Rev. Joan Ross is a community advocate and systemic changemaker in Detroit, working in community development for over 10 years.

Rev. Joan is the founder, executive director and chair of the North End Woodward Community Coalition, a social justice and community development organization that builds power through equitable systems change.

The team at North End Woodward Community Coalition approach systemic changes through their WNUC 96.7 FM community radio programming that produces over 60 percent of its content locally. Also, through her organization’s Equitable Internet Initiative, residents have access to wireless high-speed internet and digital and media.

10+ Years
Working in community development
Resident access to social justice works, reliable internet, and green housing

Under Rev. Joan’s leadership, North End Woodward Community Coalition established housing and food stability through the Storehouse of Hope program and is spearheading an effort to transition homes to renewable energy through the So, Solar Detroit program. Rev. Joan’s advocacy not only centers on improving the lives of systemically targeted people but on disrupting false narratives about Black people and the North End neighborhood.

Rev. Joan's vision for the next 40 years in the affordable housing and community development sector is to start to solve the problem of affordable housing by looking at all other systemic issues impacting housing.

People in community and in apartment windows
My vision is not for the next 40 years but must be now if we are to see any future.
Rev. Joan Ross

To start solving these problems, Rev. Joan believes we must question what affordable means and embrace housing models grounded in the ethos of stability, resilience, affordability and community land trusts, to ensure affordable homeownership opportunities continue for generations.

Rev. Joan has been recognized for her efforts by the U.S. Green Building Council’s magazine, Hour Detroit, the 51st Annual National Solar Conference and the White House panel on closing the digital divide. Additionally, she is the recipient of the Sustainable Champion Award, Spirit of Detroit Award, MLK Award from the City of Southfield, City of Detroit Earth Day Award, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Shero of the Year.

Meet our other Honorees

President/St. Croix Foundation for Community Development
Founders/Jubilee Housing
National Vice President of Strategy for Community Health/Kaiser Permanente
Founder, Executive Director & Chair/North End Woodward Community Coalition