Pilot Stage (August 2023 – July 2024)


The Pilot Stage is designed to support organizations in launching a small-scope implementation of their Big Idea. During the 12-month implementation period, a subset of our Planning Stage grantee partners will be awarded up to $200,000 and continued technical assistance to:

  • Implement their Big Idea into a functioning, real-world pilot.
  • Measure success using program data and evaluation support.
  • Refine implementation processes in response to ongoing feedback and lessons learned.
  • Develop sustainable growth plans to scale their evidence-based models.
  • And more!

Based on the work completed in the Planning Stage, selected grantees will launch operations of their pilot within two months of receiving a Pilot Stage grant. To support grantees in the implementation process, United Way will facilitate and provide:

  • Program evaluation support from experienced program evaluators at the University of Michigan.
  • Individualized coaching and consultation services to build capacity in the areas of program improvement, strategic planning, marketing and communications and qualitative data collection.
  • Access to Catchafire, a worldwide database of skilled volunteers.

Throughout the Pilot Stage, grantees are encouraged to share their transparent reflections with the Challenge Manager to identify needs for support and request additional technical assistance. Consistent feedback loops will gather input and feedback from beneficiaries and partners of each pilot, in collaboration with program evaluators and outside experts convened by United Way.

Here are the projects moving forward from the Planning Stage, into the Pilot Stage. Click on the links below to learn more about each project.

  • Bikes4Employees: Led by the Detroit Greenways Coalition, this project aims to provide high-quality bicycles to Detroiters lacking reliable transportation, reducing expenses and improving employment sustainability while also promoting health benefits and reducing stress.
  • Community Investment Trusts: Under the leadership of Doing Development Differently in Metro Detroit (D4), this initiative seeks to pilot the use of Community Investment Trusts (CITs) to facilitate community ownership of real estate and build wealth in low-income communities.
  • Credit Escalator: Led by GreenPath Financial Wellness, the Credit Escalator project plans to change banking systems for communities of color in Detroit. The service combines financial coaching with a personal loan, aiming to improve credit scores as the loan is repaid.
  • East Chadsey Condon Alliance (ECCA): Led by the Southwest Economic Solutions Corporation, the ECCA’s Diversified Community Investment Fund (DCIF) offers all Detroiters a chance to invest in and participate in community development projects.
  • Family Mobility Savings Program: Under the stewardship of Communities First (CFI), this program will jumpstart emergency savings, helping Detroiters meet their immediate needs while setting the foundation for their financial future.
  • Home Repair Clearinghouse: Another initiative by Doing Development Differently in Metro Detroit (D4), this project aims to serve as a hub connecting low-income homeowners with contractors, streamlining the home repair process and advocating for homeowners.

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