March 24, 2023
It’s no coincidence that the AAACF has picked the first week of spring to launch our new website.
For us, just as for Mother Nature, this is a time of renewal.
This winter has seemed exceptionally long. National headlines demonstrated on-going racial violence in our country. Massive layoffs all over have contributed to a collective sense of uncertainty. Families have been especially under pressure as cold and flu season also meant COVID season. Prices soared for essentials like groceries and housing. And a series of late season local storms – and the subsequent tree damage and extended power outages – made many of our usual winter challenges that much more difficult.
But spring is a season of hope. Look around: tiny buds are sprouting on the trees and up from the dirt with the promise of new leaves and soon-to-be blooming crocuses, hyacinth, daffodils. Like the promise of spring flowers serves as a beacon for better days ahead, our mission at the AAACF is to serve a similar purpose in our community.
As you explore our new website, we hope that you find buds of optimism and seeds for a brighter future throughout. Explore our areas of impact and learn about ways our community can cultivate opportunities to promote racial equity, education for our youth, better care for our aging population and improved human services for everyone in our county.
These are some of the challenges members of our community have said matter most. We’ve designed our new website around them and the ways donors, volunteers, and other supporters – people like you – can contribute to solutions. As a result, our website will serve as a kind of virtual hub for connection, collaboration, and celebration as together we grow a stronger, more resilient, and loving community.
Celebrating 60 years of community
For example, you might notice that some of the challenges that face our community today are similar to the ones we faced when the AAACF was founded in 1963. When we got started, fair housing was a critical concern, especially in areas like Ypsilanti where a majority Black neighborhood on the city’s southside faced demolition under a massive federal urban renewal program. But Mattie Dorsey, who would become the first Black woman elected to Ypsilanti City Council, said no.
Instead, she devoted much of her life to fighting against efforts that would displace people from their homes, and making the case for long-term, sustainable solutions for housing stability and affordability.
Though Dorsey died in 1990, her legacy lives on. Just this past year, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Dorsey Estates, a 46-unit, mixed-income housing development on North Park St. in Ypsilanti, which will offer more opportunities for affordable homeownership, in perpetuity. Like its namesake, Dorsey Estates has the potential to transform our entire community. The positive consequences of secure housing will ripple throughout our businesses, schools, recreation, government, nonprofits and more, all over the county.
None of this would be possible without local trailblazers like Mattie Dorsey, and it wouldn’t be possible without people like YOU, whose generosity allowed the AAACF to commit $1 million toward the Dorsey Estates project.
On large and smaller scales, similar stories abound. Summer 2023 will mark the AAACF’s 60th anniversary which means we have six decades of stories to celebrate about people coming together to make Washtenaw County an incredible place to live, work and thrive for now, and forever.
So, we encourage you to watch our website, follow us on social media, and sign up for our e-news to learn more about the history and culture of our community, opportunities to get involved or deepen your personal connection to the community, and how, through impact investing, you can grow your own legacy and a brighter, more vibrant future for all.