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Detroit Homecoming Seeks to Bring Back Former Residents

Detroit is recruiting ex-patriots or ex-pats — people born in or who attended school in the region — to return to their hometown to reconnect, recharge and reinvest.

The Detroit Homecoming is slated Sept. 17 to 19, with an agenda to include experiences such as dinner in the not-yet-open David Whitney Building on Grand Circus Park, city tours, dinner inside the refurbished Globe Outdoor Adventure Center on Detroit’s riverfront and a concert at Chene Park Amphitheatre.

All the activities have one goal in mind: to show off the possibilities in greater Detroit.

At a kickoff news conference today at Lowe Campbell Ewald, Mayor Mike Duggan said: “Detroit needs jobs and investment. It also needs people with influence to be ambassadors. But until today, no one has focused on a key resource: people who call Detroit their hometown but now live elsewhere.

“Detroit Homecoming will provide exactly the right motivation our city needs to bring native Detroiters back home to be a part of the city’s revitalization.”

Jim Hayes, the retired publisher of Fortune and co-director of the Detroit Homecoming, returned to Detroit last year.

“Ever since I’ve been back, I’ve been endlessly impressed by the opportunities for investment and engagement,” he said.

“We’re going to dazzle these folks who haven’t been here in a while. They’ll be stunned to see how dramatically Detroit is changing for the better.”

The goal is to bring back at least 150 expats for the by-invitation-only, more-than-a-business conference. To date, more than 70 people have expressed interest in the event, according to organizers.

“This is not a typical business conference,” said Mary Kramer, publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business and Detroit Homecoming co-director. “We are tapping local doers to meet and mingle throughout.

“We are going to continually encourage our attendees to think of ways they can make a difference in their hometown. … All the while, they will be encouraged to get involved.”

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