[image_lightbox url=”/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Faye-Neslon-Photo-2011.jpg” title=”Faye Alexander Nelson” align=”left”]Faye Alexander Nelson[/image_lightbox]I’m very proud to be a product of the Detroit Public Schools. The education I received through DPS has prepared me well for the career I have today, President and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.

Because of my strong feelings for education in Detroit and an organizational mission that includes supporting many important aspects of the community, the riverfront has become a destination for both recreation and education. There is one model that makes that possible and it’s one that I would like to see replicated elsewhere to support education and other community priorities – public/private partnerships.

We have a variety of educational programs that we drive or have developed with our partners. That includes environmental education, such as the Detroit River Water Festival, a celebration of a love of reading called “Reading and Rhythm on the Riverfront” and a public art program. Connecting and reaching out to the community through education is very important.  It takes private and public support – business, government entities (like a school district), nonprofits and individual donors and volunteers – working together to make it possible.

The way in which we have been accustomed to doing business is long gone. To engage, revitalize and sustain our community, we have to work together to support key initiatives that are critical to our vibrancy. Education is one of those areas.

Because budgets are constantly being challenged and there are so many economic issues, philanthropy of all types can play a very important role. The need to have an educated workforce and the need to provide individuals with employment are just two examples of the need for increased commitments to education.

We collaborate with other nonprofits on a regular basis. We hope to find new opportunities for the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy to work with the DPS Foundation and others that support education.  The educational possibilities we could work on together are almost endless, from nature, to history, to art and just about everything in between.

For us, it’s important that DPS students are a part of what’s happening on the waterfront.  They are the people and the riverfront is the place, so each play important roles in the revitalization of Detroit. I invite you to join us in making students a priority.