DBusiness Daily Update: Detroit Grand Prix Seeking Volunteers for June 2-4 Race Weekend, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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The Detroit Grand Prix is looking for approximately 800 more people to volunteer during this summer’s race weekend in downtown Detroit. // Courtesy of Detroit Grand Prix
The Detroit Grand Prix is looking for approximately 800 more people to volunteer during this summer’s race weekend in downtown Detroit. // Courtesy of Detroit Grand Prix

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Detroit Grand Prix Seeking Volunteers for June 2-4 Race Weekend

The Detroit Grand Prix Association (DGPA), the official volunteer organization of its namesake race, is recognizing its 40th year in 2023 and is looking for approximately 1,500 people to help host the June 2-4 event.

Returning to its original home on the streets of downtown Detroit this summer, the Grand Prix is looking to increase its volunteer ranks by several hundred people in 2023. Sponsored by Lear Corp., the DGPA is expanding several existing departments in 2023 and new assignment areas have been created with the move downtown. More than 700 returning and new members already have already signed up for 2023, and the DGPA is looking for approximately 800 more people to volunteer this summer. Registration is open online here.

Founded in 1983, the second year that the Grand Prix was run in Detroit, the DGPA has become one of the top volunteer organizations in sports as similar models have been incorporated at racing events across the United States and beyond. DGPA volunteers are ambassadors for the Grand Prix, as well as Detroit and the entire region. More than 200 members have volunteered for 10 or more years at the Grand Prix and approximately 20 people have served as volunteers since the event was first hosted in Detroit in 1982.

“We appreciate all that the DGPA and its members do to support the Grand Prix and help us host this world-class event each and every year,” says Michael Montri, president of the Detroit Grand Prix. “Our volunteers are often the first people our guests see and interact with when they arrive at the Grand Prix and the last people they engage with when they leave. They have been such an important part of this event for decades and their hard work and commitment are essential to everything we do. As we begin a new era of the Grand Prix in Downtown Detroit in 2023, we will continue to rely on our dedicated core of volunteers to provide great service to everyone that visits the Grand Prix this summer.”

DGPA departments that need volunteers for this summer’s event include circuit marshals, accessibility ambassadors, ticket scanners, hospitality services, ushers, and more. New departments in 2023 also looking for volunteers include guest navigators, who will ensure that visitors find their way around the new venue in downtown Detroit, and the ticket information call center. For a complete description of each volunteer department, visit DetroitGP.com and select the Volunteer link.

First-year members can become part of the organization’s Resource Pool Department, which offers a variety of volunteer experiences by assisting several of the existing departments throughout the event on an as-needed basis. New members will have the option of committing to one full day of volunteering or working two half-day shifts leading up to and during Grand Prix weekend.

To join the DGPA and become a volunteer for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, members pay an annual fee of $20. This fee helps cover the cost of many volunteer benefits including a membership patch, commemorative lapel pin, appreciation certificate, and access to a Kickoff Party, exclusively for DGPA members.

The Grand Prix also provides each volunteer with a credential to access the venue during race weekend, official uniform shirts and hat, free parking during the event, meals each day of race weekend, and access to an Appreciation Party following the event.

Buddy’s Pizza to Open New Grand Rapids Area Location

Buddy’s Pizza is opening its third west Michigan location (3597 Alpine Ave. in Walker) in the Grand Rapids market, a carryout only outlet, at 11 a.m. March 6.

The grand opening celebration will include a visit from Grand Rapids Griffins mascot Griff and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. In addition, Buddy’s will donate all opening day sales to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.

The new restaurant is the 22nd Buddy’s location in Michigan.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support of the community since opening our first Grand Rapids location in 2019,” says Wes Pikula, chief brand officer for Buddy’s. “Expanding in Grand Rapids will help us further connect with the community and provide Detroit-Style Pizza fans a convenient carryout option close to home.”

Buddy’s first began its partnership with the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum when it opened its full-service location in Grand Rapids in 2019 and has continued to partner through sponsorships and programming, including the “Little GR” museum exhibit.

“The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is thrilled to partner with Buddy’s Pizza,” says Maggie Lancaster, CEO of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. “We love seeing our guests bake pizza dough, place toppings, and deliver pizzas to adults at the Buddy’s Pizza Exhibit. Exploring food preparation through play grows the next generation of culinary arts. Our goal is to have more families play at our Buddy’s Exhibit, and then go experience the real thing – because it’s the best pizza.”

Buddys’ partnership with the Grand Rapids Griffins began in November 2021. The company sponsors a variety of the team’s programs, including Griffins Kids Club and Hometown Heroes, an initiative that honors local veterans during home games. Buddy’s is also involved with the Griffins through the Friends and Family 4-Pack, which can be purchased at every Saturday game and includes four or more game tickets, $20 or more in concession cash and a coupon for a free cheese pizza from any participating Buddy’s location.

MMS in Canton Township Partners with I-ACT to Advance Children’s Clinical Trials

MMS Holdings, a data-focused contract research organization in Canton Township is partnering with the Institute for Advanced Clinical Trials (I-ACT) to accelerate the development of life-saving therapeutics, including vaccines, medicines, and medical devices for children.

MMS is a sponsor of I-ACT’s Spin Challenge, a creative way to raise funds to advance and accelerate children’s clinical trials. The event officially launches in early March when scores of pediatricians, pediatric nurses, pediatric social workers, and others will visit Disney World and set a world record by riding Disney’s Spinning Tea Cups for three days.

In addition to its corporate sponsorship, MMS colleagues participated in the challenge by “spinning” in their own way, some on bicycles, with hockey pucks, bowling balls, and more.

“We are happy to partner with an organization like I-ACT whose values closely align with ours,” says Uma Sharma, CEO of MMS. “Our mission at MMS is to assist our clients in bringing life-changing therapies to patients worldwide, including expanding access to pediatric populations. At MMS, we support a variety of pediatric initiatives and approvals for our sponsors and understand the challenges of clinical work in this population.”

There is a gap in pediatric drug development because pediatric trials face many hurdles that adult trials do not, and recruitment is challenging. Hence, pediatric trials often take longer and fail more frequently. Nevertheless, this population needs new medicines with the same urgency as adults, as the recent COVID vaccine development shows.

“We act because every child with a medical need deserves the best chance possible,” says Dr. Betsy Garofalo, chair of the I-ACT Board of Directors. “That chance depends on a commitment to innovation, quality, and urgency in advancing medical therapies specifically for children,” “I’m thankful we could connect I-ACT with an innovative company like MMS to help close the pediatric drug development gap.”

Learn more about participating in the Spin for Kids event or donate here.

Premier Pet Supply and Feline Fund Partner to Save 200+ Cats

Premier Pet Supply, headquartered in Beverly Hills, is presenting a $12,171 check to the nonprofit feline fund Feb. 24 to provide spay/neuter services, lifesaving vaccines, rabies shots, and access to additional veterinary care to more than 200 cats living on the streets.

The donation is in honor of Cat Health Month and was collected though a round-up and donation-based campaign in all Premier Pet Supply their stores from October 2022 through January 2023.

In addition, this will launch Feline Fund’s “Detroit PURRomise” campaign that will provide spay/neuter services to 1,000 cats in metro Detroit by 2025.

Feline Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping local rescues fund veterinary care for cats in need. The costs covered include spays, neuters, immunizations, and other emergency related services for feral cats living on the streets, rescued cats, and owned cats in need of care where financial means are an obstacle. In addition to funding veterinarian care, Feline Fund also provides business and educational information for rescue members.

The money raised will help fund the TNR Extravaganzas and Spay Days. The first event is scheduled for March 18 at the Humane Society of Huron Valley with five more scheduled throughout metro Detroit. Including the final Spay Day, which will provide care to 100 feral cats on Feral Cat Day, Oct. 16 at All About Animals in Warren.

“We are super stoked because what we see from Tara and Feline Fund is just an amazing and relentless effort to really help for the greater good of cats in the Metro Detroit Area.” says Mike Palmer, owner of Premier Pet Supply Stores. “It makes all the sense in the world for Premier Pet Supply since we are local throughout Metro Detroit and family owned to partner with Tara and this great organization.”

To sponsor the care for one feral cat costs $50. For info on sponsoring the care for a cat, visit felinefund.org.

Children’s Healing Center Expands to Southeast Michigan

The Children’s Healing Center will break ground on its second-ever location this spring in Ypsilanti Township, bringing the healing power of play to children and families in southeast Michigan.

The Children’s Healing Center is a first-of-its-kind year-round recreational center for children with weakened immune systems and their families that provides opportunities for play, programming, education, and socialization. The first center opened in Grand Rapids in 2015 to provide a safe, clean, yet fun space for members and their families, who typically must isolate from the world to prevent from getting sick.

The new location will be on South Huron Street north of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office and across from Brinker Way.

The expansion into southeast Michigan has backing from the community, including:

  • A $2 million grant from the state of Michigan.
  • A $1.25 million matching gift from The Jones Family Foundation.
  • Support from the Ypsilanti Charter Township Board of Trustees, led by Supervisor Brenda Stumbo.

After a quiet capital campaign, which already has raised more than $5.2 million of the $6.5 million needed to build the location, the center now is entering the public phase with additional support opportunities available, including leadership gifts and general community support.

“We are beyond excited to bring the healing power of play to southeast Michigan,” says Amanda Barbour, founder and CEO of CHC. “It has long been our goal to expand our services to welcome more kids and families craving an opportunity for connection. Thanks to the support we’ve received, we can now break down the barriers of isolation to give these kids and families some good, clean, fun.”

The center provides programming in, science, technology, education, art, and math (STEAM), fitness, culture, and other disciplines at no cost for qualifying children from birth through age 26 and their families. Siblings are invited to participate in all programming, with the center also holding regular programs designed exclusively for parents and caregivers. Qualifying families typically have a child with cancer, an autoimmune disorder, organ transplant, congenital heart defect, sickle cell or other medically complex condition that leaves them at greater risk for infection.

“The Ann Arbor area was a natural location for our expansion because, like Grand Rapids, its community embraces and celebrates philanthropy, which is critical to our mission,” Barbour says. “There are also several children’s hospitals and other health care facilities nearby, including the award-winning University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.”

The new location will be built from the ground up and designed to provide as close to a germ-free environment as possible. The 11,000-square-foot facility will have different zones, including:

Exploratory Play: Space that supports exploration and play-based learning, including an educational environment for the Center’s Little Tots University Preschool and areas for creativity and imagination.

Active Fitness: Space that encourages kids to get moving and release energy, featuring a space to run, jump and play. It will also include flexible configurations that will allow for group games, fitness classes, yoga, sports, dance, and other activities.

Teen & AYA: Space for teens and young adults to call their own, designed to encourage group activities and games, build community and stimulate conversation.

Parent Lounge: Space for parents to connect and share with one another, with flexible seating and a designated work area.

Café/Kitchen: Kitchen space for culinary programs that foster healthy habits, as well as a coffee bar for parents and young adults and relaxation spaces for staff.

Art Room: Offering a hands-on area that allows children to be messy and creative as they work on individual and group art and educational projects. The environment will be designed to encourage exploration, ideation, and learning.

Garden: An outdoor space offering hypoallergenic plants and play areas designed to be suitable for children of all abilities.

More than one-quarter of the Center’s operating budget will be dedicated to maintaining a super-clean space, which will feature:

  • Total absence of carpet, fabric or other materials that harbor germs; vinyl and other easily cleanable materials are used through the center.
  • Use of microbial-resistant surfaces amenable to frequent disinfection.
  • A designated HEPA air filtration system and positive pressurization to maintain air quality.
  • Use of filtered tap water along with state-of-the-art technology to ensure there is no standing water.

The project should take approximately eight to nine months to complete before the doors officially open. More information can be found here.

Madonna University Celebrates 60+ Years and 7,000 Nurses

Madonna University in Livonia announced that its nationally accredited College of Nursing and Health will celebrate its 60th anniversary of nursing education with a special event from 5:30-8 p.m. Feb. 25. at the Madonna Welcome Center.

In 1962, Madonna launched its first four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program, and since then has graduated more than 7,000 nurses.

Over the years Madonna has earned a reputation for developing students into confident, prepared, and patient-focused nurses who exemplify excellence and leadership in the nursing profession. While Madonna nursing alumni work across 43 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada, the majority share their skills and deliver compassionate care in Michigan.

“It’s important to take a moment to celebrate this milestone with the community and to recognize the nurses, faculty members, and health care professionals who lead with care, compassion, and commitment,” says Deborah Dunn, provost and interim dean of nursing at Madonna University, where she began teaching nursing in 1992. “It’s exciting to see the names of the alumni and current and former faculty members who have RSVPed for the event. I am so thrilled and appreciative, too, of many of our industry partners who have become event sponsors.

“Through the years, I have witnessed the incredible growth and profound impact that our graduates have had on the healthcare industry, locally and globally.”

Madonna currently has 25 programs in Nursing and Health Sciences, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees and certificates in nursing, gerontology, dementia care, population health, public health, and more.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession is projected to grow at a rate of 12 percent through 2028, outpacing the average growth for other professions.

“Due to the COVID pandemic, an aging workforce, and other factors, I regularly meet with health system leaders who are looking for well-trained people to meet the demand for nurses,” Dunn says. “Through our work together, major indicators have shown that as the number of BSN nurses at a hospital rises, mortality rates and rates of infection decrease. Madonna is well-situated to provide the nursing leaders that can continue to curb these numbers.”

A ticket for cocktails, dinner, and the program is $35 per person. For more information, visit here.

Pope Francis Center to Honor Community Leaders at 2023 Gala

Three long-time supporters of the Pope Francis Center will be honored for their community service and leadership at the 2023 Building Bridges Gala at 6 p.m. April 20 at Ford Field in Detroit.

The honorees are the J. Addison Bartush and Marion M. Bartush Family Foundation; Nettie Seabrooks, who served key roles with the Detroit Institute of Arts, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, and General Motors Co.; and Jim Tobin, retired executive vice president of Magna International.

“The many contributions of the Bartush foundation, Nettie, and Jim have made it possible for the Pope Francis Center to provide the life-saving work of serving Detroit’s chronically homeless population,” says Fr. Tim McCabe, SJ, executive director of the Pope Francis Center. “We are also so thankful for all they have done to help bring our Bridge Housing Campus to life.”

The J. Addison Bartush and Marion M. Bartush Family Foundation was established to help enhance the quality of life in underserved communities with a focus on new and innovative programs. It is represented by Joseph Bartush, Susan Bartush Cugliari, and Stephen Cugliari. Susan Cugliari also serves as a Pope Francis Center board member.

Over a nearly 50-year career, Seabrooks worked to make life better for the people of Detroit and Michigan. She spent 31 years at GM, retiring as director of government relations for the automaker’s North American Operations. She then was COO and chief of staff for Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer. She followed that with 10 years with the Detroit Institute of Arts, including as chief operating officer. Seabrooks was one of the founding members of the Pope Francis Center board.

After moving to the Detroit area from Canada as a child, Tobin fell in love with the city and finding opportunities to support its youth. He retired from Magna International in 2020 after a nearly 40-year career of industry leadership and community service. During his tenure, Tobin served as chief marketing officer, president of Magna Asia, and held senior executive positions at Cosma International, Magna’s body and chassis systems unit.

Tobin has been a long-time supporter and contributor to the Pope Francis Center and co-chaired the organization’s fundraising efforts for the Bridge Housing Campus. In addition, Tobin’s community work includes serving on the Focus: HOPE Advisory Board as well as being Magna’s champion for the Detroit Cristo Rey High School and Loyola High School work study programs, offering educational and career opportunities to nearly 50 Detroit-area students since its inception in 2014.

To learn more about the 2023 Building Bridges Gala, visit popefranciscenter.org/gala.