COVID-19 Update: Ford Establishes Bronco Wild Fund to Support Outdoor Preservation, Cure Multiple Myeloma Corp. Panel Discussion Slated for Oct. 29, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Oct. 20

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Ford Establishes Bronco Wild Fund to Support Outdoor Preservation
Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn has created the Bronco Wild Fund, which will support the responsible enjoyment and preservation of the great American outdoors.

A special endowment will be funded by a portion of the proceeds from Bronco two-door, four-door and Bronco Sport SUV sales, as well as Ford licensed merchandise. The fund’s goal is to raise up to $5 million annually and Tuesday pledged to plant 1 million new trees by the end of 2021.

“The Bronco Wild Fund will help Bronco owners and off-road enthusiasts connect with the outdoors on a deeper, more personal level – ultimately enabling them to become responsible stewards of our nation’s treasures,” says Mark Grueber, Bronco brand marketing manager at Ford.

Bronco Wild Fund will work through a series of strategic alliances with nonprofits selected for their preservation efforts of America’s outdoors and their encouragement of responsible stewardship through improved access and education.

The first two nonprofits to reach those objectives are the National Forest Foundation, which will receive support to help with its reforestation of America’s national forests, and Outward Bound USA, which will receive funds to provide access for young people to learn and grow through outdoor experiences in some of our country’s great wilderness spaces.

Future preservation initiatives will include financial support for reforestation and trail maintenance programs, forest health, fire mitigation, and restoration work. The fund will provide additional support through equipment donations to various forestry agencies across the U.S., while outdoor access programs will focus on education and scholarships, outdoor learning and environmental stewardship.

To learn more about the Bronco Wild Fund, visit here.

Cure Multiple Myeloma Corp. Panel Discussion Slated for Oct. 29
Bloomfield Hills-based nonprofit Cure Multiple Myeloma Corp. is presenting a virtual panel discussion on the disease on Oct. 29 on 5:30 p.m. The event is in place of the organization’s Wine and Dine in the D fundraiser, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The panelists scheduled to participate include:

  • Daniel Auclair, chief scientific officer of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
  • Craig Emmitt Cole, assistant professor division of hematology and oncology and clinician at the Michigan State University Breslin Cancer Center.
  • Jeffrey Margolis, hematologist and oncologist, president of Michigan Healthcare Professionals, and professor of oncology at Oakland University’s William Beaumont School of Medicine.
  • Matthew Pianko, clinical assistant professor of internal medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Rogel Cancer Center.
  • Joseph P. Uberti, professor of medicine and oncology director of the Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Program at Wayne State University.
  • Jeffrey Zonder, professor of oncology and leader of the Myeloma and Amyloidosis Program at the Karmanos Cancer Institute/Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Login information for the panel discussion will be provided to all donors. The discussion is free for multiple myeloma patients and their caregivers. Patients are asked to please contact Michele MacWilliams at to be placed on the login list. Visit here for sponsorship and donor options.

Comerica Bank Donates $350K to Michigan Women Forward Fund
Comerica Bank today announced a $350,000 donation to Michigan Women Forward, a community development organization whose mission is to expand economic opportunity for Michigan women.

Comerica’s contribution helps replenish MWF’s Entrepreneur Resilience Fund, established to support women-led small businesses recovery from the pandemic and re-open their businesses. These funds will provide additional loan dollars throughout the state.

“We are committed to supporting women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs, helping them recover amid COVID-19,” says Mike Ritchie, Michigan market president of Comerica Bank. “The stability and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs significantly contributes to the economic vitality of our communities, as they provide important employment opportunities and deliver valuable resources and services. We are honored to partner with Michigan Women Forward to help businesses throughout our state.”

Michigan Women Forward’s mission is to accelerate the state’s progress by advancing equality and opportunity for women and girls. MWF is the only major organization in Michigan exclusively committed to finding solutions to issues affecting women and girls, inspiring emerging leaders, providing leadership training and empowering women and girls to create change in their own communities.

“We are very thankful for Comerica Bank’s donation, as it will greatly leverage our efforts to help small businesses across the state to obtain the resources and aid they need to recover from COVID-19,” says Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO of Michigan Women Forward. “Our mission began more than 30 years ago by a group of 30 Michigan women that wanted to address the imbalance in funding women’s programs.”

Comerica is committed to helping businesses statewide. Comerica Bank and Comerica Charitable Foundation announced an investment totaling nearly $4 million in Michigan, including Comerica’s partnership with Michigan Women Forward. Coupled with aid to small and micro businesses, investments have assisted community service organizations providing services to youth, seniors and other vulnerable populations.

In Related News: The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation has made a $250,000 impact investment in the Michigan Women Forward’s Community Impact Note Fund. The investment will be targeted for Washtenaw County woman-owned and minority-owned businesses.

“I applaud AAACF for their leadership,” says Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO of Michigan Women Forward. “They serve as pioneers for Michigan community foundations and through this investment, they demonstrate how important it is to provide leadership through impact investing. This will allow MWF to find, assist and lend funds to 10-15 women-owned businesses in Washtenaw County who have not had access to lending capital.”

Jillian Rosen, vice president for community investment at AAACF, says, “With COVID-19, we know women and minority-owned businesses have been hit the hardest. This partnership will help these businesses recover and rebuild, and catalyze the launch of new businesses in Washtenaw County.”

Businesses can access microloan information via the Michigan Women Forward here.

The $10 million MWF Community Impact Note program also is open to individual and institutional investors with investments beginning at $50,000. MWF promises returns of 1 percent for five-year notes, 2 percent for seven-year notes, and 3 percent for 10-year notes.

Detroit Regional Partnership Receives Two Economic Development Awards
The International Economic Development Council honored the Detroit Regional Partnership with two gold awards during its 2020 virtual IEDC Annual Conference: Excellence in Economic Development awards ceremony.

DRP won a gold award for its RED Talent Cluster Program, a project in the Innovation Programs and Initiatives category of the awards program as well as a gold award for its Pathway Jobs, a project in Economic Equity and Inclusion category.

“Addressing inequity and poverty and strengthening our talent pipeline go hand in hand,” says Maureen Donohue Krauss, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership. “We are very proud of this effort and the recognition it’s receiving.

“The ‘Pathway Jobs’ initiative is designed to attract jobs that are more accessible because they don’t require a college degree. These types of jobs provide people an avenue to enter and progress through the workforce to pursue higher-paying positions and careers while ultimately offering employers a stronger talent pool.”

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. Thirty-five award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers from around the world, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received more than 500 submissions from four countries.

Community Colleges Announce New Statewide Transfer Agreements
The Michigan Center for Student Success at the Michigan Community College Association kicked off National Transfer Student Week by announcing six statewide transfer agreements in programs including art, communication, exercise science, mechanical engineering, public health, and social work. The agreements join the four transfer agreements signed earlier this year in biology, business, criminal justice, and psychology.

“Ensuring students can transfer is more important than ever in a post-pandemic future,” says Mike Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association. “The 10 new MiTransfer Pathways ensure Michiganders can access high quality, lower-cost postsecondary education through their local community college first and then keep working toward their bachelor’s degrees.”

The launch of these pathways coincides with National Transfer Student Week, celebrated Oct. 19-23, which is sponsored by the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students and coordinated in Michigan by the Michigan Center for Student Success at the Michigan Community College Association.

“We’re delighted to celebrate National Transfer Student Week by announcing these transfer pathways that lead to bachelor’s degrees at so many Michigan universities,” says Erica Lee Orians, executive director of the Michigan Center for Student Success.

For more information, visit here.

GetSetUp Partners with MDHHS to Make Learning Platform Accessible to 2.5M Adults
GetSetUp, a new interactive video learning platform for older adults, has partnered with The Aging and Adult Services Agency at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to make its platform available to the state’s 2.5 million older adults.

Through the initiative, which is supported in part by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, will facilitate real-time learning experiences that range from teaching everyday technical skills to enrichment-focused courses taught by expert instructors. Classes will be accessible 10 hours a day to make it easy for Michiganders to attend classes anytime they desire, and from the comfort and safety of their homes, for free, over the next six months.

“Nearly one-third of the nation’s aging population experiences loneliness and/or social isolation, which puts them at greater risk for serious physical and mental conditions,” says David Ko, co-founder of Ripple Health and former executive at UnitedHealthcare Group. “By making available as a health benefit to older adults in the state, MDHHS is embracing the power of continuous learning to engage citizens, encourage a better sense of self, and improve health outcomes, which helps to reduce costs.”

Dr. Alexis Travis, senior deputy director of the Aging and Adult Services Agency at MDHHS, says, “Older adults are at greater risk for complications related to coronavirus and have had to follow public health guidelines closely, including social distancing. We see GetSetUp as a way to help empower older adults and help them reconnect using technology. We are thankful for the support from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund for this project.”

In 2021, as Medicare plans and state governments offer additional types of supplemental benefits for older adults to enable home-based care services, the need for virtual education options will increase significantly. GetSetUp is scaling its learning and video platform to optimize for personalized content and socialization.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the MDHHS and provide Michigan with a scalable way to make life-long learning part of its offerings that enable better health and wellness in older adults,” says Lawrence Kosick, co-founder at GetSetUp. “We look forward to working with MDHHS and other states, health plans, care providers, and employers dedicated to helping more than 100 million older adults stay active, engaged, and reimagine themselves in a way that is safe, fun, and interactive.”

Salvation Army Seeking Red Kettle Volunteers
The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit is looking for volunteers for its Red Kettle Campaign, which this year offers two new opportunities for supporters to Do the Most Good.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers now have the ability to safely host an online Red Kettle by becoming a virtual bellringer and ring on their own time in the comfort of their own home.

The Salvation Army also has launched a new volunteer recruitment initiative called Watch for Good, which gives supporters an opportunity to win an Apple or Android smartwatch, valued at approximately $300.

The nonprofit is looking for in-person bellringers as well. Red kettles will be visible at select metro Detroit storefronts starting Nov. 13, and volunteers will follow and adhere to a strict set of health and safety guidelines set forth by The Salvation Army and local and state health departments.

Volunteers who wish to support The Salvation Army this Christmas season should visit here.

Higher Hopes! Providing 1,000 Thanksgiving Meal Kits to Families in 2020
Higher Hopes!, a nonprofit based in Commerce Township, will distribute 1,000 complete, Thanksgiving meal kits to those in need.

Each Thanksgiving kit contains a 12- to 14-pound turkey, stuffing, Michigan potatoes, yams, all of the ingredients for green bean casserole, chicken broth, Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, cranberry sauce, apples, spices, and Coca Cola products, all topped off with Cooper Street Cookies for dessert and much more.

In addition to the Thanksgiving program, the organization provides nourishing 35- to 45-pound meal kits each month to at least 1,000 families with children enrolled in Early Head Start Childcare Partnership Programs throughout southeast Michigan.

Through 2019, more than 1 million pounds of food has been distributed in five years and expects to increase that by 500,000 pounds before the end of 2020.

“This has definitely been an interesting year, quite different than what we’ve ever experienced,” says Bill Birndorf, founder of Higher Hopes! “With COVID-19 and everything else that’s going on, what we do at Higher Hopes! is more important than in years past.

“There are 1,414,700 people in Michigan who struggle with hunger and food insecurities, 356,930 of which are children. That number is rising! With many schools on virtual instruction, children that rely on getting two of their three meals at school are at and continue to be at risk.”

Partners in the organizations work include Gleaners Food Bank of Southeast Michigan and the Order of the Fishermen Ministry Head Start Program.

For more information, visit here.

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