DET 2024 Game Changers Black History Month_Showcase-Washington_2568x1444_v3

DETROIT – Daniel Washington is a lifelong resident of the NW Goldberg neighborhood in Detroit. In 2017, at only the age of 24, he established NW Goldberg Cares; an organization focused on revitalizing and maintaining the neighborhood he loves.

“I was born and raised here. I went to Wayne State. I watched as Detroit went through this incredible revitalization,” Washington said. “The resurgence of downtown Detroit and Detroit becoming this cool city everyone wants to go to was credited to Detroit ‘coming back’. But Detroit has always been here, Bankruptcy and all the negative things that happened in the headlines happened to a city that was always vibrant to those who have been here.”

Washington is the third 2024 honoree of the Game Changers series, which celebrates community members making a profound difference for youth in Detroit. In partnership with Comerica Bank, the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers will recognize one Game Changers honoree per week during select months throughout the year to receive a $1,000 grant dedicated to the charity of their choice.

“We’re inspired by Daniel’s continued work through NW Goldberg Cares, delivering an incredible level of revitalization and reimagined amenities to one of Detroit’s historic neighborhoods,” Ilitch Sports + Entertainment Director of Community Impact Kevin Brown said. “As a Game Changers honoree, we look forward to supporting Daniel and these important efforts.”

Washington said his work aims to bring much-needed amenities and resources to the historic neighborhood that housed the original Olympia Stadium and is the home of Motown Sound.


“We’re seeing a lot of investment and excitement surrounding the Henry Ford Health System, but as a neighborhood, it is home to a lot of single-family houses and that’s really what the work I do is centered around,” Washington said. “How do we prove that single-family houses are important in the city of Detroit and should be a priority to the city?”

Focusing on the history of the neighborhood and the homes within it is important to Washington and his organization. While they work on making old homes more energy efficient and livable for present day, they try to focus on keeping historic details and charm.

“What really drives me and a lot of my work is my 7-year-old niece,” Washington said. “She’s growing up in this neighborhood as well and I want to make sure that I leave this neighborhood better than I found it. For the better part of 14 years, I wasn’t able to safely play basketball in my neighborhood. If you think about a Black community in the city of Detroit, not having a court or a playground is really crazy to think about.”

Curtis Jones Park is one of the six public spaces that NW Goldberg Cares has created since 2019. The park consists of an NBA-sized basketball court complete with six hoops, playground, walking path and pavilion.


“In the winter, we bring in a synthetic ice-skating rink to put over the court, which then allows the kids to have the opportunity to play hockey or ice skate,”  Washington said.

Washington worked for four years completely volunteer-based while sharing his vision with funding organizations and finding investors. He now has a director of programming and a four-person board of directors.

Along with the six public spaces the organization has built, they’ve conducted a planning study, executed dozens of neighborhood events and are currently in the process of rehabbing three single-family homes.

But when it comes to receiving the Game Changers recognition, Washington said it’s validation for the work he does, but shows that others care.

“It means people care. That’s the biggest thing,” Washington said. “The award is not for me, it’s about the work I do. The work I do can get lonely sometimes, I’ve lost a lot. But at the same time, you feel motivated and passionate when others can recognize it and take a minute to say that what you do matters. That’s validating in a way.”


Washington said his favorite memory so far is when NW Goldberg Cares hosted its annual Detroit Symphony Orchestra Afternoon of Music in the Park in July 2022.

“I had a young lady come up to me and she had tears in her eyes,” the Game Changers honoree said. :She said she wanted to thank me because she used to play classical music and dreamed of the day her son would be able to have an instrument.

“Her son was no older than 6 and he had a trumpet in his hands and he was actually trying to learn how to play. This is why I’m doing the work. I’m doing it for the kids in the neighborhood who have aspirations, dreams, hopes that far exceed whatever I can think of. I want to instill in them to be proud of where you came from, proud of your parents and the sacrifices they’ve made but more importantly, you can be proud of yourself. You can achieve anything you want to.”

 To learn more about NW Goldberg Cares, visit