Full Name
Maggie DeSantis
Community Development Strategies LLC
Speaker Bio
Maggie DeSantis is a native Detroiter who has worked in the community development field in Detroit for over forty years. She is a graduate of Wayne State University and Central Michigan University and the Pratt Institute-affiliated National Internship in Community Economic Development. After tenures at New Detroit, Inc. and Neighborhood Service Organization, she founded and was named the first Executive Director of the Warren/Conner Development Coalition (WCDC) in 1984 where she served as President/CEO until April, 2016. In its 40 years of existence WCDC - now the Eastside Community Network - has evolved into one of Detroit’s largest and most respected community development organizations; having won the Crains Detroit Business first “Best Managed Non-Profit” in 1990; and the “Best Community Development Corporation” by Detroit LISC in the 1990s. In 1996 the organized was recognized with a “National Exemplary Award” by HHS, for its innovative “Youth on the Edge…of Greatness” program.

In 2016 after leaving ECN, Maggie continued to work for Detroit neighborhoods through her work as the founding Initiative Manager for “Building the Engine of Community Development in Detroit (BECDD),” an initiative dedicated to building a community development system for Detroit. Through 2021 when the resulting BECDD work was folded into CDAD, BECDD became a respected citywide process that brought 200+ multi-sector stakeholder organizations together, to design leadership pathways, funding streams, data/measurement systems, a housing rehab delivery system and other important supports for the community development sector. The projects created through BECDD are now being implemented through CDAD and other stakeholder organizations.

In 2020 Maggie launched “Community Development Strategies LLC,” a consulting firm specializing in helping a variety of community-focused organizations to create and carry out authentic, equitable community development strategies for a variety of client organizations, including CDAD. She continues to work in this capacity today.

Maggie is the single mother of two adult daughters, Rosie DeSantis and Sparkle Berry; resides in Detroit’s Jefferson-Chalmers community; and is an avid reader, baseball fan, outdoor griller, power-walker and road-tripper.
Maggie DeSantis