Originally known as Community Legal Resources, we began in 1998 as a project of Michigan Legal Services and the ABA Business Law Section Pro Bono Committee. Modeled after national business pro bono law programs, our purpose was to leverage the private bar to provide pro bono legal services to qualified nonprofit organizations. The intent was to effectuate change in low-income communities and keep community organizations sustainable.
Over time and directly due to the needs of our clients, we developed community and economic development expertise and enveloped its core principles into our organization’s culture. Because of this experience, we became the lead organization of the Detroit Vacant Property Campaign (DVPC) in 2007. The DVPC would become central to addressing the resulting foreclosure and vacant property crisis in Detroit.
Program growth was not limited to our legal and policy programs though, as new services and resources were included. Our participation in the DVPC went far beyond offering advice on legal issues and we found ourselves on the ground and in neighborhoods, directly assisting them with their myriad of vacant property related needs. Soon we added education and outreach, as well as planning and technical assistance teams. Examples of this work include mini-grants, vacant property education workshops and publications, the vacant property coalition, GIS mapping, ownership searches, vacant property plans, and more.
Our program and client growth and diversification of services led us to undergo a name change and rebrand in 2011. Updating our name and logo allows us to better tell our story and explain who we are. Our legal services remain strong and are the focus of our statewide work. Our current mission and vision were adopted on May 18, 2018.
Michigan Community Resources now provides a more comprehensive array of services for navigating through legal and community organizing issues so that nonprofit organizations can continue to have a positive impact on their respective communities. We matter to the communities we serve because we meet the unmet needs of the nonprofits doing great work around the state and in every sector.