Douglass J Diggs is President/CEO of The Diggs Group Heritage, LLC. Heritage provides economic development consulting through its affiliated companies: Heritage Development Services LLC, City Heritage Services LLC and Heritage Realty Services LLC. The combined firms consult for profit, nonprofit and government entities in the areas of business, real estate and community development. Diggs uses his experience in the areas of business, real estate and economic development combined with his deep commitment to community service to provide quality, professional services to clients.
Previously, Mr. Diggs was Director of the city of Detroit Planning and Development Department. As Director, Diggs oversaw a $57 million budget and staff of one hundred eighty-eight. He was responsible for managing the City’s surplus real estate, including vacant lots and houses, and future development sites. During his tenure, he oversaw the creation of over $4 billion in new development investment in residential, commercial, and industrial facilities that created over 3600 jobs and 4100 new housing units. The department generated over $66 million in land sales during the period.
Diggs oversaw the department’s creation and implementation of the City’s Consolidated Plan for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs including Community Development Block Grant, HOME, Emergency Shelter Grant and Lead Abatement. The City was awarded $47 million by HUD as a result of the City’s submission of its Neighborhood Stabilization Plan (NSP). HUD cited Diggs’ leadership as a key factor in the making the award to the City.
Prior to joining the city, Mr. Diggs was Director of Community and Economic Development for Detroit Renaissance, a non-profit, civic organization comprised of Southeast Michigan’s business leaders. The organization focuses its efforts on economic development and public policy issues.
In that capacity, Mr. Diggs focused on the organization’s expanded involvement in the operation of pre-development loan funds, implementation of the organization’s minority entrepreneurial initiative and expansion of the organization’s role in neighborhood development projects.
During his tenure with Detroit Renaissance, Mr. Diggs was instrumental in establishing the Detroit Community Loan Fund, LLC (DCLF). The DCLF is a $4.3 million business development loan fund designed to finance small, minority businesses in Detroit that have traditionally faced obstacles in obtaining traditional financing yet have demonstrated growth potential.
In 2004, Mr. Diggs led a coalition of business groups in the successful application for a grant from the U. S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency to operate a Minority Business Development Center (MBDC) in the city of Detroit servicing the state of Michigan. The Michigan Statewide Minority Business Development Center (MSMBDC) provides direct standardized business assistance to rapid growth potential minority businesses by developing a network of strategic partnerships: charging client fees; and providing strategic business consulting. Its objective is to generate increased results with respect to financing and contracts awarded to minority-owned firms. Under Mr. Diggs’ management, MSMBDC was responsible for over $30 million in awarded contracts and financing in its first 12 months of operation.
Mr. Diggs is a graduate of University of Detroit Jesuit High School, Wayne State University and has an MBA from Davenport University. He was a Crain’s Detroit Business 40 under 40 honoree in 2002. He is certified as a Housing Development Finance Professional and Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council. He has completed the Dartmouth University Tuck School of Business basic and advanced courses for business consulting to high performing minority businesses.
Diggs serves on the board or advisory board of the Detroit Community Loan Fund, Venture Michigan Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Fannie Mae’s HouseMichigan Advisory Council, Lower Woodward Housing Fund Management Committee, Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Brownfield Authority, Detroit Downtown Development Authority, The Detroit Economic Development Corporation, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, University Liggett School, and The Parade Company.
He is a member or former member of the Detroit Investment Fund Minority Business Development Committee, Detroit Public Schools Capital Improvement Program Business Development and Review Committee, Booker T. Washington Business Association, Hispanic Business Alliance, Arab American Chaldean Council, Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, The Council for Urban Economic Development, Leadership Detroit Alumni Association, Trade Union Leadership Council, the Michigan Democratic Party, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Urban League and a Life Member of the NAACP.
Mr. Diggs is married to Dr. Shauna Ryder Diggs and they have two daughters, Jacqueline Exyie Diggs and Alexandra Anna Diggs.