Our Mission

Vanguard’s mission in Detroit’s Historic North End is to cultivate a vibrant and healthy community where people live, work and play. Our core values are ECONOMIC EQUITY and RACIAL JUSTICE. We accomplish this through programs in:

·      Housing Development

·      Commercial and Retail Development

·      Environmental Stewardship

·      Community Engagement

·      Community Improvement & Beautification

Our Story

In order to best understand Vanguard Community Development Corporation, it is important to understand the North End. The North End is a historic Detroit neighborhood, as the land that comprises it was annexed by the City in 1891. The traditional boundaries of the North End are Ford Freeway (S); Russell Street (E); Highland Park (N); and Woodward Avenue (W).

The North End was home first to the city’s wealthy elite in Arden Park, which in 1892, was one of the earliest platted developments in Detroit.  Arden Park provided elegant homes built at the turn of the twentieth century. The rest of the North End grew organically through the 1920s with Jewish European immigrants who came to work in the auto industry.

In the 1940s, the North End experienced an extreme demographic shift as the Jewish community moved to more northwest neighborhoods, and were replaced African-Americans “moving up” from “Black Bottom”. The North End had a thriving commercial and entertainment district, being one of the centers of Blues and Jazz music in the country.

Over the many years, the North End, like most of Detroit, has struggled with decline and poverty. But, despite the challenges, Detroit and the North End remain strong and resilient. The North End is one of few original “branded” Detroit neighborhoods. Detroiters have always known where “The North End” is, and unlike almost all Detroit communities, was never known only by its cross streets, as in “7 mile and Schaefer” or “Mack and Mount Elliott”. This is important to know because it helps to explain the fierce passion North Enders feel about our community. 

Vanguard Community Development is a stalwart champion of the Detroit’s Historic North End. Vanguard was founded in 1994 by Bishop Edgar Vann and Second Ebenezer Church. The Bishop was inspired by the wave of community based economic development sweeping across the country in the 90s. He decided to utilize his resources as a church founder and community leader to facilitate the revitalization of the physical, social and economic fabric of his congregation’s neighborhood.

Vanguard honors our history and, over the years, has evolved into an independent community based organization; no longer governed by Second Ebeneezer Baptist Church. Despite this, we continue to advocate and work for the North End. Our Vanguard Community Center and offices are located at 2795 East Grand Boulevard, as part of the North End Community Campus. 


Vanguard is governed by a committed and active Board of Directors. Our directors include North End residents; technically trained professionals; and dedicated Detroiters. The Board is led by our Chair, Leslie Andrews who is detailed below. Vanguard would not the agent of change that it is today without our founder Bishop Edgar Vann who is also detailed below.

                 Chairman of the board

                 Chairman of the board

                                               Vanguard Founder

                                               Vanguard Founder

Bishop Edgar Vann

Second Ebeneezer Baptist Church

From the board room to the neighborhood, Bishop Edgar l. Vann’s impact is felt far and wide. A major contributor to the greater good for his church, the city of Detroit, and communities around the world, Bishop Vann exemplifies the fact that “community” starts with “empowered people.” Known as a community and civic leader, Bishop Vann inspires personal growth and transformational change to both faith-based and secular audiences across the globe. He currently leads a congregation of more than 6,000 members and the church is celebrating 75 years of service.

Bishop Vann has traveled and preached the Word of God extensively throughout the world. Beyond the United States, he has international influence in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Haiti, the Middle East, Africa and Easter European countries

Leslie G. Andrews


Leslie Andrews assumed the position at Rock Ventures, LLC in July 2012, after serving as the Michigan Area Development Director for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) since July 2004

Since 2014, she has served as the co-chair for community advisory board of Detroit Police Chief James Craig. She accepted this role after completing a 4-year appointment as a Human Rights Commissioner under former Mayor Dave Bing.

Andrews holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. She was named a 2010 Woman of Excellence by the Michigan Chronicle. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Northcentral University in Arizona.


Board of Directors 2018


Leslie Andrews (Chair)

Dr. Shawny DeBerry (Treasurer)

Beatrice Taylor (Secretary)

Board Members:

Bishop Edgar Vann

Sonya Delley

George Eason

James Feagin

Adam Hollier

Etta Garth

Tarence Wheeler



  • Wayne County

  • As well as: