COVID-19 Update: National Philanthropy Day Broadcast to Air Nov. 22 on Detroit Public TV, Michigan Jobless Rate Drops in October, 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.
graph of daily coronavirus cases in Michigan
Courtesy of Bridge

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.

National Philanthropy Day Broadcast to Air Nov. 22 on Detroit Public TV
Detroit Public Television will broadcast metro Detroit’s celebration of National Philanthropy Day, which honors the area’s philanthropists and volunteers, on Sunday, Nov. 22 from 6:30-8 p.m.

The program is being developed by members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for Greater Detroit in lieu of its annual in-person fundraising event that was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and “Detroit Today” host Stephen Henderson (WDET radio) will host the televised event. It will feature such guests as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press columnist, author, and WJR Radio host.

AFP Detroit has partnered with Detroit Public Television and Hour Media to give viewers in southeastern Michigan access to learning about this year’s honorees.

“We have to take some time to celebrate the accomplishments and talents of this profession because our society depends on these great organizations to fill in the gaps,” says Steve Ragan, president of the AFP Detroit Chapter. “We’re proud to have such a great group of special guests help us recognize these deserving local residents for their amazing philanthropic efforts.”

In addition to the eight annual awards, AFP Detroit also will present two special awards: a Special Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Philanthropy honoring Mariam Noland, longtime president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and the Spirit of Philanthropy Award recognizing the Pontiac Community Foundation. Each of this year’s honorees will be recognized on the Nov. 22 broadcast. It will also highlight the community’s leadership and philanthropists from the arts and culture, health care, education, social services, and other non-profit sectors.

This year’s eight annual honorees are:

  • James and Patti Anderson, Max M. Fisher Award for Outstanding Philanthropist
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Outstanding Corporation Award
  • Hudson Webber, Outstanding Foundation Award Sponsored by Plante Moran
  • Miriam Noland, Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Philanthropy
  • Lizabeth Ardisana, George W. Romney Award for Lifetime Achievement in Volunteerism
  • Henry Grix and Howard Israel, The Edmund T. Ahee Jewel Award for Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
  • Priya Mann, Neal Shine Award for Media Commitment to Philanthropy
  • Pontiac Community Foundation, Spirit of Philanthropy Award
  • University of Detroit Jesuit High School, Sparky Anderson Award for Youth in Philanthropy
  • Chuck Hammond, Dr. John S. Lore Award for Outstanding Fundraising Executive

Sponsors of this year’s event include Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Beaumont Health, PVS Chemicals, Huntington Bank, Plante Moran, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Wayne State University, The Remington Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Hope Network, Hudson-Webber Foundation, The Children’s Foundation, Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan, Schoolcraft College Foundation, Hammond & Associates, and Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation.

For more information, visit here.

Michigan Jobless Rate Drops in October
Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.5 percent during October, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the lowest jobless rate in the state since March.

The national jobless rate fell by one full percentage point between September and October to 6.9 percent. Michigan’s October rate was 1.4 percentage points below the U.S. rate, but for most of 2020, the Michigan rate has exceeded the national average. Over the year, the U.S. unemployment rate advanced by 3.3 percentage points. Michigan’s over-the-year rate increase was 1.6 percentage points.

“Michigan’s labor market continued to show some improvement during October,” says Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “However, despite a jobless rate decline over the month, nonfarm jobs were still over 400,000 below pre-pandemic levels.”

Michigan labor force trends for October 2020 were difficult to evaluate, according to officials, as the increase in employment from the household survey was well above the payroll job gain from the business survey.

A better measure of recent Michigan trends may be the three-month average number of employed and unemployed in the state between August and October.

Michigan’s three-month average employment level was 4,503,000, 267,000 below the pre-pandemic February 2020 employment level. The state’s three-month average unemployment level was 369,000, 189,000 above the February level.

Over the year, Michigan’s workforce declined by 1.7 percent. The national labor force level fell by 2.1 percent since October 2019.

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate dropped to 6.2 percent during October. Total employment rose by 156,000, or 8.6 percent. The estimated number of unemployed fell in October, but over the past three months, unemployment in the Detroit MSA averaged 93,000 above the pre-pandemic February 2020 unemployment level.

The Detroit MSA jobless rate advanced by 2.2 percentage points over the year. Over the past three months, however, the jobless rate averaged 8.6 percent, or 4.6 percentage points above the October 2019 rate.

According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted payroll jobs inched up by 16,000 over the month, or 0.4 percent. This was the smallest monthly job gain in Michigan since pandemic-related recalls began in May 2020.

Sectors with the largest job additions in October included professional and business services (+6,000); trade, transportation, and utilities (+6,000); and leisure and hospitality (+6,000). The state’s manufacturing industry recorded the largest job decline, edging down slightly by 2,000 in October.

Other October employment highlights include:

  • October marked the sixth consecutive month of recalls of workers since the pandemic-related job plunge in April. Over the past six months, total nonfarm jobs rose by 632,000, or 19.0 percent.
  • The state’s leisure and hospitality industry also advanced in employment for the sixth consecutive month. The industry, however, has registered the largest over-the-year decline in jobs, down 140,000 or 32 percent.
  • Michigan’s manufacturing sector recorded a sharp drop of 43,000 jobs since October 2019.
  • Retail trade in the state exhibited a job advance in October for the sixth consecutive month. Since April, jobs in the sector have moved up by 94,000 as workers returned from pandemic-related layoffs.
  • Over the year, statewide payroll employment fell by 381,000, or 8.6 percent.

MDOT Receives $6M in Federal Funds for Advanced Technology, Zero-emission Buses
The Michigan Department of Transportation will receive more than $6 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission program to distribute to six transit agencies located in both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas to replace aging diesel buses with zero-emission battery electric buses.

In addition, new charging infrastructure to support the new electric vehicles will be designed and installed as well. In collaboration with CALSTART’s Midwest Office in Troy, the project will provide clean transportation in rural and urban communities, supporting the local economy by providing residents transportation while improving public health and quality of life across the state.

“Affordable, reliable, and clean transit options should be available to everyone throughout the state,” says Jean Ruestman, administrator of the MDOT Office of Passenger Transportation. “With the support of this federal investment, we can create a sustainable transportation system of the future for our rural and urban areas alike. CALSTART’s expertise in efficient transportation technologies and program management makes them a great partner to help us implement this multi-year project.”

As with any new technology deployment and as the transit agencies transition to battery electric vehicles, technical training for maintenance personnel and responders will be required. This new FTA project includes education courses for maintenance personnel as well as specialized training for fire and medical emergency first responders.

“Not only is Michigan a global leader in sustainable transportation manufacturing and innovation but it is nationally respected for bringing clean transit across the entire state,” adds Maureen Marshall, Midwest director and manager of the project for CALSTART. “The transition to zero-emission buses will reduce air and noise pollution in vulnerable communities, as well as support the growth of manufacturing jobs and innovation right here in Michigan.”

SMART Bus and Moovit Launch First On-Demand Transit Service in Farmington and Farmington Hills
SMART Bus has announced a partnership with Moovit, an Intel company, that will enable Farmington and Farmington Hills residents to use the free Moovit iOS and Android app to plan their journeys and book their trip on the SMART Quick Connect On-Demand service, a dynamically routed transit system that automatically assigns multiple passengers heading in the same direction to a shared vehicle.

The service started Monday, Nov. 16.

SMART currently operates a dial-a-ride service in Farmington and Farmington Hills, which uses a phone-based request and dispatching system that results in relatively long wait times for a ride.

Moovit Transit On-Demand enables multiple riders to seamlessly share a ride, with a dynamic route and schedule. SMART Bus will operate this service on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and offer free rides until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“SMART is taking a big step by modernizing the Dial-a-Ride service in Farmington and Farmington Hills and is now able to offer quick, convenient and more a reliable way to ride around their community,” says Robert Cramer, deputy general manager of SMART. “We are always looking for ways to improve service, meet the increasing demand for transit as well as address the challenges the pandemic has imposed.

“Partnering with Moovit and offering the On-Demand feature to riders allows us to address all of these issues with one application, while also developing new and innovative ways to deliver better services with our existing resources.”

Moovit is available to download on the App Store or Google Play.

Pleasantrees to Open First Retail Cannabis Location in Hamtramck
Harrison Township-based Pleasantrees Cannabis Co. has opened its second retail cannabis location,  at 2238 Holbrook St. in Hamtramck, is the first retail location in the city.

The Hamtramck location, which will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. for adults 21 years and older, offers an assortment of Pleasantrees cannabis products including nine varieties of flower, five-pack pre-roll joints, and live hash rosin. In addition, select products from other industry-leading brands, including Clout King top-tier flower, will be available.

In addition, the Pleasantrees team is hiring between 15-20 people from the local community for the new establishment; 12 offers already have been extended to residents of Hamtramck or Detroit.  Additionally, the store’s general and assistant general managers are both Detroit residents. Initially, due to pending public health concerns, the store will offer curbside pickup and home delivery options. Walk-in service will be made available as soon as soon as safely possible.

“We have looked forward to this day for a long time,” says Randall Buchman, founder and CEO of Pleasantrees. “We have worked for more than two years to bring a retail cannabis location to the city of Hamtramck and through the commitment and hard work of our team  we’re here – and proud to be a part of the community.”

Sports Data Labs Launches Human Data Labs Division
Sports Data Labs Inc. in Detroit has formed Human Data Labs, a new digital health division that will expand the use of SD Labs’ proprietary technology solutions to select health and wellness services.

SD Labs provides technology that enables interoperability of sensors and sensing systems, while using artificial intelligence to transform collected data into metrics, insights, and predictions for various real-time and on-demand use cases.

In professional sports, SD Labs has been pioneering the commercialization of athlete data through its real-time monitoring platform.

Dr. Giulio Bognolo will join SD Labs as chief medical officer and head of Human Data Labs.

“SD Labs has had tremendous success utilizing medical wearables and other sensing technologies in the very challenging and high-demand environment of professional sports,” says Bognolo. “They have also developed very novel, foundational technology for real-time data collection, transmission, signal processing, and AI-based predictions – coupled with unique business models – that I believe can play a significant role in the digital health ecosystem.”

For more information, visit here.

Southfield Company Plays Role in Completion of Bedrock’s Assembly Garage
Rich & Associates in Southfield was architect of record for Bedrock’s recently opened Assembly Garage, a 450-space parking structure with infrastructure in place for 8,500 square feet of future ground level retail space.

The parking structure in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood supports newly renovated lofts, known as The Assembly – a 160,000-square-foot mixed-use development offering residential, office, and retail space.

“The expertise provided by Rich & Associates was critical to the construction of our Assembly Garage,” says Kevin Bopp, vice president of parking and mobility at Bedrock. “They were a crucial part of our team; and the role they played in architectural, engineering, civil and parking design allowed us to develop a high-class garage from the ground up, offering some of the most advanced modern amenities to parking.”

Among the Assembly Garage’s notable features include:

  • Bedrock’s first example of vertically stacked EV charging stations – an arrangement that allows for more strategic placement of EV charging, as opposed to the typical first floor grouping.
  • Flash access controls in the entry/exit lanes – one of the city’s first examples in publicly accessibly parking.

Additionally, the Assembly Garage recently hosted an international collaboration between Bedrock, Ford, and Bosch to test the latest in automated valet parking – the first of its kind in the United States. A video of the test can be viewed here.

“We are excited about the role we played in the development of this landmark parking structure, which provides extraordinary benefits to Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood,” says David Rich, vice president of Rich & Associates. “We are also thrilled that the garage is playing such an important role in the development of automated valet parking technology.”

Pontiac Launches Resident Engagement App PontiaConnect
Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman has announced that the city has launched its first resident engagement mobile app for iOS and Android users to help combat COVID-19 spread and improve other communications.

Kyyba Innovations in Farmington Hills developed the PontiaConnect app as a solution to provide the city with an interactive communications platform to engage with its residents.

“We will partner with local health units to use this data to assess how best to support high-risk communities in Pontiac as we fight this pandemic,” says Waterman. “We hope to engage with our residents and communicate accurate news and information, not only about the pandemic, but also about issues that serve and touch our community members.”

Tel Ganesan, managing director of Kyyba Innovations, says, “The app uses technology to connect people with the city and vice-versa. COVID-19 news and information changes daily and we are all in a silo, operating in our own bubble. This app will allow Mayor Waterman and her team to communicate and empower themselves with safe tools and trusted resources. A megaphone that could be used to communicate to the residents in case of alerts and other announcements.”

The PontiaConnect app has multiple functions, including:

  • Provides easy access to accurate government and hospital-based news and information.
  • Allows users to connect with a city official via text.
  • Provides a location-based heat map in real time based on user data gathered using a symptom questionnaire.
  • Offers a consolidated landscape of tools and resources, including instant mapping to COVID-19 test sites.

PontiaConnect asks users to answer a few simple questions about their current health symptoms, then check in every day to update whether they are feeling better or have noticed new symptoms. Anyone who is a resident of Pontiac can download the City of Pontiac app for their iOS or Android phones in the App Store.

Data gained from the PontiaConnect app can be consolidated with information from online dashboards and call-in hotlines operated by county health leaders to provide a more-complete and real-time picture of the local threat from COVID-19.

Grown Rogue Prepares to Launch Nitrogen Sealed Flower Jars in Michigan
Oregon-based Grown Rogue International Inc., a multi-state cannabis company with operations in Michigan, has announced the pending launch of its Certified Fresh Nitrogen Sealed Jars —designed to ensure fresh premium cannabis — into the Michigan market.

Improvements at the Bay City facility, operated by the company’s Michigan partner Golden Harvests, continues with the construction of an additional 2,000-square-foot flowering room and dedicated cloning and genetic housing rooms to increase vegetative area to support the additional flowering canopy.

Grown Rogue is launching its Certified Fresh Nitrogen Sealed 3.5-gram Jars at select Michigan retailers providing consumers with three popular cultivars to choose from including: Rogue OG, Strawberries and Cream, and White Cookies. Grown Rogue’s jars contain hand selected flower that are vacuum-sealed and nitrogen-injected, similar to its patented pre-roll process to remove oxygen that degrades flower while locking in maximum freshness and terpenes.

“We are excited to launch our Nitrogen Sealed Jars into the Michigan market,” says Obie Strickler, CEO of Grown Rogue. “Many retailers have been transitioning more of their business to pre-packaged flower, so this is a perfect time to bring our nitrogen sealed jars to the Michigan market allowing us to control the quality and freshness consumers have come to expect from the Grown Rogue brand.”

City Year Detroit Virtual Leadership Summit Slated for Dec. 3
City Year Detroit has announced the speakers for its 2020 Virtual Leadership Summit slated for Thursday, Dec. 3 at noon.

The annual summit will explore how to build racial and educational equity in the business, education and philanthropy sectors.

The event program includes remarks from City Year Detroit Vice President and Executive Director Andrew Stein and a panel discussion featuring DTE Energy Vice Chairman and CEO Dave Meador and AmeriCorps members Jamaica Jordan and Claire Pustinger. Mike Rafferty, CEO and president of New Detroit, will serve as the moderator.

The panel will discuss how educational equity plays a role in advancing racial equity; share how companies in Detroit are advancing equity work within their organizations; and demonstrate why education-focused community initiatives matter to the next generation’s workforce.

“We are committed to providing the resources and support Detroit students need to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally,” says Stein. “You cannot have racial equity without education equity, and we are immensely grateful for community partners like DTE and New Detroit who share in our passion for education and who help make our work possible.”

During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to attend networking sessions and small groups to hear directly from AmeriCorps members about their experience serving students in Detroit

A virtual expo will open at 1 p.m. to allow attendees and community partners to attend meet and greets, learn more about how to get involved with City Year, and win prizes. Event donations will support City Year’s mission of accelerating academic growth in Detroit.

To register to attend, visit here.

Goodman Acker to Support Detroit Residents with Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway
For the second year, Southfield law firm Goodman Acker will be participating in the Fellowship Chapel annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway in Detroit on Nov. 24 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The Fellowship Chapel and Goodman Acker have collaborated to purchase and donate several hundred turkeys that will be given away, in addition to green beans, mac n’ cheese, cranberry sauce, and rolls.

“We are honored to partner with Fellowship Chapel on this important project,” says Kerry Acker, a partner in the law firm. “Making sure families can celebrate Thanksgiving is a wonderful mission that Reverend (Wendell) and Lady (Monica) Anthony have been performing for the last 30 years. I’m honored that Goodman Acker can do our part to help grow this mission.”

City of Detroit residents will be required to register and submit a form here. Applicants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. One application per household will be accepted. Driver’s license will be required to pick up meals. Completed applications can be dropped off in person at Fellowship Chapel or can be emailed to

Curbside pickup will be at the Fellowship Chapel at 7707 W. Outer Dr. in Detroit.

Birmingham’s Great Decorate Returns to Support Foster Teens
The Great Decorate: Fostering Hope for the Holidays is a holiday tree decorating contest that will take place throughout downtown Birmingham to benefit local foster teens in need through the Michigan Adoption Rescue Exchange.

This year, holiday decorated trees will fill about 40 businesses in downtown Birmingham. The businesses decorating a tree in The Great Decorate 2020 will compete to raise as much money as possible to assist these teens, who are about to age-out of the foster care system at age 18 and need support.

To vote on trees, donate any amount here between Nov. 27 to Dec. 24.