- HIVE 50 CATEGORY: CAPITAL
In 2007, Shamayim Harris’ 2-year-old son was killed by a hit-and-run driver, and she chose to honor her son’s memory by setting out to transform her blighted Detroit-area neighborhood into an eco-village. At completion, Avalon Village will feature environmentally friendly facilities including a greenhouse food system, a female-led marketplace, and an K-12 academic support center. Harris dedicated years to acquiring land, seeking government permits, and recruiting building and environmental experts to make her vision a reality. Construction is currently underway on several of the village’s major projects, including the Homework House after-school retreat and a marketplace made from repurposed shipping containers. A Kickstarter campaign started by Harris raised more than $240,000 for the project, and more sizable donations, including a prefab home that Ellen DeGeneres donated after Harris appeared on her talk show, have fueled the project.