December 2018 E-News
Tiny Homes Numbers 14-19 Are Going Up
The next round of Tiny Homes are under construction thanks to a host of sponsors and volunteers, including the Home Builders Association of Southeast Michigan. Five of the six homes are on Richton Street and the last house is on Elmhurst. The photo shows one of the two tiny homes supported by the Bon Jovi Foundation.
Thirty Under 30 Group Proposes an Arts Sanctuary
From a pool of 300 applicants--all Ford Motor Company employees in the early stages of their careers and from various facets of the company including engineering, IT, finance and communications—the 2018 class of “Thirty Under 30” fellows was selected. Cass Community Social Services was honored to be included on the list of nonprofit agencies that would benefit from their year of service.
One of five fellows assigned to Cass Community, Christiana Lumaj, a member of Ford’s communications team, described how they initially toured the agency’s campus, assisted at the Family Shelter and helped to prep the second phase of Tiny Homes. Following this deep dive as volunteers, the fellows wanted to do more.
The “Thirty Under 30” team saw an opportunity to help residents empower themselves, as well as celebrate each others’ hopes and dreams, through the creative arts. After much brainstorming, the idea of an Arts Sanctuary within the Cass Community campus was born. Said Christiana, “The end goal is to create a unique creative hub within the city of Detroit.”
The Arts Sanctuary will offer drawing, painting, drama and music sessions as well as writing and storytelling workshops. She added, “We want to offer a different arts focus each day and have classes throughout the day so that area residents can find something happening whenever they are able to stop by.”
Rev. Faith Fowler, Cass Community’s Executive Director, couldn’t be happier with the concept of an Arts Sanctuary. She explained, “The idea of adding a place for creative activities to the basic services available on the Cass campus is exciting.” 
In order to help get this initiative off the ground, the Ford Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Ford Motor Company, generously agreed to match up to $10,000 in donations toward the launch of the Arts Sanctuary. The “Thirty Under 30” fellows established a GoFundMe account earmarked for the project where donors can support the launch of the Arts Sanctuary and take advantage of the Ford Fund match. Visit to make a donation.
2018 Rochester Christmas Breakfast Set Records
375 people attended the eleventh annual Rochester Christmas Breakfast at the Royal Park Hotel! The Host Committee, Presenting Sponsor FCA and several other corporate supporters helped raise over $40,000 for the renovation project at the Sue Bath Thomasson Apartments and Warming Center.
Thank you to all of the donors and volunteers who made the 2018 Christmas Store possible. We were able to distribute gifts (games, toys, books, coats and clothes) to
550 children and 100 adults with developmentally disabilities!!!
Ally Financial
Birmingham First UMC
Chelsea UMC
Detroit Country Day
Detroit Piston Jon Leuer
General Motors Financial
Royal Oak First UMC
St. Ignace UMC
Troy Big Beaver UMC
WSU Business School
Items Helpful in Winter
Twin Sheets and Blankets
Liquid Laundry Detergent
Lotion and Lip Gloss
Socks and Hats
The Ford Freight Farm is Something to Behold!
It was a cold fall morning in the unheated loading dock area of Cass Community Social Service’s World Building. A dedicated group of supporters—Ford Motor Company executives and communications team members, Cass Community board members, staff and volunteers—gathered with local media reporters and video crews to celebrate this one thing: there was lettuce growing on a farm in the midst of one of Detroit’s food deserts.
           But this was no ordinary farm: funded by the generous support of the Ford Motor Company Fund and Bill Ford's Better World Challenge, a 40-foot shipping container had been repurposed to house the latest in indoor hydroponic farming equipment. Dubbed the Ford Freight Farm, this collaborative project has the goal of providing nutritious, locally grown food to the Cass food program, the surrounding area and downtown restaurants.
           Speaking at the press conference, Jim Vella, President of the Ford Fund, cited statistics that “one in six people in southeast Michigan do not know where their next three meals are coming from.” He lauded the Ford Freight Farm as “an example of social entrepreneurship…(where) two entities can partner to solve age-old issues with new methods, thoughts and designs for solutions…moving people up the ladder of food self-sufficiency.”
           Rev. Fowler introduced Cass staff members Kathy Peterson, an attorney and professor turned farmer, and Charlotte Gale, a certified Master Gardener. Fowler also pointed out that the farm is environmentally positive. It uses LED lights, 90% less water, no pesticides and very little packaging since the distance between farm to table is minimal.
She concluded her remarks by saying that “This is urban gardening at its best because we can grow in every season of the year. What's more, the Freight Farm will provide part-time employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.”
After viewing a short video by Cass Board member Karl Rausch, the audience was invited to tour the space and ask questions. With the growing capacity of up to two acres of land, hundreds of vertical towers within the container house produce that is fed by water infused with nutrients. You can watch the video at:
Rev. Fowler will Speak at Gesu Catholic Church's
MLK Service
Tuesday, January 22 @ 7 pm
17180 Oak Dr, Detroit, MI 48221