Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
$12M Gift Transforms Asian Art Collection at U-M Museum
The University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor has received a gift of Chinese calligraphy from the family of Lo Chia-Lun valued at more than $12 million — the largest gift of art in the university’s history.
The Lo Chia-Lun Calligraphy Collection, donated by his daughter Jiu-Fong Lo Chang and her husband Kuei-sheng Chang, will transform the museum’s Asian art collection, adding to a solid collection of Chinese paintings and ceramics.
Lo Chia-Lun (1897-1969) was a student leader in China’s “May Fourth Movement” and became a prominent government official in Nationalist China as well as a scholar, calligrapher, poet and president of two major universities — National Central University and Tsinghua University.
The Lo Chia-Lun Calligraphy Collection will contribute significantly to contemporary scholarship on Yuan and Ming dynasty calligraphy, and includes masterpieces by Yang Weizhen (1296-1370), Wang Shouren (1472-1529), Wen Zhengming (1470-1559) and Wang Duo (1592-1652), among others.
It also represents a major contribution to the study of Chinese cultural history, as it includes pieces from many cultural leaders of the early 20th century, including Cai Yuanpei (1868-1940), Chen Duxiu (1879-1942) and Shen Yinmo (1883-1971), as well as later artists Xu Beihong (1895-1953) and Zhang Daqian (1899-1983).
The collection preserves important evidence of cultural pursuits among these notable historical figures, while also reflecting the tastes and intellectual exchanges among leading intellectuals in the early 20th century.
The calligraphy collection numbers 72 pieces, dating to the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties and the Republican Period, including some of the finest examples of Chinese calligraphic works outside of China. The gift also includes several seals, ink stones, and other objects from Chinese literati culture.
Vacant Toys R Us Becomes Livonia Budget Storage
A building former Toys R Us store that has been vacant for more than three years has been transformed into a two-story, temperature-controlled self-storage facility featuring multiple-sized units with the second story accessed by two large elevators.
Called Livonia Budget Storage, the 750-unit facility was developed to provide a needed service to residents and businesses in Livonia and surrounding communities.
“Security and ease of use are our top priorities,” says Sid Moss, managing partner of the facility. “Livonia is a very desirable community and especially now, an extremely hot real estate market. People are moving in and moving up. Livonia Budget Storage was designed with residents in mind. It’s a spotless, secure facility for both short-term and long-term storage.”
Livonia Budget Storage is located at 29150 W. Seven Mile Road, just east of Middlebelt Road.
“We’re absolutely delighted to welcome Livonia Budget Storage,” says Kathleen McIntyre, a Livonia City Council member. “It makes great use of a vacated big box facility. It’s an investment and a big commitment to our community.”
As a grand opening special, Livonia Budget Storage is offering the first full month rental for free. The offer is valid through March 31. Unit sizes range from 5 by 3 feet to 10 by 30 feet.
Livonia Budget Storage is the latest addition to the Novi-based Budget Storage Group, which operates Lakeside Budget Storage in Sterling Heights, Clarkston Budget Storage in Clarkston, Telegraph Budget Storage in Brownstown Township, and Portage Budget Storage in Portage.
For more information, visit here.
New Partnership Provides Tunnel Travelers with Fast COVID PCR Tests
Cross-border travel continues to be a challenge with complicated restrictions and testing requirements at both ends of the border. A new joint initiative hopes to address some of these difficulties by offering easy access to Health Canada-approved PCR tests on site at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel on the Detroit side.
Until now, Canadian and U.S. travelers have had to scour the U.S. side of the border to find a pharmacy or lab that could provide a PCR test result within 72 hours of a traveler’s trip into Canada. Some travelers have reported paying up to $300 each to ensure a guaranteed test result within the strict timeframe. For most people these challenges have made crossing the border a difficult and expensive endeavor and has discouraged them from making the trip.
Dr. Phillip Olla, CEO of Assure Covid Travel Clinics, believes that the Detroit side of the tunnel is an ideal location because it also assists travelers, who may be in need of emergency tests, that can be used to get them home within an hour.
Starting this week, cross-border travelers will be able to order their test kits online and stop and pick up the test at an operations office, in front of the shop on the Detroit end of the tunnel and take the test with them to their destination to perform when needed. According to Dr. Olla, these PCR tests are literally a “lab in your bag” type test and can be taken in your car, hotel or wherever is most convenient.
The test is conducted via a telehealth visit with one of Assure Covid Travel Clinic’s specialists, who will supervise the sample collection and the processing of the test at the traveler’s location with no lab required. The lab is built into the test kit, saving hours of time involved in the transportation and processing of traditional tests.
To order these travel PCR tests kits, visit here.
Visit Detroit to Unveil New Initiatives at Annual Meeting Feb. 8
Visit Detroit will unveil its new sales and marketing initiatives for 2022, including its “Detroit Wins” national campaign to highlight the impressive lineup of meetings and sporting events committed to Detroit during its annual Membership Meeting starting at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 8 at the Motor City Casino Hotel’s Soundboard.
The meeting will feature a panel of leaders who are bringing their major events to Detroit over the coming year. The keynote speaker will be Mel Tucker, Michigan State University’s head football coach. Tucker will talk about how to build a winning team, motivate people, and create the culture of a successful team or organization.
For more information, visit here.
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. Selects Celink as Reverse Mortgage Subservicer
Celink, Lansing-based reverse mortgage subservicer, recently was selected by Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. in Southfield to help support the ongoing expansion of its reverse mortgage origination operations.
Fairway will utilize Celink as its subservicer for newly originated reverse mortgages on an interim servicing basis until the company sells and transfers the loans, streamlining the process and reducing points of friction for borrowers.
Harlan Accola, director of national reverse mortgage at Fairway, says he believes that part of having an outstanding borrower experience is having the right servicing partner.
“Celink leadership understands the nuances of the reverse business,” Accola says. “So, their expertise and background in the industry makes them a perfect choice for us. More importantly, they understand the needs of our clients. Celink is dedicated to providing innovative solutions like their secure online Borrower Portal, making things easier for the consumer.”
Marion McDougall, CEO of Celink’s CEO, says, “Celink is honored to have been selected by Fairway after an in-depth due diligence process and we look forward to partnering closely with their team. Celink has invested heavily over the past 24 months in improvements surrounding technology, people, and processes and we are pleased that Fairway recognized the best-in-class service that we are able to provide them and their borrowers.”
Michigan Nonprofits Receive $1M+ in Comcast NBCUniversal Grants In 2021
Comcast NBCUniversal awarded 150 Michigan nonprofit organizations more than $1 million in grants in 2021.
Many of the grants supported multiple programs aimed at connecting students and families by expanding digital equity across the state through digital skills and literacy training, access to electronic devices and workforce development. The remaining charitable contributions supported local initiatives that move Michigan communities and their residents forward through leadership, empowerment, technology, and innovation.
“These grants will back nonprofits in communities across Michigan and help us continue putting Michiganders first by investing in workforce development, technology, and innovation,” says Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “I am grateful to Comcast for investing in Michigan, and I am confident that together, we can empower organizations on the ground doing the work to expand digital skills and literacy and ultimately help Michiganders land good-paying, high-skill jobs.”
Tim Collins, regional senior vice president of Comcast in Michigan, says, “The issue of digital equity has been around much longer than the pandemic, and it’s something we’ve been deeply committed to for over a decade. Our company’s presence here spans over 40 years, and we have 3,300 employees who call Michigan home. We’ll continue investing in the neighborhoods and communities where our employees and customers live and work, so that we can create positive change and a more equitable society.”
Little Caesars Love Kitchen Serves Free Pizza to Those in Need
The Little Caesars Love Kitchen has rolled into the chain’s hometown of Detroit to provide fresh pizza meals for thousands of people in need.
Throughout the month of February, the Love Kitchen is scheduled to visit more than a dozen community organizations throughout the city of Detroit. Among the planned stops are multiple Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries locations, the Salvation Army, Central United Methodist Church, St. Patrick Center, the Barack Obama Leadership Academy and SAY Detroit, Boys & Girls Club, Michigan Veterans Foundation, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, and Covenant House.
The Little Caesars Love Kitchen has served more than 3.7 million people in the 48 contiguous states and four Canadian provinces. It has responded to natural disasters such as the Western Kentucky tornado in 2021, as well as provided meals in national times of need, such as Sept. 11, 2001. Established by Little Caesars in 1985, the Love Kitchen exemplifies Little Caesars strong tradition of giving back to America’s communities.
“It’s important to us to reach out to the communities where we do business and help make a difference, especially in our hometown,” says David Scrivano, president and CEO of Little Caesars. “Food insecurity impacts many in our city, and the Love Kitchen helps to provide meals to those in need. We are proud to work together with our local franchisees and company-owned stores to be there for the people who need assistance and build on our legacy of community service.”
Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush awarded The President’s Volunteer Action Award Citation to Little Caesars for its volunteers’ contributions to the Love Kitchen. Little Caesars also received a Presidential Citation for Private Sector Initiatives for the Love Kitchen program under the Reagan administration. It has received a certificate of appreciation from the state of Michigan and was recognized by the Detroit City Council for its efforts in the Gulf Coast region.
Local Little Caesars franchise owners and company regional offices donate all food and labor costs for the Love Kitchen servings. An estimated 50,000 Little Caesars franchise owners and employees have volunteered their time over the years to support the program in their local communities.
In Related News: Little Caesars lovers in the south-Atlantic area can show some love to their Valentines by sending a bouquet of Crazy Bread to celebrate the holiday this year. The bouquets will be available from Feb. 7-14 7th at select stores in the Charleston, SC area and some other locations along the southern Atlantic coast.
“We’re taking the tradition of Valentine’s Day flowers in a delicious direction,” says Jeff Klein, chief marketing officer at Little Caesars. “What’s more romantic than surprising your sweetheart with a bouquet of Crazy Bread and a side of savory Crazy Sauce delivered right to their doorstep?”
The Crazy Bread Bouquets include eight sticks of Crazy Bread and a side of Crazy Sauce for $9.99. They are available for online ordering only. Customers can have the product delivered to themselves or a friend by using the Little Caesars app, or they can pre-order and then collect their order using Pizza Portalpickup at any participating Little Caesars Locations.
Canterbury Village in Lake Orion Announces Events for 2022
Canterbury Village Events in Lake Orion has announced a diverse line-up of festivals, strolls, and family entertainment events for this year.
The schedule includes the annual signature events as well as a variety of new and themed experiences, family events, outdoor markets, and vendor markets both on the grounds of Canterbury Village and within the castle to celebrate holidays throughout the season and a variety of food and experiential events.
The season, according to Canterbury Village, is designed to provide family entertainment year-round on its 21 acres, a designated state historic landmark.
Canterbury Village Events hosts and produces some of the largest annual events in the area, including Michigan Taco Fest, Michigan Rib Fest, Canterbury EGGstravaganza, Michigan MEGA Food Truck Rally, Halloween Stroll, Holiday Stroll, and Michigan Mitten Drop, just to name a few. CV Events debuted Dino & Dragon Stroll in 2021, which has now become a national attraction touring North America and will be returning to Canterbury Village this year. Also, debuting in 2021 and returning this year, is Phryte Village, three haunted attractions within the Haunted Castle, and an outdoor haunt.
Canterbury Village incorporates charitable initiatives within events and plans to expand those giving efforts in 2022. In 2021, thousands of toys were collected and donated to pediatric cancer patients throughout children’s hospitals in Michigan, clothing items that have helped local homeless shelters and funds were raised to take terminally and chronically ill children on family trip to Disneyland along with granting holiday wishes. Additionally, thousands of pounds of food donated has helped feed families with hunger insecurities, and many more charitable support efforts that have helped neighbors in need. A big initiative in 2021 was the opening of The Village Food Pantry, which is now open year-round at Canterbury Village. This is a partnership with Woodside Bible Church, with the mission to provide assistance to families in need.
To see the full schedule of events, visit here.
AT&T Michigan Contributing $50K to Open Detroit Connected Learning Center
Lower-income students and families will have a new place to access critical connectivity and technology at Jefferson East Inc.’s new Neighborhood Resources Hub, thanks to a $50,000 contribution, newly installed high-speed broadband service, and computers from AT&T Michigan to create Detroit’s first Connected Learning Center. The center opens today.
“AT&T is committed to ensuring the success of Detroiters, and this Connected Learning Center will help connect Detroit’s underserved students and families to the technology they need,” says David Lewis, president of AT&T Michigan.
JEI works to build inclusive neighborhoods along Detroit’s east Jefferson corridor and its five adjoining historic neighborhoods. The Neighborhood Resource Hub provides the eastside Jefferson-Chalmers community with several critical services and resources designed to help keep residents in their homes.
“The Connected Learning Center is the perfect addition to the Neighborhood Resource Hub, giving families access to critical resources that will help them be successful now and into the future,” says Josh Elling, CEO of Jefferson East Inc.
GMAR Makes $10K Donation to NAR’s Realtors Relief Foundation
As storms ripped through the Midwest and Kentucky, the Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors’ leadership team unanimously voted to donate $10,000 to the Realtors Relief Foundation.
“We are grateful to be in a position as an organization to help the communities affected by the storms,” says Teri Spiro, president of GMAR. “The fastest way for us to help, and provide effective assistance, was to donate to an organization that is properly equipped to act and do so quickly. Realtors care about our communities, and we are thankful to be a part of the many who choose to contribute to the Realtors Relief Foundation.”
The RRF is responding to more natural disasters than ever before, and funds are donated to allow the foundation to respond at a moment’s notice. As a result, in January of 2022, RRF was able to grant $1.5 million to help support victims of the Kentucky tragedy.