The Durfee Innovation Society (DIS) exists to create substantial and impactful opportunities for Detroit children, families and single adults, while advancing collaboration among the eight major sectors (arts, business, education, faith-based, government, human services, media and philanthropy) in both the city and its surrounding suburbs.
Life Remodeled has repurposed the former Durfee Elementary-Middle school building into the “Durfee Innovation Society,” which is a hub of opportunity for children, students and adults. Instead of creating new programs ourselves, we created a dynamic space for the best and brightest nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies to move in, share resources and achieve greater collective impact. In partnership with students and community leaders, our new tenants move the needle on educational outcomes and community revitalization. They provide innovative approaches to education, employment, support for entrepreneurs and various social services. In order to be a tenant inside the DIS, organizations must enrich the human spirit of Detroiters by achieving at least one of the following
implementing real world educational opportunities for youth and/or children
creating significant workforce development and employment opportunities for youth and/or adults
supporting and cultivating entrepreneurism
providing a nonprofit service
Committed to community legacy.
The Durfee Innovation Society began in July 2017 through a partnership with Detroit based nonprofit Life Remodeled and Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD). DIS was originally the home of Durfee Elementary Middle School, which was a K-8 grade school until June 2017, when DPSCD decided to consolidate students into Central High School. Instead of allowing the building to remain vacant, DPSCD leased Life Remodeled the building to repurpose it into a community hub that provides educational benefit to Detroit youth, community resources and workforce development, and serves as a public community center. Durfee was originally opened in 1927 as a middle school and was named after Edgar O. Durfee - Michigan's longest serving probate judge. The building was part of an educational park of schools built in the 1920s, including Roosevelt Elementary School, which was torn down in the early 90s, and Central High School, which was the first public high school in the city. This campus was one of the first urban campuses in the nation with a elementary to high school pipeline. With the creation of the Durfee Innovation Society, this legacy will continue!