About Us

Between 1950 and 1980, around 500,000 trees were lost in Detroit to Dutch elm disease, urban expansion and attrition. Troubled by this deforestation of a great city, Elizabeth Gordon Sachs devoted herself to reforesting the city. She played a key role in the 1989 founding of The Greening of Detroit. During that same time, economic constraints prohibited the city from replacing those trees. The Greening of Detroit was founded in 1989 with a single focus in mind – restore the city's tree infrastructure.

In 2015 Detroit successfully emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in the United States  and swiftly began the long journey toward financial stability. This is no easy feat, but a necessary one for survival and transformation. In its heyday during the 1950s, Detroit grew to accommodate almost 2 million residents. Today we are a city of less than 700,000 residents amidst miles of vacant land. Yesterday’s industrial urban center will become tomorrow’s model of a greener, cleaner city.

Our focus at The Greening of Detroit is to enhance the quality of life for Detroiters by repurposing the land to create beautiful and productive green spaces. We involve Detroiters in the process through community engagement, education and jobs.

The trees we plant, the gardens and green spaces we create and maintain, and the workforce training programs we operate all provide economic, environmental and social benefi ts to the communities we serve. But most of all, we inspire visitors and residents to imagine a new paradigm for the city of Detroit.

We are committed to building stronger relationships in the communities we serve. We assist neighborhood groups in forming block clubs; visioning green strategies for vacant lots; and coordinating neighborhood clean-ups, tree plantings and community gardens. We recruit Detroit residents for job training and work in green skill jobs.

We are collaborators and depend on the extraordinary support of our many volunteers, donors, and community and corporate partners throughout the year. We thank you and are forever grateful for your assistance. Our work is providing tangible results to the community, and we are excited to play an active role in the continued transformation of this great city. Join us in our 2016 efforts!

You can download our 2015 Annual Report here


Pic Monkey Collage Workforce small.jpg