Wait, so that statement above is out of context. Let me make more sense of what they were trying to say to me. Because I am not from the area nor am I familiar with the workplace's operations, they were trying to enlighten me on being cautious of what the community wants before I make rash judgments on how to help them. I agree with my directors totally on this point, but the concept of not expecting to make a huge impact, I don't know about that. I work at an organization named Detroit Experience Factory (DXF) which focuses on introducing locals and newcomers to the vibrant places, people, and projects in Detroit. My main job is to develop an Economic Impact Report for DXF to understand how their services benefit the local economy, impact its community partners, and reshape public perceptions of Detroit. I and Astha (other DukeEngage member) have calculated that DXF is making a little more than 1.4 million dollar impact. That is a huge number, especially for such a non-profit. They have been able to make this impact from providing public, private, and custom tours that both introduce people to new businesses and places while giving those companies and people more exposure. It is a win, win, win for everyone.
However, that number is incorrect. Actually, it is grossly underestimating the actual impact the business is making. The greatest service DXF is having on the community isn't the amount of revenue it's bringing to the local economy. Money is money. It is important, but there so many other organizations in Detroit that are also generating an economic impact on the local economy. What is unique about DXF is that they are painting a story about the past, present, and future of the city. Detroit Experience Factory is directly shaping the way visitors and locals view and feel the city. The tour guides replace myths and rumors with stories and reality. The impact the non-profit is making is much more than how many customers are spending at the end of the day. That is the result, but not necessarily the meat of its operations. The true impact is reshaping the way people see Detroit.
The way DXF has done that through storytelling has really impacted me this summer. Before this trip, I was never really interested in photography and videography. I knew it was a platform to story tell, but it felt so fake. All that came to mind was Instagram which, in my opinion, is a glorified misrepresentation of anyone and everyone. DXF has taught me how to story tell by chipping away from the false reality that exists and coating it with the history of the past and energy of the future. It has encouraged me to work, meet, and learn about people's histories in Detroit. I do so on a daily basis and hope to showcase it to you at the end of this trip. But until then, I will go to work every day excited to finish my economic impact report and amazed by the stories the city contains. With all the small projects I am working on right now, I know it will factor in to making a huge impact in Detroit not necessarily financially but ultimately emotionally.