Speaker for July 10, 2019
Life Remodeled and its Impact on Detroit Business
Chris Lambert thought seeking a marketing degree while living the frat life at Indiana University might lead him to law school and later to a career as a real estate developer. Man, was he off! During his junior year, a spiritual awakening led to Bible studies replacing beer bongs. Then a call to Fuller and Gordon-Conwell seminaries, where he earned his MDiv and doctorate in preaching. For seven months in 2007, he and his wife helped a Liberian village raise needed resources for a well, farm animals and a new school building. That experience cemented his passion for community development. Upon returning to the U.S., he founded a church called Ekklesia. In 2010, he started Life Remodeled, loosely based on the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” After three years of projects centered on building houses from the ground up in six days that were deeded to deserving families, Lambert partnered with the Detroit Public Schools to refocus Life Remodeled’s efforts on under-resourced high schools and their surrounding neighborhoods, evolving into a transformative citywide community rebuilding initiative. In the last five years, Life Remodeled has mobilized $26M and more than 55,000 volunteers from business, community and church organizations to set the groundwork for sustainable change in four Detroit neighborhoods, each focused on bettering public education and creating safe passages for attending students. Maybe that development career wasn’t so far off after all.