The William Davidson Foundation is working to advance place-based cultural and economic development, encourage community interaction and connection, and improve the quality of life for current and future residents. We do this through the development and expansion of world-class regional destinations — those special, welcoming places where people choose to spend their time with others from diverse walks of life. We envision inviting and broadly accessible “signature spaces” across Southeast Michigan and Israel which come to define the places where we live, work, and play across generations.

Our approach includes several elements and activities:

  • Planning, programming, and developing transformative, world-class regional destinations in Southeast Michigan and Israel, including markets, plazas, cultural centers, parks, main streets, and other public spaces that animate our cities and neighborhoods;
  • Encouraging the improvement and expansion of greenways and trails that enable individuals to access and experience the range of recreational and cultural offerings found in Southeast Michigan and Israel, spur economic development, and build stronger, healthier communities and neighborhoods.
  • Building partnerships and leveraging relationships to connect and engage local leaders and stakeholders working across institutions, geographies, and sectors on innovative, transformative ideas that set a new trajectory for how current and future residents and visitors perceive and experience publicly-accessible spaces as well as how they are managed and supported in the future.
  • Supporting data and research to better understand and act on conditions in the built environments of Southeast Michigan and Israel, including financing, programming and management, and design and engagement.

Over the last several years in Detroit, we have contributed to the transformation of the Detroit RiverFront and nearby Belle Isle and helped to jumpstart the Motown Museum’s planned expansion. We have also been working with the Israel Antiquities Authority to update and expand the Davidson Center and Jerusalem Archaeological Park in Jerusalem and with the National Library of Israel on their new building next to the Knesset.

We work proactively to identify these and other opportunities in the Southeast Michigan region and Israel. Our support is project- and place-focused, and we prefer those efforts that are led by strong, capable organizations and leaders, involve partnerships among public, private, and philanthropic stakeholders, and support broader community and economic development goals. Although we are regionally-minded in Southeast Michigan and open to working across the State of Israel, we focus on areas of greater population density where there is a diversity of cultural and economic activity and where we believe our investments may have greater impact.