Igniting Hope


FIRE (Forever Illustrating Real Entertainment) is an extraordinary organization operating under difficult circumstances, serving under-privileged children and young adults in Detroit, Michigan in the United States.

FIRE’s humble beginnings

Founded in October 2009 by Joey Donaldson, a native of The Motor City, FIRE helps young people avoid illegal activities, like gangs and drugs, by giving them a healthy and beneficial alternative. FIRE responds to a decline in the appreciation and education of Creative and Performing Arts in our public school system.

Serving two constituencies

First, FIRE serves young people in Detroit, who have a talent and need options for development.  Second, FIRE serves colleges and universities with major sports programs. These institutions need band members, actively recruit young talent, and importantly, give scholarships. Through a network that Donaldson has built over several years, band directors at several schools know FIRE provides a direct link to these talented young people. In fact, in 2015, 60 members, went off to colleges that had given them scholarships.

Numerous ways FIRE serves the community

With the motto of "Let the Fire in our hearts light the path to our success", FIRE offers the young people of the community several ways to engage.  To their original drumline* called Firebox Executioners, they added a dance company for young women called FLAMES (Fire Ladies Always Make Entertainment Sexy). In addition, FIRE offers a jazz band, a marching band and even a beginners' band.

Donations gratefully accepted

FIRE survives on performances, donations, and sales. Most of the instruments are acquired used. Though FIRE has applied for 501(c)3 certification, they are still awaiting confirmation. If you would like to donate money or an instrument to this worthy cause, send your tax-deductible contribution to HERO of Washtenaw County and write FIRE on the memo line.  You will receive a tax deductible receipt for the full amount of your donation.

Solutions society can thrive with

FIRE and other non-profits we have covered like Leadership CONNECTIONS in North Carolina offer real-world, effective solutions to social problems. Our forecast is that these small, local organizations will proliferate and other communities will use these programs as role models for how they may respond to their own local issues in meaningful ways.


Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist concentrating on workforce and workplace trends. Joyce is President and CEO of The Herman Group, a firm serving a wide range corporate, trade association and governmental clients on an international basis.

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