DBusiness Daily Update: Cranbrook’s Women Rock Science Fundraiser Returns, 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.
mary barra headshot
The Women Rock Science fundraiser for the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills returns as an in-person event Oct. 7. Mary Barra (pictured), chair and CEO of General Motors Co. in Detroit, will be honored at the event. // Courtesy of Cranbrook

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.

Cranbrook’s Women Rock Science Fundraiser Returns Oct. 7

The Women Rock Science fundraiser for the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills will return as an in-person event at 6 p.m. on Oct. 7.

This women-led fundraising event celebrates women in STEAM and is designed to ignite curiosity in children in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

Proceeds from the event will help bring more STEAM programming, delivered by Cranbrook Institute of Science, to Pre K-12 students in underserved communities throughout metro Detroit, including Detroit, Pontiac, and Flint.

“We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the Institute of Science this fall for our annual gala,” says Michael D. Stafford, director of Cranbrook Institute of Science. “Last year, more than any other year, has taught us that science is more important than ever. And it is critical that all students in Michigan have access to enhanced learning through STEAM curricula to gain knowledge about the power of science and the impact it has on their everyday lives.”

Last year’s virtual gala raised more than $250,000. The proceeds help support nearly 34,000 children annually through the Institute’s Service to Others initiatives.

This year’s event will honor three women who are making an impact and difference in Michigan, and across the country, in STEAM education. Honorees include:

  • Mary T. Barra, chair and CEO, General Motors Co. — Outstanding Leader Award
  • Tuyen Duddles, seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher, Warren Consolidated Schools — Outstanding Educator Award
  • Celeste T. Williams, medical director, cardiac transplantation director of quality, Heart and Vascular Institute at Henry Ford Health System — Rock Star Award

Attendees will have the opportunity to feel the impact STEAM education has on the development of children in Michigan; hear from the three honorees; take a journey through space in the institute’s newest exhibit, SPACE: A Journey to Our Future; view the night sky in the Acheson Planetarium; participate in hands-on, interactive science experiments; and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and science-themed cocktails!

General admission tickets can be purchased for $100 or $250. The deadline to purchase tickets is Oct. 1. Sponsorship packages are available and range in price from $1,000-$50,000. To purchase tickets and for more information about Women Rock Science please visit here. The gala is not only for women. Men are welcome to attend.

Give Thanks Bakery Expands to Midtown Detroit

Give Thanks Bakery, a woman-owned, European artisan bakery based in Rochester, is preparing to open a second location in late September at 3800 Woodward Ave. in “The Plaza” building in Midtown Detroit.

The 650-square-foot space will serve artisan bread, coffee, and pastries in the European tradition.

“Our first priority as a small business is to bring joy and well-being to our community by providing wholesome and nutritious baked goods to everyone,” says Owner Katy Knoer. “We are so excited to bring our products to Detroit and serve Detroiters.”

All the breads and pastries are made in the classic French and German traditions. The hallmark of the breads is the long, cool fermentation of the doughs, a method that has been used in European bakeries for centuries. From buttery croissants and danishes to hand-decorated cakes and tartes to a wide selection of cookies, Give Thanks Bakery offers a wide variety of baked goods.  They also brew Illy Coffee, a classic from Italy, to accompany the fresh pastries.

“Midtown has a tradition of great baked goods that began with Avalon International Breads in 1997,” says Sue Mosey, president of Midtown Detroit.  “A new European artisan bakery will definitely be welcomed by our growing population of workers and residents in the neighborhood.”

Great Lakes Water Authority Names Coffey Interim CEO

The Great Lakes Water Authority Board of Directors named Suzanne R. Coffey as the regional water and wastewater treatment service provider’s interim CEO. She takes over for Sue McCormick, who announced her retirement at the end of July.

“Suzanne Coffey is a skilled leader with deep knowledge of GLWA’s operations, as well as a broad understanding of the regional system, and a commitment to continuing the collaborative partnership that GLWA has established with its member partner communities,” says John Zech, chairman of the GLWA board. “I, as well as the entire GLWA Board of Directors, have great confidence in Suzanne and her ability to lead the utility forward through this time of transition, and help to ensure continuity of operations and service levels.”

A licensed professional engineer, Coffey has served GLWA and its member partners as the utility’s chief planning officer since GLWA’s inception on Jan. 1, 2016, and prior to that held the same role at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. She also served a dual role as the interim COO of wastewater operating services from 2016-2018.

“I am extremely proud of the work that the GLWA team has accomplished in the first five years of the authority’s operations on behalf of our member partners and the region,” says Coffey. “As interim CEO, it is my goal to use my knowledge of the system and experience with its operations and operators to provide a sense of stability and continuity, but also capitalize on the forward momentum that has been created.”

GLWA’s Board of Directors intends to conduct a national search for a successor CEO. Coffey is eligible to participate in that process.

For more information on GLWA, visit www.glwater.org.

SAY Detroit Kids Allocate $100K from Gores to Detroit Nonprofits

Detroit nonprofits Green Living Science, Bridge Builders Counseling and Mentoring, Six Feet Over, and Detroit Recovery Project each will receive $25,000 from the Tom Gores Youth Community Project via Southfield-based SAY Detroit.

Gores, owner of the Detroit Pistons and CEO of Platinum Equity, created the project to teach kids about philanthropy and the power of giving. SAY Detroit, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of Detroit’s neediest citizens through shelter, food, medical care, volunteer efforts, and education, was founded by Detroit Free Press columnist and WJR radio host Mitch Albom

Approximately 75 youths aged 11-16 participated in a six-week summer program at the SAY Detroit Play Center that consisted of weekly workshops led by SAY Detroit staff and local leaders from the Detroit philanthropic community. Curriculum covered a broad range of topics, including how to identify and prioritize relevant causes; how set goals, assess and evaluate charitable organizations; and ultimately where to allocate funds.

“It is so empowering for young people to learn to use their voice and see how it feels to make an impact in someone else’s life,” says Gores. “There is so much to do in our community and these kids at SAY Detroit are so smart. I’m proud of the way they came together to collaborate, get into the details and make informed decisions.”

Gores conceived the idea last December in connection with a $350,000 pledge he made to SAY Detroit as part of the nonprofit’s annual radiothon. A unique element of the donation was that $100,000 be set aside for the students to allocate to other local charitable organizations however they saw fit. The remaining $250,000 of Gores’ donation went toward the SAY Detroit organization itself.

“We can provide a lot of things for our kids to do, activities, distractions, education, food, but we can’t provide $100,000 for them to give away to other charities,” says Albom. “I’ve been working in charity for well over 20 years and I’ve never been in a situation where kids can control the philanthropic efforts of a philanthropic effort. So, this is definitely different and one of a kind.”

The children who participated in the program announced they will allocate $100,000 of funding from the Tom Gores Family Foundation to the four local nonprofits.

Green Living Science is a Detroit-based organization that is dedicated to transforming the city by teaching the benefits of recycling and environmental awareness.

Bridge Builders is a Point Huron-based organization that works with single parents and their families to provide necessary resources, mentorship, and support.

Six Feet Over is a Detroit-based nonprofit whose mission is to provide financial and emotional support for survivors of suicide loss and individuals with lived experience of suicide, while engaging in community prevention through mental health education and advocacy to support healthier futures.

Detroit Recovery Project is a Detroit-based private non-profit dedicated to supporting recovery which strengthens, rebuilds, and empowers individuals, families and communities who are experiencing co-occurring mental illness, and substance use disorders.

“It’s a very beneficial exercise to allow kids who are mostly in need to suddenly be in the position to help other people in need,” adds Albom. “And it’s going to make a huge difference, not just this year, but in the mentality and the memory banks of these kids as they go forward.”

For more information or to make a donation to SAY Detroit charities, visit www.saydetroit.org.

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