The Chaldean Community Foundation on Friday will open a new 11,500-square-foot community center in Sterling Heights, which will employ 35 people. It is expected to serve more than 20,000 people annually.
"With the ongoing tragedies and unrest happening in the Middle East, the need for our services and resources has never been more vital," says Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean Community Foundation, which is based in Bingham Farms. "Our new community center (in Sterling Heights) will enable us to continue to see success in individuals as they build independence while acculturating to a new life."
Manna says the community center, located at 3601 15 Mile Rd., will help provide services for refugees and immigrants, both Chaldeans and non-Chaldean, including access to health care, career services, services for individuals with special needs, English-as-a-second language classes, and immigration services.
Manna says the foundation first opened a Sterling Heights center in 2011 within a 2,500-square-foot space, and it was projected to serve 400 people each year. But the foundation wound up providing services to more than 16,000 individuals in 2014, and more than 18,000 people in 2015.
Earlier this year, the Chaldean Community Foundation started a capital campaign to raise $5 million for the new community center along with providing more long-term housing solutions. The campaign also supports the Chaldean Loan Fund, which is designed to provide low-interest loans to help individuals purchase a vehicle.
"It is inspiring to see the educational, charitable giving, and advocacy work being done right here in Macomb County," says Mark Hackel, executive of Macomb County.
Hackel says metro Detroit has the world's largest population of Chaldeans outside of Iraq, accounting for about 150,000 individuals. That number is expected to climb, he adds.