A native of Troy, Aaron Appel coordinates volunteer engagement and grant writing at the nonprofit Brilliant Detroit, which focuses on creating “kid success neighborhoods” in the city. This work builds off his background in youth engagement and community organizing, which he developed as a student at Oberlin College, as a housing advocate in Philadelphia, as a fellow with Repair the World: Detroit and as the treasurer of Auntie Na’s House — a grassroots community center on the west side of Detroit.
Outside of Brilliant Detroit, Aaron co-chairs a water campaign with Detroit Jews for Justice (DJJ) in solidarity with the People’s Water Board. The campaign seeks to mobilize networks of synagogues and other statewide affiliates to ensure that the Michigan House of Representatives passes bills addressing the water shutoff crisis in Detroit. The people he has met through DJJ encourage him to explore his Jewish background and hold him accountable for being a better neighbor in Detroit.