The mission of the Empowerment Zone Coalition is to raise public awareness and to mobilize communities to improve quality of life for Detroit residents through education, health promotion, wellness, and the prevention of substance use and mental health disorders in the city of Detroit with strong emphasis on the Eastside. EZC develops new initiatives based on identified needs of the community.
Since its inception in May 1996, the coalition has been “Rebuilding the Village” through community empowerment. Coalition members and additional volunteers are dedicated to increasing protective factors through faith-based substance abuse prevention and community involvement. TheEmpowerment Zone Coalition, Inc. is a very unique 501(c)(3) community-based non-profit that focuses on comprehensive substance abuse prevention. EZC is a broad based coalition with agency collaborations that improves collective advocacy and service delivery to the community with strong focus on the youth and families. For the past 14 years, EZC’s goals were to raise the visibility of the coalition, increase public awareness of substance abuse issues, and public policy advocacy. EZC’s initiatives were successful in raising the visibility of the coalition – 51% of the target population was familiar with the coalition and its activities as demonstrated through a poll conducted by a local media partner. EZC has reached more than one million people over time with substance abuse prevention messages and resources through public education campaign, public forums, workshops, summits, community outreach projects and programs.
EZC initiated public policy advocacy that resulted in an ordinance to hold landlords responsible for boarding up their abandon buildings to decrease illegal drug activity and increase neighborhood safety. These abandon buildings threaten the safety of young people walking to school and some of them were used as drug dens. The uniqueness of EZC is the opportunity for residents to unite with other sectors of the community to work together for positive change and to take an active role in developing appropriate solutions for health and the prevention of drug-related problems impacting the community.
EZC is dedicated to increasing protective factors and improving social conditions in the community that has been negatively impacted by alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related issues. The Empowerment Zone Coalition, Inc. (EZC) is licensed by the State of Michigan to provide substance abuse prevention services. The coalition is an active member of the Community Anti-Drug Coalition Coalitions of America (CADCA), a national association of community-based coalitions. The coalition has more than 17 years of experience in providing comprehensive health and substance abuse prevention services to the catchment area. EZC’s strength in resources and expertise is its partnerships and volunteers. EZC is governed by a Board of Directors. EZC also has an impressive record of managing Federal, State and local grants without exceptions and raising funds to augment existing funding. EZC has strong fiscal accountability and its accounting practices are in accordance with standard accounting principles. EZC has successfully passed all audits in accordance with standard accounting principles. The Coalition also files 990 forms and other required tax forms annually, and possesses a 501(C)(3) IRS charitable designation in good standing.
Our organizations major accomplishments to date include its receiving the 2000 Outstanding Coalition Award for its outstanding coalition work to prevent and reduce youth substance abuse and strengthen collaborations to accomplish the same. This award was presented by the Community Anti-drug Coalition of America (CADCA). Additionally, the experiences and accomplishments of the coalition are as follows:
EZC built and maintains a coalition of 100 organizations and individuals which represents different sectors of the community. EZC has been very successful in mobilizing all sectors of the community to promote collaborations and partnerships. EZC developed and implemented a community action plan that drives the work of the coalition. The coalition is widely recognized by the target population for creating innovative initiatives to prevent drug abuse and drug related issues.
EZC successfully designed and administered the Youth Substance Abuse Concern Survey. The purpose of the survey is to determine the extent and magnitude of the drug problem within the target area. The survey explores knowledge, attitude, and practices regarding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD). Youth Focus groups also were conducted to obtain the youth perceptions of drugs in their community. The results were published and disseminate to prevention providers to assist them in strengthen their substance prevention programming. 2,400 youth participated in the survey.
EZC developed the Collective Call to Action Workshop Series designed to educate the community on substance abuse and drug-related issues in an effort to counteract the misconceptions and work towards changing the negative social norms in the community. The workshops were designed to arm people with adequate information to become actively involved in changing the social conditions in their community. EZC also trained substance abuse providers and coalitions in coalition building and the Strategic Prevention Framework.
Each year, EZC planned and implemented the largest substance abuse summit in the City of Detroit in an effort to raise public awareness regarding drug related issues and to celebrate the success of the coalition. The event was designed as a forum for the community to come together to discuss issues and brainstorm solutions concerning alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related problems. We organized nine summits which galvanized the community residents, public officials, prevention and treatment providers around the issue.