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2990 W. Grand Blvd. Suite 2
Detroit, MI 48202
Contact Person:
Pier Amelia Davis

Are you an organization or small-business that is looking to transform a vacant lot or open space on your property into an intentional, productive, and well-maintained landscape? 

Detroit Future City (DFC) is pleased to announce the 2020 Working with Lots Grant Program that will award grants to install a lot design from the Field Guide to Working with Lots

The 2020 Working with Lots Grant Program will fund the installation of a selection of the following designs:

Side Lot Solutions Category: Eligible lot designs include Dumping Preventer, Friendly Fence, and Curb Appeal 

Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Category: Eligible lot designs include Organic Bowl and Storm Soaker

Terrain Category: Eligible lot designs include Mounds of Fun and Perennial Propagator

Forest Category: Eligible lot designs include Forest Patcher, Shade Maker, and Syrup Maker 

Choose Your Own Lot Design Category: Eligible lot designs include any of the Field Guide’s 38 designs OR an original design of your own that can be adapted into the 39th Field Guide lot design.

Proposals are due Monday April 13, 2020 at 11:59 PM EST. Proposals must be completed on Submittable. 

About Detroit Future City and the Field Guide to Working with Lots

DFC is committed to advancing the quality of life for all Detroiters. We accomplish this in partnership with residents, public, and private stakeholders through evidence-based strategies to promote innovative land use, sustainable infrastructure, and economically vibrant Detroit neighborhoods.

The purpose of the DFC Field Guide to Working with Lots Program is to connect Detroit community groups, businesses, and institutions to resources - and to each other - to learn, collaborate, and practice enhanced land stewardship in Detroit. 

For a copy of the Field Guide Workbook, visit Detroit Future City at 2990 W Grand Blvd, Detroit; or view it in the Download Center at www.dfc-lots.com/resources 



  • Be a community group, business, school, faith-based institution, or non-profit with at least two project leaders identified.
  • Own their vacant lot and/or land they are planning to install the lot design on, OR have formal written permission from the landowner to install a lot design.
  • Be registered and incorporated with the State of Michigan. If you are not incorporated (i.e. block club), you’ll need to identify a 501(c)3 as a fiduciary. If you are need a fiduciary, you can work with your local business association or non-profit or a community development organization in your neighborhood.
  • Attend an office hour appointment with a DFC Field Guide team member. 
  • Applicants are not required but highly encouraged to attend the following two workshops:
  1. Project Planning + Community Engagement: Thursday, March 5, 6 – 8 PM @ Detroit Future City
  2. Grant Writing + Resource Hustle, Thursday April 2, 6 – 8 PM @ Detroit Future City



Office hour appointments offer applicants an opportunity to receive feedback and technical assistance on their proposal. An appointment is required to qualify for this grant opportunity. Please visit our program website to schedule an appointment for our Open Office Hours. Appointments will last approximately 45 minutes; walk-ins are welcome for the Open Office Hours only. We recommend that two project leaders attend office hours.

*Attending an office hour appointment is required for a successful application. 


To schedule an office hour appointment between 9 – 6 PM, Mon – Fri, email field-guide@detroitfuturecity.com. By appointment office hours will be held at Detroit Future City between February 24th and April 9th.


Thursday, February 27, 5:30 – 8 PM @ Ford Resource + Engagement Center - EAST

Saturday, March 14, 10 AM – 1 PM @ Artist’s Village, 17336 Lahser Rd - NORTHWEST

Thursday, March 26, 5:30 – 8 PM @ Ford Resource + Engagement Center (FREC Mercado), 2826 Bagley St.  - SOUTHWEST

Thursday, April 7, 5:30 – 8 PM @ Neighborhood HomeBase, 7426 W McNichols Rd – BAGLEY/FITZGERALD

To sign up for an office hour, visit https://detroitfuturecity.com/our-programs/wwl-2020/

Office Hours are designed to assist applicants by answering questions and providing technical assistance. Please bring photos of your lot from at least two angles (including one from the street), and a drawing of how you plan to use the space for this project. See the Working with Lots Workbook (pgs 32-33) for guidance on creating a draft basemap/site plan.


  • Attend an initial convening on Thursday, June 4 @ Detroit Future City from 6 – 8 PM
  • Attend the following required workshops in the spring and summer of 2020 (project partners and fiduciaries are encouraged to join):
  • Garden Maintenance Workshop, Tuesday May 19, 6 – 8 PM @ Canfield Consortium Community Flower Gardens, 4401 Montclair + 4118 Lemay Streets.
  • Water Catchment + Irrigation Workshop, Thursday June 18, 6 – 8 PM, Location TBD
  • Planting Techniques Workshop, Tuesday August 18, 6 – 8 PM, Location TBD
  • Complete installation by October 2020 (not including the Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) lot design, which has an expected install date of spring 2021);
  • Use funds only for approved project costs and materials, including fiduciary fees, professional contractors, and other approved costs associated with installing and maintaining a lot design, and the subsequent educational programming;
  • Document project outcomes, including before and after photographs, keep account of expenses, and be prepared to share lessons learned with your cohort and others in the community;
  • Accept all responsibility for the project and release DFC from all liability associated with the construction, implementation, and maintenance of the project;
  • Commit time to individual technical assistance with DFC, and to cohort convenings and workshops; and
  • Commit time to project management, including budgeting, programming, and maintenance. 


  • Demonstrate use of the Field Guide to Working with Lots and the Field Guide Workbook (pgs. 18 - 33 are helpful resources) to describe initial plans;
  • Show how you will connect and engage your neighbors and constituents around the use of the Field Guide as a resource for transforming vacant land in your community;
  • Express your interest in shared learning opportunities among grantees and partners;
  • Explain your capacity to install your Field Guide lot design, including how you plan to activate it with educational resources and programming, implement a sustainable maintenance plan, and, if applicable, how this connects to your larger site vision or neighborhood planning efforts;
  • Outline the positive impact(s) that installing your selected lot design will have on the immediate block, neighborhood, and/or community;
  • If applicant is applying for a lot design that requires additional planning beyond the three-year maintenance plan, please include a detailed outline of what that commitment entails (specifically for the GSI Category and the Syrup Maker Lot Design);
  • Illustrate a connection to the community you serve and articulate a strong educational and programming plan that will engage and inform the community around this work;
  • Outline a strong maintenance plan, that includes details about your watering source and watering plan
  • Commit to implementing the lot design as outlined in the Field Guide;
  • Understand that the lot design you choose should not be changed, beyond reasonable modifications related to site conditions, to be determined after DFC technical assistance; and
  • For the lot designs requiring permitting (Storm Soaker, Organic Bowl), have knowledge of – or experience – managing and working with contractors; and be willing to navigate City departments and City processes when needed (i.e. permitting, contractors, zoning, etc.)


Proposals are due Monday April 13, 2020 at 11:59 PM EST. Proposals must be completed on Submittable. 

Applicants must select the lot design for which they are applying, changes to the lot design selection cannot be made after the submission period closes.

Selected applicants will be notified on May 21, 2020, and 2020 WWL Grantees will be announced by the end of May.



Each lot design requires different specifications. To view the specific requirements and the ideal fit for the lot designs you are applying for, click the link next to the name of the lot design. Detroit Future City has outlined specific criteria for each lot design to facilitate appropriate matches between lot designs and the applicants. Applicants should select the lot design that is the best fit for their lot(s) and capacity.

The following scope of work is required of those that are awarded funding, with dispersal of the entire award contingent on the requirements being executed fully.

  • Each grantee is required to submit a watering plan for three years of maintenance. Details of the plan are outlined in section 4 of this RFP. The June 18 Water Catchment + Irrigation Workshop will help grantees refine and implement their watering plan.
  • Each grantee is required to submit a volunteer recruitment and management plan. Details of the plan are outlined in section 4 of the RFP. The March 5 Project Planning + Community Engagement Workshop will help grantees refine and implement their volunteer engagement plan.

*Approximately 10-20% of the grant awarded will be held by Detroit Future City for second- and third- year maintenance costs and dispersed to the grantee contingent upon successful close out of the program in spring 2020.



  • Proof of incorporation with the State of Michigan or fiduciary’s 501(c)3 IRS determination letter
  • Clear photographs of lot(s) in its current conditions from two different angles, including one from the street
  • Proof of ownership (deed, paid tax receipt, or a Letter of Support from Property Owner, if applicable)
  • Project budget sheet
  • Soil test results (if received) or proof of soil test submission. (If you are submitting to MSU, you must specifically request that you soil be tested for lead)
  • Site plan drawings of existing conditions and planned lot design installation

Applications for the Detroit Future City Field Guide to Working with Lots Grant will be available at https://detroitfuturecity.com/our-programs/wwl-2020/ 

The completed application and attachments must be submitted online via Submittable.


Applications MUST be received by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 13, 2020.

To access the application, please create an account with Submittable.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.