DBusiness Daily Update: Auto Hall of Fame Receives $500K Grant from GM to Focus on African Americans in Mobility, and More

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.
The Automotive Hall of Fame has received a $500,000 grant from GM to launch a new educational program entitled “Black Innovation, Invention, and Leadership in Mobility.” // Courtesy of AHF
The Automotive Hall of Fame has received a $500,000 grant from GM to launch a new educational program entitled “Black Innovation, Invention, and Leadership in Mobility.” // Courtesy of AHF

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.

Auto Hall of Fame Receives $500K Grant from GM to Focus on African Americans in Mobility

The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn has received a $500,000 grant from General Motors Co. in Detroit to launch a new educational program entitled “Black Innovation, Invention, and Leadership in Mobility.”

This grant will enable the AHF to begin developing a multi-channel experience that helps educate the community about Black contributions to the global automotive industry as well as the industry’s impact on Black families and communities.

“The Automotive Hall of Fame is extremely grateful to General Motors for this generous grant to launch this important initiative,” says Sarah Cook, president of the AHF. “There are many voices that have shaped — and continue to shape — the mobility industry, and we are excited to begin the work to tell their important stories.”

Recognizing that the Black community often is underrepresented when telling the automotive industry’s history, GM has provided the grant to help lift up Black voices and increase awareness of the impact the community has had on the industry.

“GM is proud to support the Automotive Hall of Fame as it launches its “Black Innovation, Invention, and Leadership in Mobility” program,” says Terry Rhadigan, an AHF board member and vice president of corporate giving at GM. “AHF’s efforts to create and share knowledge will spark social change through general education and promote new learning and career opportunities for our next generation of mobility leaders and influencers.”

Content development for this program is funded by this grant for one year, and the AHF is targeting a launch date of February 2023. The AHF will utilize both its physical exhibit space and digital capabilities to share the new content. In addition to the exhibit, there will be educational programming for a K-12 audience and an honoree lecture series. AHF is seeking community involvement, as well as additional funding, to bring a “robust program to the public.”

Ford Fireworks Set for Detroit on June 27

The countdown has begun for the 64th Annual Ford Fireworks, returning to Detroit to illuminate the city skyline at 10:06 p.m. on Monday, June 27.

This summertime tradition, produced by The Parade Co., is recognized as one of the country’s largest fireworks displays and is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of spectators each year. The last two years, however, it has been a television-only production due to the COBID-19 pandemic.

“The Parade Co. is thrilled to return to the Detroit River and is preparing for an incredible Ford Fireworks which will be filled with many show-stopping surprises,” says Tony Michaels, president and CEO of The Parade Co. “We are incredibly grateful to Ford Motor Co.’s continued support, which makes it possible for us to grow the show bigger and better each year for all to enjoy.”

Ford has served as title sponsor of the show and presenting sponsor of The Parade Co.’s Rooftop Party since 2013.

“The Ford Fireworks event celebrates the best of Detroit,” says Mary Culler, president of the Ford Motor Co. Fund. “We are honored to host this annual tradition in our hometown and thrilled that families can come back to the Detroit River to enjoy them this year.”

As producers of the Ford Fireworks, The Parade Co. selects the musical arrangement and works exclusively with Zambelli Fireworks to stage more than 10,000 pyrotechnic effects visible for miles along the Detroit River. This year’s show is themed “Hey Detroit, The Sky Shines for You!”

Limited tickets are still available for the Ford Fireworks Rooftop Party presented by Ford Motor Co., a fundraising event offering the best seats in the city to view the fireworks. Guests will enjoy live music with Your Generation in Concert, catering by Andiamo, games, giveaways, and more.

To learn more, visit theparade.org or call 313-923-7400. All proceeds benefit the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation.

The Ford Fireworks can be viewed on WDIV-Local 4’s live broadcast beginning at 8 p.m. News/Talk 760 WJR and Paul W. Smith will host a live pre-fireworks special broadcast from 7-9 p.m.

Rocket Mortgage Classic’s Field to Include Zalatoris, Finau, Rose, Kutchar, Day, Fowler, and More

The Rocket Mortgage Classic announced several player commitments for its 2022 tournament. Reigning champion Cam Davis will defend his title against Will Zalatoris and Tony Finau, both ranked among the world’s top 20 golfers.

Additional players include major championship winners and past World No. 1s Justin Rose and Jason Day, PGA Tour Rookie of the Year frontrunner Cameron Young, nine-time PGA Tour winner Matt Kuchar, five-time PGA Tour winner Rickie Fowler, and four-time PGA Tour winner Kevin Kisner.

The Rocket Mortgage Classic returns July 26-31 to Detroit Golf Club, bringing the PGA Tour event to the city of Detroit for the fourth straight year. Tickets are available at RocketMortgageClassic.com.

“We are excited to announce such an accomplished group of players joining us in Detroit this summer, and this is only the beginning of our player commitments,” says Jason Langwell, executive director of the event. “Having golfers of this caliber commit to play in the Rocket Mortgage Classic speaks to the momentum that we are building and the desire of top players to be part of our event. It’s also terrific to have their support for our Changing the Course initiative to end the digital divide in Detroit.”

Fans are encouraged to buy their 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic tickets early for the best prices. Grounds passes start at $60 for the first round (Thursday, July 28), $70 for the second round (Friday, July 29) and $80 per day for the final two rounds (Saturday and Sunday, July 30-31).

Shared hospitality options include the LendingTree Lounge, starting at $100 per day, and the Michelob Ultra Athletic Club, beginning at $250 per day. Both venues offer upgraded viewing experiences featuring tented and outdoor seating, upgraded food and beverage for purchase and private restrooms.

AREA 313 Celebrity Scramble presented by Priority Health and the Youth Golf Clinic presented by The Children’s Foundation will take place Tuesday, July 26. The Delta Dental Pro-Am at the Rocket Mortgage Classic will be played July 27.

To inquire about hospitality or sponsorship opportunities, please email: sponsorship@rocketmortgageclassic.com.

FDRA and Pensole Lewis College Present Black Footwear Forum Sept. 16-18

Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design (PLC) and the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) will be conducting their national Black Footwear Forum (BFF) celebration in Detroit Sept. 16-18.

Attendees, executives, and industry leaders will gather for three days of events, celebrations, forums, and networking as the BFF continues to strengthen and support black professionals in the American footwear industry.

“With the opening of the Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design in May, we are well positioned to welcome black footwear industry professionals to our new campus in Detroit this fall,” says D’Wayne Edwards, president of PLC. “I can think of no better way to celebrate Detroit Month of Design in September than to host the Black Footwear Forum and bring the footwear industry to our great city. Stay tuned as we unveil many exciting updates about the event in the coming weeks because this will be a very special gathering.”

FDRA President and CEO Matt Priest says: “Ever since the first BFF gathering in Washington, D.C. in February 2019, we have patiently waited for the right time to gather again in support of those in our industry the BFF is designed to serve. That time is now, and that place is Detroit. I can’t wait to get back together as a forum this September to continue to drive change in collaborative and innovative ways.”

For more information, visit blackfootwearforum.com.

Detroit Organization Creating More Pathways to Tech Jobs

The Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP) is one of five organizations selected to participate in Centri Tech Foundation’s Digital Integrators Pilot Program.

The program aims to demonstrate how community-based digital equity organizations can continuously improve and modernize workforce development programs to address digital inequities, particularly within public housing and low-income communities, communities of color, and intergenerational households.”

The Equitable Internet Initiative (EII), a program of DCTP, will work with long-time partner 123NET, a Southfield-based voice, network, and data center provider, to forge a pipeline between Detroiters and the tech industry by expanding employment opportunities for Digital Stewards. Digital Stewards are community technologists trained in community organizing who build and maintain networks used to connect other residents in their neighborhood to the Internet. This award will also support the development of the Digital Steward community by expanding training opportunities in Digital Stewardship, hiring more instructors, and developing full-time positions at 123NET.

“As the digital divide is increasingly acknowledged and reckoned with, Detroiters should be able to participate in narrowing it and gain mobility in doing so,” says Katie Hearn, director of DCTP. “The impact of having Black and Brown Detroiters prepared and better positioned to compete for such roles can change the trajectory for how the city is shaped and who is shaping it.”

The work of the Equitable Internet Initiative began in Detroit in 2016 as a collaboration with three vital anchor organizations – Grace in Action Collectives in Southwest, Church of the Messiah in Islandview, and North End Woodward Community Coalition in the North End, Highland Park, and Hamtramck. The goals of their work are to train residents as Digital Stewards, increase internet access and adoption in underserved communities, and strengthen neighborhoods through community organizing, participation, collaboration, and resiliency.

Genisys Credit Union Awarded First Place on Forbes Best-In-State Credit Unions List

Genisys Credit Union in Auburn Hills has been awarded first place on the Forbes list of Best-In-State Credit Unions 2022 for Michigan. This is the third year in a row that the credit union has been recognized on the list.

“Receiving recognition from Forbes as a Best Credit Union affirms our continued efforts to provide service excellence for our members,” says Jackie Buchanan, president and CEO of Genisys Credit Union. “Through personalized services, tailored products, and competitive rates, we work to create an environment where members can focus on their financial health in a way that works for them. We sincerely thank all who make Genisys their credit union of choice.”

Merged JVS Human Services + Kadima Become Gesher Human Services

The merged Southfield nonprofits JVS Human Services and Kadima have changed their name to Gesher Human Services.

Gesher Human Services will provide the best of both organizations. JVS Human Services brings career and job-seeking programs, social services, and vocational programs including services for people with developmental disabilities. Kadima contributes behavioral health services, including supportive housing, for adults with serious mental health challenges.

Founded by Detroit’s Jewish community, both JVS and Kadima, now Gesher, serves all metro Detroiters, regardless of religion, race, or other factors. The new name, which means bridge in Hebrew, has the tagline Gesher: The Bridge to Where You Want to Be.

“Our new name, Gesher, resonated with us because we see our organization as providing a bridge to where people want to be, whether at work, at home, or in their community,” says Paul Blatt, formerly president and chief executive officer of JVS Human Services and now holding that role at Gesher Human Services. “We proudly offer services and support to all metro Detroiters who can benefit from our expertise, but the name maintains our past, present, and future ties to the Jewish community, which originally founded both organizations.”

For the process of choosing a new name, the national branding and marketing agency TribalVision was hired. Blatt says the focus of the agency and board members in choosing a new name was based on the organization’s work and the impact on the 12,000 people served annually.

“The metaphor of a bridge kept coming up and we were reminded of the old Jewish saying, ‘the whole world is a narrow bridge, the important thing is to not be afraid’,” says Eric Adelman, formerly executive director of Kadima and chief advancement officer at Gesher Human Services. “Our work supports people on that bridge, so they can make it across.”

Gesher is a partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, the central fundraising and planning organization of the Detroit Jewish community.

Gesher officials say they expect programs will be upgraded, updated, and strengthened because of the merger. Through shared operational and administrative savings, it now will be able to re-invest funds into programs that directly benefit and support underserved community members, such as those with development disabilities, autism, or mental illness.

Deeper investments in areas of clinical services and compliance will allow for more data-driven decision making and impact measurement, all exponentially enhancing outcomes for people served and the community at large. All current services of each organization will stay within Gesher without interruption; in some cases, services will be enhanced.

GreenLight Fund Raises Second Detroit Fund to Extend Coalition’s Social Impact

GreenLight Fund Detroit, with broad support from a diverse group of funders, announced the close of its Fund II.

This $5 million philanthropic commitment to Detroit will support at least five more years of impact, by providing an opportunity for Detroiters to implement GreenLight Fund’s model to identify still-unmet needs, then address them by bringing proven programs from around the country to fill service gaps and accelerate opportunities for individuals and families to achieve economic and social mobility.

“Our vision is to drive equitable, social progress locally by continuing to center Detroiters’ voice and priorities through our selection and support model over the next five years,” says Rishi Moudgil, founding executive director of GreenLight Fund Detroit. “We are so grateful for this coalition of social investors from all corners of Detroit for pooling their funds and entrusting decision-making to our community to best lead us forward.”

This second spend-down fund will continue the work begun in 2016, when GreenLight Fund announced it would expand to Detroit with a $3 million commitment, which ultimately served as a model for other cities as GreenLight Fund has since scaled to an additional six sites, now in 11 cities nationwide. This new Fund exceeded its target goal and includes support from a wide range of philanthropic individuals, families, corporations, foundations, minority-owned businesses, professional sports franchises and professional service firms.

“Detroit has proven to be one of our success stories across America,” says John Simon, co-founder and chair of the GreenLight Fund board. “From the neighborhoods that tell us where they see needs, to the philanthropists who have come together like never before, GreenLight Fund’s approach in Detroit has been a model for other cities to emulate with its inclusive process for measurable impact in the community.”

Over the next several years, Fund II will make four additional investments in partnership with residents in the community that confront poverty and inequities daily. The organization will continue to make decisions in partnership with its local advisory councils, composed of a diverse group of leaders and residents from government, business, philanthropy, and neighborhoods. The collaborative approach facilitates cross-sector alignment and supports due diligence, local partnership development, and portfolio management.

Grace Centers of Hope Raise $99K+ in May as Part of Matching Grant Challenge

Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac raised more than $99,000 in community donations, far surpassing a $10,000 matching grant challenge from Madison Heights-based CAPS Remodeling that was conducted in May.

This is the second consecutive year CAPS supported a successful fundraising campaign for the nonprofit. Funds raised will provide support for GCH’s comprehensive homeless and life skills education programs for men, women, and children that provide food, shelter, clothing, work skills development, and other life-changing services.

“It’s a true blessing to receive such a tremendous amount of support from individual and corporate donors who generously provide to help individuals and families who have faced difficult challenges in life,” says Kent W. Clark, pastor and CEO of Grace Centers of Hope. “We’re especially grateful for our friendship with Jeff Cates at CAPS Remodeling and his generous grant that helped us far exceed our fundraising goal for a second straight year. As a nonprofit organization that doesn’t accept any government funding and solely relies on our selfless neighbors in the community, we are thankful to all who contributed to this effort.”

For more information about GCH, visit gracecentersofhope.org.