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Jon talks with Carolyn Bellinson, Co-Founder of Brilliant Detroit. Brilliant Detroit is dedicated to building kid success families and neighborhoods where families with children 0-8 have what they need to be school ready, healthy and stable.

Carolyn spent twelve years in the healthcare field, working at a regional PPO. There she was responsible for growing a hospital network throughout Michigan and building hospital networks throughout Ohio and Indiana. This involved marketing, negotiating contracts, setting pricing for services and continued customer service for all network hospitals. Carolyn was also a lead negotiator in large physician network contracts.

After taking time off to raise a family, Carolyn joins her husband Jim and their business partner, Zack Sklar in building and growing restaurant business. To date, Peas & Carrots Holding owns and operates 11 restaurants (8 in southeast Michigan and three in Chicago). Carolyn and Jim have been and continue to be involved in designing and building the restaurants as well as in operations. Peas & Carrots Holding is 9 years old. In 2015, Carolyn and Jim opened Axle Brewing Company, in Royal Oak, Michigan. Carolyn is involved in the design and concept of Livernois Tap, Axle’s retail venue opening in early 2017. Carolyn is also an involved community member. Carolyn is the immediate past president of Hebrew Free Loan, Detroit, a non-profit organization that gives interest-free loans to needy Jews throughout the state of Michigan. She also sat on the Board of Directors at Yad Ezra, a kosher food pantry serving 1,300 families every month. In 2017, Carolyn was invited to participate in the Wexner Heritage Program, a Jewish Leadership program, which she completed in 2019. Carolyn’s most recent community involvement is as a co-chair of the Annual Campaign for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Five years ago Carolyn and her husband founded a non-profit, Brilliant Detroit which delivers early childhood learning to low access, underprivileged communities in Detroit. Carolyn graduated from University of Michigan with a B.A. in Political Science and Wayne State University with a Juris Doctorate, becoming a bar-certified attorney in the State of Michigan.

Brilliant Detroit was created to provide a new approach to early childhood development by building “kid success neighborhoods” where families are school ready, healthy, and stable. We support families with kids 0-8 through

homes in the middle of high-need neighborhoods, aligning quality, evidence-based programming with their needs and under their leadership. Working “with, for and by” neighbors, Brilliant Detroit coordinates partners to deliver programs focused on school readiness, 3rd grade reading, health, and family stability. Neighbors come together in these homes, forming the bonds and building the knowledge needed to make anything possible for our children. This is the essence of a kid success neighborhood.

With 60% of Detroit children under five living in poverty and only 15% reading at grade level by 3rd grade, the time is now to make a change.




*E – explicit language may be used in this podcast.