by Danielle Grecco

Detroit, Mich., could be one of the largest comeback stories in United States history. The city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2013, which devastated Detroit communities. However, with amazing tenacity and vigor Detroit has begun to revitalize.

The Salvation Army in Detroit does not take lightly the time and effort needed to rebuild communities and continues to provide hope to the families and neighborhoods that remain underserved. To connect Millennials in Detroit with The Salvation Army so they can give back, interact and make an impactful difference, Echelon Detroit was born.

With the help of Echelon chapters around the United States and an extremely supportive Metro Detroit Advisory Board, the Army was able to begin sharing the mission of Echelon and capture the hearts and minds of several young professionals who became the founding Echelon Detroit board.

“Young adults throughout Metro Detroit have so much to offer this community, and I cannot wait to see how our Echelon chapter will aid our neighbors in need,” said Metro Detroit Advisory Board Chairman and National Advisory Board member John Latella.

By extending existing partnerships with Quicken Loans, Bank of America and Ford, to name a few, Echelon Detroit became a group that joined powerful business forces to “mobilize the next generation” in giving back.

Simultaneously, Ford happened to be launching a program called “Thirty under 30,” where groups of Millennials took time to help shape an approach to reach the young professional crowd, therefore taking great strides to strengthening Echelon Detroit. To get others invested, Echelon focuses on three areas: meaningful social networking, donations and fundraising, and service and volunteering.

“Our chapter comes at a critical time in our community, and our future footprint will be shaped on how we approach this opportunity,” shared Amil Kapoor, first Echelon Detroit president and market sales manager at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

The first few events incorporated volunteer and social events to engage Echelon members in giving back while raising awareness of various Salvation Army programs that run all year. There Echelon has been able to raise awareness and engage with other Millennials and business partners while providing various in-kind donations that support Salvation Army programs.

Echelon Detroit continues to gain momentum and with continued support and recruitment will impact Metro Detroit for years to come.

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