team which pitched a proposal outlining a Brightmoor neighborhood micro-transit social enterprise called the Neighborhood Transit Alliance (NTA), an on-demand, flexible route van service. NTA vans would connect Brightmoor residents to employment opportunities in downtown and Metro Detroit. Structured as a low-profit limited liability corporation (L3C), NTA would seek both private and public partners, and collaborate with workforce development organizations to provide career training services and summer youth employment opportunities for Brightmoor residents. Matthew Nahan (MSW ’14), Sarah-Jane Caban (MBA ’14), and Noelle Polaski (MPP/MA ’15) were also part of the team which won the $2500 first-place prize.

Danielle Thoe (MUP ’14), Nelida Escobedo Ruiz (MUP ’14), Aja Bonner (MUP ’14), and Christian Roadman (MUP ’14) were finalists in the competition and were part of multidisciplinary teams of graduate students representing ten U-M schools.

The 2014 Social Impact Challenge was organized by the University of Michigan’s Nonprofit and Public Management Center. Detroit Future City is exploring implementation of the winning proposal, as well as concepts from the other finalist teams. Judging for the 2014 event was conducted by Andy Didorosi, President & Founder of the Detroit Bus Company; Rev. Joan Ross, Executive Director of Greater Woodward Community Development Corporation; Dan Kinkead, Director of Projects at Detroit Future City; and Dr. Larry Gant of the U-M Schools of Social Work and Art & Design.

Visit the U-M Nonprofit and Public Management Center website to learn more about the event and to view photos.