July 23, 2016 [DETROIT] -  Guests at the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy’s Shimmer on the River fundraiser this evening will raise a glass of champagne to celebrate the successful and transformational completion of the Capital Campaign for the East Riverfront, which raised $163 million dollars, exceeding its original goal of $140 million dollars.

The initial support for the Conservancy came from three partners: the Kresge Foundation, the City of Detroit, and General Motors.  A broad coalition of foundations, private individuals, and government entities joined these efforts to complete the East RiverWalk. 

This fundraising success was achieved during a very difficult economic climate in the region. 

“We are proud of the incredible transformation of the riverfront from underutilized, blighted industrial land into a world-class public space,” said Matt Cullen, chair of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy’s Board of Directors.  “The capital campaign was an overwhelming success, and illustrates the broad coalition of business, philanthropic and governmental leaders who have come together to make this dream a reality.”

The Conservancy’s ultimate vision is to revitalize 5.5 miles of riverfront from Gabriel Richard Park, which is just east of the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle, to Riverside Park, which is west of the Ambassador Bridge.  Currently, more than 3.5 miles of the RiverWalk is complete.

As the perpetual stewards of the RiverWalk and the Dequindre Cut, the non-profit Conservancy is responsible for the construction, operations, security and programming for all the public spaces located along the riverfront. 

The investment in the public space along the Detroit River was intended to stimulate significant economic development in the riverfront district.  A recent economic study found that more than $1 billion in public and private investment has occurred along the riverfront from 2003 to 2013.  The same research forecast an additional $1 billion of investment during the next 10 years. In the last two years, more than $195 million has been invested in the East Riverfront district.  “Every great city has a gathering space where the entire community feels welcome and feels a sense of civic pride, “ said Detroit RiverFront Conservancy President & CEO Mark Wallace. “Everyone who visits the RiverWalk can feel what a special place it is for our region.” 

The completion of the Capital Campaign will be celebrated tonight at Shimmer on the River, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m. along the Detroit Riverfront, just east of the GM Renaissance Center.  The Conservancy’s largest fundraiser—Shimmer will provide guests with an immersive family-friendly VIP experience and early preview of the popular GM River Days festival, which runs Friday through Sunday along the riverfront.  Guests will enjoy delectable food, free carnival rides and midway games and musical performances by Ann Arbor’s blues rocker Laith Al Saadi and the new wave party band The B-52’s.

In addition to celebrating the completion of the capital campaign, guests to Shimmer on the River will also join the Conservancy in honoring Faye Alexander Nelson and the late David K. Page with the Shimmer Award, the Organization’s highest honor. 


Proceeds from Shimmer will support the Conservancy’s continued transformation of Detroit’s riverfront into a beautiful, safe and accessible world-class gathering space for all.