About Us

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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 2016, the City of Detroit successfully emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in the United States  and  began the long journey toward financial stability. This is no easy feat, but a necessary one for survival and transformation.  Yesterday’s industrial urban center is now becoming tomorrow’s model of a greener, cleaner city. The Greening of Detroit's work is at the center of that transformation. 

Our focus at The Greening of Detroit is to enhance the quality of life for Detroiters by planting trees, repurposing the land to create beautiful and productive green spaces and helping communities rebuild their neighborhoods one lot at a time.  We involve Detroiters in the process through job training programs, community engagement, and education.


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 benefits 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 2017 efforts!