Joel Rash is the Director of Red Ink Flint, a youth-serving non-profit. Joel has spent his professional life working in the arts, economic development, and entrepreneurship, often at the intersection of all three. Red Ink’s Flint Local 432, one of the nation's longest-running all-ages performing arts venue, Flint Steamworks, a community makerspace, No Child Left On-Line, a youth outdoors program, and Flint City Pop-Up, supporting emerging entrepreneurs. Since 1984, Rash has booked rock shows in alternative spaces in downtown Flint, promoting cultural life in the city center. Beginning in 1994, Rash led the redevelopment of downtown Flint by purchasing three vacant buildings and renovating them as mixed-use offices, commercial storefronts, art spaces, and lofts - the city's first modern loft-style apartments. Previously, he led the city's Downtown Facade Improvement Program and the University of Michigan Flint's entrepreneurship efforts by establishing the University Outreach's Launch program to help incubate student and community start-ups. Recently he has been part of the leadership team for YES Flint, an effort to promote and support youth entrepreneurship.
In 2016, Joel began his Innovations Fellows project, "Flint City Pop-up." This initiative focuses on creating a pipeline for entrepreneurial youth with multiple entry points and several outcomes. The education and support program will target high school students and disconnected 16- to 24-year-olds who are interested in starting their own businesses. Flint City Pop-Up will engage the more advanced youth entrepreneurs, as well as start-ups in the community who will benefit from intermediary step of having a temporary space to do business in.