News and analysis
January 05, 2016

Ryan Friedrichs: Detroit’s Philanthropy Point Man

Benjamin Weatherston

Ryan Friedrichs, 38
Chief Development Officer
City of Detroit

When Ryan Friedrichs returned from a tour in the Army in 2014, his goal was to be "as useful as possible in Detroit’s next few years of revitalization and its future."

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The city had recently emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, after foundations pledged about $370 million over 20 years to protect the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts and help pay the pensions of retired city employees.

A Michigan native, Mr. Friedrichs had developed strong relationships with grant makers while leading three civic-engagement groups: Michigan Voice; its parent, State Voices; and the Youth Vote Coalition. So when Detroit’s mayor reinstated the position of chief development officer, Mr. Friedrichs was a natural fit for the job. Today he serves as the liaison between city departments and foundations, working to attract investment in local programs and find new ways to work with grant makers.

"Decades of challenges still have to be tackled," he says. "Helping to build bridges is hopefully an added value I can really deliver on."

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