COVID-19 Update: U-M Alumnus Gives $5M to Create True Grit Scholarship, Pizza Hut Unveils Detroit-Style Pizza Nationwide, 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.
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map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Jan. 26

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.

U-M Alumnus Gives $5M to Create True Grit Scholarship for Business Students
The University of Michigan Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor has received a $5 million gift to provide need-based scholarship support for domestic and international business students who have blazed a trail or taken on challenges.

Through the True Grit Scholarship Fund, Ross will award partial and full-ride scholarships to current and incoming full-time master’s and bachelor’s of business administration students who have demonstrated “notable determination” to succeed in business and in life.

Recipients may include students who are the first in their families to pursue a degree at a postsecondary institution and those who have overcome personal obstacles, served in the military, or otherwise exhibited personal fortitude and resilience in staking their own path in the world.

The scholarship was named and funded by a Ross alumnus, who wishes to remain anonymous.

“Some of the most amazing people I have had the privilege to work with don’t fit molds or check predefined boxes but have, as a result, developed a determination that propels them throughout their lives,” the donor said. “Michigan’s commitment to public education that gives many of these people a shot is exactly what today’s world needs. I am honored to help support Ross’ effort to educate these future leaders.”

Scott DeRue, dean of the Ross School, says, “perseverance and resilience are two qualities that make exceptional students and future business leaders. I’m sincerely grateful to the Ross alumnus who has given this generous gift to support our students and transform people’s lives through education.”

Scholarship awardees will be selected by the Michigan Ross FTMBA and BBA program teams beginning in the fall. No applications will be required.

The scholarship is the latest gift that the business school has received this academic year aimed at ensuring students can pursue a world-class education no matter their financial means. It was given an additional $2.5 million gift to augment the John H. and Patricia W. Mitchell Scholarship Fund for student scholarships in business ethics and communications in October; $6 million to establish the Blau Initiative for Diversity in Real Estate and Infrastructure, which included a Related Scholars Fund in August; and $10 million to launch the Weiser Center for Real Estate and a new Weiser Scholars Fellowship in February.

Pizza Hut Unveils Detroit-Style Pizza Nationwide
Pizza Hut has announced that its new Detroit-Style pizza is now available nationwide.

Pizza Hut spent more than a year developing and perfecting its Detroit-Style pizza, trying more than 500 iterations and testing several of those in the Midwest, where this style was born.

True to the traditional Detroit style, each pizza is rectangular-shaped, features cheese all the way to the edges to create that crispy, thick, caramelized crust, is loaded with toppings and finished off with a vine-ripened tomato sauce to keep the crust light and airy.

Pizza Hut incorporated its own take on a few elements — such as the new, vine-ripened tomato sauce that’s only available on Detroit-style — of which eight different versions were tested before finalizing the recipe.

There are four new Detroit-Style recipes to choose from, each loaded up with toppings and cheese that can only be supported by the thick, rectangular signature Detroit-Style crust.

The four options include:

  • The Detroit Double Pepperoni: Topped with 32 slices of regular pepperoni and another 48 slices of Crispy Cupped Pepperoni, which crisp up in the oven and provide a crunchy texture and zesty flavor.
  • Double Cheesy: Layered with two kinds of cheese, including aged Parmesan.
  • Meaty Deluxe: Loaded with bacon, Italian sausage, and crispy cupped pepperoni.
  • Supremo: Topped with Italian sausage, red onions, and green bell peppers.

“Countless hours were spent testing and perfecting every detail here to create our take on Detroit-Style pizza,” says David Graves, chief brand officer at Pizza Hut. “The caramelized cheese crust and the sauce on top take the taste of this pizza to the next level.”

All four Pizza Hut Detroit-Style recipes are available now at locations nationwide for contactless delivery, carryout or curbside pickup starting at $10.99. Pricing varies by location.

California Incentivizes New Roush CleanTech Electric Truck
The Ford F-650 battery electric truck from Roush CleanTech in Livonia has been granted eligibility for the California Hybrid and Zero-emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project.

The California Air Resources Board, in partnership with CALSTART, launched the California HVIP vehicle purchase incentive program in 2009 to accelerate the acquisition of cleaner, more efficient trucks and buses in the state. HVIP provides point-of-sale discount vouchers that reduce the buying cost of vehicles operated in California.

“CARB is pleased to add the Roush CleanTech Ford F-650 to the growing lineup of HVIP-eligible zero-emission trucks and buses, helping California reach the goal in Gov. (Gavin) Newsom’s Executive Order N-79-20 that all operations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles be 100 percent zero emission by 2045, where feasible,” says Steven Cliff, CARB deputy executive officer.

The all-electric F-650 has a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour and a 100-mile range. “Roush CleanTech is renowned for its advanced clean transportation solutions, and it continues to move aggressively in the battery electric vehicle space,” says Todd Mouw, president of ROUSH CleanTech.

The company’s battery electric vehicles meet all Department of Transportation regulations, comply with all applicable vehicle Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Specifications requirements, and adhere to the California Zero Emissions Powertrain certification program. The battery pack is warranted for five years or 60,000 miles, with a minimum 80 percent (110 kW) recharging capacity for the warranty lifecycle. The all-electric F-650 is suitable for a range of industry applications, including delivery, urban maintenance and aviation ground support.

South Coast Air Quality Management District, the regulatory agency focused on improving air quality for large areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, helped partially fund product development.

Built in the United States, these battery electric vehicles create local, American jobs, and at the same time keep communities and the air cleaner, according to Mouw, who adds battery electric vehicles save time and money over the vehicle lifespan.

“With more than 37,000 medium-duty trucks and buses accumulating well over 1 billion road miles, we understand how to engineer, sell, service, and support our customers through the complete asset lifecycle,” says Mouw.

Graham Real Estate to Become Exclusive Boyne Highlands Real Estate Partner
Graham Real Estate in Harbor Springs has become the exclusive real estate broker for Boyne Highlands Resort.

“Graham Real Estate and Boyne Highlands have a relationship that goes back over 50 years, and both have been deeply vested in the Harbor Springs community over this period,” says Mike Chumbler, president and general manager of Boyne Highlands. “Graham Real Estate is the ideal partner to further embrace our connection to the local community and help our guests find their dream northern Michigan property.

“As we embark on our resort transformation, which is underway now, it will attract many new experiential travelers to the region in the coming years.”

The first step the transformational has begun with the five-star level renovation of existing rooms in the resort’s main lodge.  Subsequent phases are scheduled over the coming several years that are designed to elevate the overall guest and resort ownership experience.

“Boyne Highlands is moving again toward the high-end resort destination market, which is our strong suit,” says Tom Graham, owner of Graham Real Estate. “Our family was there at the very beginning helping Boyne Highlands develop into the four-season resort icon it has become, and we are proud to be here again for the next chapter in its ascension as the premier four-season resort in the Midwest.”

For more information, visit here.

Ann Arbor Cybersecurity Provider Expands Leadership Team
Ann Arbor’s Blumira, an emerging cybersecurity provider, has announced that Jim Simpson has joined the company as vice president of product.

Simpson will be responsible for leading Blumira’s strategic product roadmap that includes bringing enterprise-level security to the mid-market through modern, cloud-based technology that enables companies to detect, investigate, and respond to cybersecurity threats without dedicated cybersecurity resources.

The appointment follows a year of growth for the company. A $2.6 million funding round enabled Blumira to fuel product innovation and to double its headcount. With a current headcount of 25, the company will continue to invest in cybersecurity talent and plans to double its headcount again by the end of this year, hiring additional people for leadership roles while expanding its engineering and sales teams.

“Effective security has been less accessible to the mid-market because existing solutions target larger organizations and require piecing together disparate tools to accomplish the necessary workflows,” says Simpson. “With a focus on usability and simplifying threat detection and response through automation of key security operation workflows, we can deliver immediate value and enable customers to identify and respond to threats faster and earlier.”

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit Exceeds $8 Million Red Kettle Campaign Goal
The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit has exceeded its $8 million Red Kettle Campaign fundraising goal.

Metro Detroit’s most vulnerable citizens affected by COVID-19 already are benefiting from donations made during the Red Kettle Campaign. In addition to food, shelter, and utility assistance, contributions to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign are also:

  • Addressing the needs of those facing substance abuse through The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Harbor Light System’s drug and alcohol treatment program.
  • Keeping children safe and warm this winter with new coats, gloves, and hats.
  • Providing relief for emergency disaster victims, such as individuals or families displaced from their homes due to a fire or natural disaster.
  • Funding outdoor and educational opportunities for at-risk youth, anti-human trafficking initiatives, a free legal aid clinic, and much more.

All contributions made during the Red Kettle Campaign will remain in the community from where the donation was received, allowing these social services and programs to continue to operate throughout the year.

The Salvation Army’s goal to Rescue Christmas for the most vulnerable citizens was led by successful events throughout the 2020 Red Kettle Campaign, including a “Rock the Red Kettle” virtual concert series and an expanded, all-virtual Celebrity Bell Ringer Weekend. The Red Kettle fundraising goal was surpassed because of supporters including Red Kettle Corporate Chairperson Herman Moore and Giving Tuesday corporate partner TCF Bank. TCF provided a $25,000 match on Dec. 1, while Moore launched a four-day, $84,000 matching campaign in mid-December.

The Salvation Army witnessed a variety of changes in 2020, many of which were attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic – such as fewer storefront red kettles and fewer volunteers to man the kettles. This ultimately led to an increase in digital fundraising, along with a higher volume of new donors and major gifts compared to 2019.

“We’ve received incredible support from everyone involved in the Red Kettle Campaign this year,” says Major Tim Meyer, general secretary, metro Detroit area commander, and regional chief operating officer for The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division. “We knew that more people were facing hardship in 2020, and the need to serve those most vulnerable was greater than ever. It demonstrates that no matter the circumstances, the people of metro Detroit continue to step up, year after year, to help their neighbors in need – and that unwavering commitment speaks volumes to their character and kind hearts.”

The Henry Ford Names Hagerty a Partner in Innovation After $1M Donation
Hagerty, an automotive lifestyle brand and a global leader in collector car insurance, has pledged $1 million to The Henry Ford and has been named the institution’s newest Partner in Innovation.

“Hagerty and The Henry Ford are like-minded organizations that each have a passion for activating the car-enthusiast community and inspiring a new generation of drivers and automotive fans,” says Patricia Mooradian, president and CEO of The Henry Ford. “We look forward to creating meaningful experiences and connections for our shared audiences.”

The recognition highlights Hagerty’s mission to save driving and expand car culture for future generations and its commitment to generating content and experiences for automotive enthusiasts around the world.

As a Partner in Innovation, the company will be integrated into The Henry Ford’s programming and content both on-site and online over a six-year period, including features on the institution’s television series, “The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation.”

Hagerty also will serve as the presenting sponsor for Motor Muster and Old Car Festival, hosted annually in Greenfield Village. In addition, The Henry Ford will launch an enthusiast group on Facebook where the public will have access to the institution’s vast collections and archives and a wide variety of content co-produced by Hagerty.

“In the world of cars, The Henry Ford is iconic, and we are honored to partner with them,” says McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “We look forward to helping both organizations get better and better at our shared mission of preserving, celebrating and expanding our shared automotive heritage.”

DIA Features Contemporary Works in Special Installation
The Detroit Institute of Arts is presenting a selection of contemporary works in the upcoming permanent collection installation “Experience & Expression,” on view Jan. 30 through Oct. 3.

Free with museum admission, the works on view draw from the museum’s permanent collection of contemporary art, whose galleries currently are being utilized for the exhibition “Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950-2020.”

This installation includes approximately 25 works, including recently acquired objects that have never, or rarely been seen by the public, by artists such as McArthur Binion, Rashid Johnson, Elias Sime, and Avery Singer. Other artists in the installation include Marina Abramovic, Ghada Amer, Jennifer Bartlett, Hernan Bas, Nicholas Hlobo, Allie McGhee, Yoko Ono, Sean Scully, and more.

The works are grouped into three themes: abstraction, art meant to evoke emotion or an experience to the viewer by experimenting with color, form, and texture; materiality, understanding and exploring the meaning of the materials used; and meditations on identity, works that express the artist’s personal experiences and emotions.

The installation will provide novice art-lovers with an introduction to contemporary art and invite visitors to look closely, to ask questions, and to connect with their own experiences.

“The DIA looks forward to sharing these recent acquisitions, which reveal how this diverse group of artists has drawn on their own experiences of the world,” says Judith F. Dolkart, deputy director of art, education, and programs at the DIA. “From the personal to the political, from the aesthetic to the commercial, from the individual to the collective, from the spiritual to the material—to create these works.”

General admission is free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. All museum visitors must make an advance reservation by phone at 313-833-4005 or online.

Sparrow Herbert-Herman Cancer Center Enrolls World’s First Patient in Clinical Trial
The Sparrow Herbert-Herman Cancer Center in Lansing has enrolled the first patient in the world in a clinical trial testing a new drug for cancer patients with a specific genomic mutation.

The trial, sponsored by Bayer Pharmaceutical, is testing the efficacy and toxicity of a drug called larotrectinib. The goal is to offset the mutation, called NTRK fusion, which is found in multiple pediatric and adult cancers, including thyroid and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

Sparrow researchers will study the daily pill’s impact on patient’s quality of life, response to treatment, and overall survival in the real-life clinical settings.

“It puts the Sparrow Cancer Center and Sparrow on the world map because the information about this is disseminated to all participating institutions in the U.S.” Says Dr. Gordon Srkalovic, director of clinical trials at the Sparrow Herbert-Herman Cancer Center. “This really puts us in the same sentence as large institutions.”

Patients can contact their oncologist about enrolling in the trial. For more information, visit here.

Meadow Brook Hall Executive Director Upward Retires
After 16 years at the helm of Meadow Brook Hall, Executive Director Geoff Upward has retired.

Upward’s leadership in spearheading projects and business initiatives has had a “transformative impact on the National Historic Landmark, museum, cultural center, and event venue,” according to officials.

“It is difficult to overstate the incredible legacy that Geoff built at Meadow Brook Hall,” says Shannon O’Berski, director of external relations at Meadow Brook Hall. “It is rare for an organization to find a leader who combines vision, creativity, and practicality at once. Geoff transformed Meadow Brook in so many ways. Not only did he turn our business operations around at a critical time, but he created new ways to interpret and preserve the Great Estate and set us on a sustainable path for an exciting future.”

Faced with a $1.5 million deficit when he started at Meadow Brook in 2004, Upward restructured business operations and achieved profitability in his first full year — and for every year since (until the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the hall for most of 2020).

Prior to taking on the executive director role at Meadow Brook, Upward served in a number of positions at Oakland University including interim vice president for development and alumni relations, director of university communications and marketing from 1995-2008, acting vice president for university relations and director of publications.

Jillian Gust, Meadow Brook’s director of administration and finance, is serving as interim executive director while a search is underway.

Mount Clemens’ Neway Works Names Executive Director
Mount Clemens-based startup nonprofit Neway Works Inc. has named Shane Gianino as executive director.

Neway Works is a Christian nonprofit that provides assistance to people who are facing developmental disabilities, mental illness, and drug and alcohol addictions. It creates pathways to self-sufficiency, employment, and the opportunity for safe and affordable housing.

MSU and McLaren Macomb Hospital Launch New Mobile Outreach Clinic
Last month, with support from the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing and other partners, the Medical Outreach Clinic of McLaren Macomb Hospital, otherwise known as the “doctor’s office on wheels” got an upgrade in the form of a new, more spacious recreational vehicle.

Now 10 feet larger, the new mobile clinic has space for more treatment rooms as well as a counseling area.

In addition to the ability to serve more patients, students and faculty at the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine can volunteer their time at the clinic. Not only does this work provide college faculty and emerging clinicians with the chance to give back, but it also presents opportunities to practice clinical skills and participate in community-based research.

“Personally, the Mobile Outreach Clinic has shaped my education by giving me the perspective that I think is lost when reading textbooks and course packs,” says Mitchell R. Bobcean, a third-year osteopathic medical student. “There’s no substitute for face-to-face time with patients. No matter how many pages you read or how many flashcards you flip through, those are not going to shape who you are as a physician or how patients will see you. Patients remember you by the compassion and determination you show when you are in the room with them.”

Additionally, the mobile clinic provides students and faculty with chances to conduct research on the cases they see, which is beneficial for all involved.

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