Brilliant Detroit to construct

Why the Detroit Pistons are partnering with Brilliant Detroit to construct a ‘bigger than basketball’ community hub on Detroit’s east side

Brilliant Detroit is a non-profit dedicated to preparing young children for kindergarten. 

That’s why the Detroit Pistons have partnered with the organization that was founded in 2015 to construct a community hub on the city’s east side. 

Pistons players Cory Joseph and Buddy Boeheim joined other Pistons representatives, city residents and Brilliant Detroit representatives for a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and block party last month in the Islandview neighborhood. 

As part of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Legacy Project, the celebration was a kickoff of the league-wide initiative to create and dedicate more than 50 new Live, Learn or Play Centers across the country. The NBA announced the initiative before the start of last season. The Pistons donated $100,000; the NBA donated $25,000 after the Pistons selected Brilliant Detroit as the grant recipient. Renovation of a vacant house began earlier this year to create a central community hub and gathering place for local families.

“This is about Detroit and bringing community together,” Brilliant CEO and founder Cindy Eggleton said while children were enjoying themselves nearby during the pre-Halloween gathering. “There's no better organization than the Pistons to help unify the city and I can’t tell you how much I feel that in my heart.” 

The Islandview location will be the 14th community center constructed by Brilliant Detroit. Like the others, it will have a neighborhood advisory board to communicate the needs of families and neighbors. The non-profit provides programming and support year-round in underserved Detroit neighborhoods. 

“It was a no-brainer to partner with Brilliant Detroit for our legacy project,” Pistons vice president of community and social responsibility Erika Swilley said. “They have an incredible impact on the community with what they do.”  

Although the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last month, the community hub won’t officially open until January.

"It’s a great thing with what the Pistons are doing here with the community,” Boeheim said. “You can tell it's bigger than basketball right away and that’s all you can ask for as a player.”   

Joining the Pistons and Brilliant Detroit in this initiative is Priority Health, who will be donating 10,000 diapers to the hub and United Wholesale Mortgage whose contributions will help provide a space where all members of the neighborhood can gather and exercise in a welcoming and safe environment. Additionally, Wallside Windows will be providing windows for the new Islandview hub, and the Detroit2Nepal Foundation is also providing funding for the site. 

 “It’s important that we continuously find ways to authentically give back in the community and really make a difference,” Swilley said. To donate to Brilliant Detroit, go to