Our four-year, five-stage process is catalyzing concrete action to improve financial well-being in Detroit.


University of Michigan Poverty Solutions logo

University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions report “The Financial Well-Being of Detroiters: What Do We Know?” finds that a combination of low and volatile incomes and disproportionately high costs makes it challenging for Detroiters to main consistently positive cash flow and build savings.

January 2021

United Way and University of Michigan Poverty Solutions hosts a community conversation around the findings from the report and opportunities for action to address the underlying conditions that create financial instability and hardship for so many Detroiters.


United Way and University of Michigan Poverty Solutions design the structure and objectives of the Detroit Financial Well-being Innovation Challenge. The core Challenge design team hosts additional small-group community conversations to seek feedback and inform the development of the Challenge.

February 2022

The Detroit Financial Well-Being Innovation Challenge launches, challenging organizations of all kinds to design and implement bold new solutions to the barriers standing in Detroiters’ way of reaching financial stability.

March 2022

Over 60 local and national organizations (including faith-based and neighborhood-based organizations, corporations, financial institutions, multi-service nonprofits, and more) submitted an expression of interest to join the Concept Stage. These organizations participate in collaboration mixers and technical assistance workshops to develop their ideas.

April 2022

Before submitting their “Big Idea” to the Innovation Challenge, applicants solicit feedback from Detroit residents to incorporate into their concept proposal.

September 2022

Planning Stage launches: 17 teams begin the work of getting their ideas ready for implementation. How will participants experience their idea, in action? How will they measure the success of their work? What assumptions must be tested before a pilot is launched?

Summer 2023

Pilot Stage launches: Approximately 7 projects will be selected to receive up to $200,000 in funding and continued technical assistance to launch their pilot implementation.

Late 2024

Scale Stage launches: 1-2 pilots will be selected for up to $1,000,000 in funding and continued technical assistance to scale their project up to serve the full population of Detroiters.

Sign up for updates

Stay in-the-know and involved with our Innovation Challenge.

Sign up