DBusiness Daily Update: Detroit PBS Celebrates Kresge Foundation with Detroit Symposium, 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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Former President Barack Obama and Kresge Foundation CEO Rip Rapson converse during “Kresge at 100.” // Screen capture courtesy of Detroit PBS

Detroit PBS Celebrates Kresge Foundation with Detroit Symposium

In recognition of the Kresge Foundation contributing more than $1 billion to the city of Detroit over the last 100 years, Detroit PBS livestreamed The Kresge Foundation’s “The Detroit & the American City Symposium,” which took place June 11 in midtown Detroit.

Discussions considered how the city can grapple with past and present challenges and inequities while uplifting its strength, promise, and opportunities. It explored how the community can invest in access to opportunity for all Detroiters to build systems of resilience and health — collectively bringing joy and healing to Detroit’s future.

The program included opening remarks by Kresge Foundation CEO Rip Rapson followed by a fireside chat between Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program; and Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. Together they discussed the deep and rich history of Detroit and the city’s immense possibilities.

The symposium also featured a performance by the Cass Tech Marching Band; a clip from the documentary “Freshwater,” by Detroit filmmaker dream hampton focusing on Detroit’s struggles and triumph; and rotating panel discussions with speakers including:

  • Dominique Morriseau, playwright and actress, shares how our culture and heritage shape our future.
  • Angela Glover Blackwell, founder in residence at PolicyLink, discusses how economic equity is the foundation for securing our children’s future.
  • Danielle Atkinson of Mothering Justice and Angie Reyes of the Detroit Hispanic Development Corp. lead a conversation that posits a future where all Detroiters have access to opportunity.
  • Tepfirah Rushdan, Detroit’s sustainability director, and Donele Wilkins of the Green Door Initiative lead a discussion on what they envision as a more resilient Detroit centering on climate and health in community development.
  • dream hampton, filmmaker and producer shared her vision of Detroit’s future, rooted in joy and healing.

In addition, Detroit PBS has produced a documentary on The Kresge Foundation to mark its centennial, “Kresge at 100: Celebrating The Kresge Foundation’s Century of Impact and Future of Opportunity,” which had its broadcast premiere last week. Watch it on demand here.

The event, which was filmed at the Detroit Institute of Arts, includes an appearance by former President Barack Obama, who sits down with Rapson for a fireside chat. Other speakers include Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Kresge Chair Cecilia Muñoz, as well as a program of Detroit’s eclectic and talented performers.

Out-of-state Crews to Join Consumers Energy’s Effort to Restore Power to Michigan

Consumers Energy in Jackson launched a large-scale restoration effort Tuesday as more than 410 crews mobilized to the hardest-hit areas of the state after a severe thunderstorm with damaging winds swept across Michigan. Crews from Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, and Illinois are pitching in to get the power back on safely and as quickly as possible, according to the utility.

“The damage created by this storm is widespread and significant,” says Chris Laird, one of Consumers Energy’s Officers in Charge for restoration. “We are moving every resource that we can into place ― including crews from our energy industry peers in the Midwest ― to ensure we can safely turn the lights back on for our customers.”

The storm moved across Michigan, causing damage and affecting more than 155,000 customers. Most of those were in the Muskegon, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo areas, as well as communities in the northeast Lower Peninsula.

Most customers should get power back by noon Thursday, with all customers in the hardest-hit areas restored by the end of the day Thursday, according to Consumers Energy.

ReThink I-375 Community Coalition Asks MDOT for 11 Specific Action Items

In response to MDOT’s recent statements about the importance of community input into the I-375 Reconnecting Communities Project, the ReThink I-375 Community Coalition calls on MDOT and other relevant governmental decision makers to adopt the following 11 points to reboot the design process for the I-375 Reconnecting Communities Project to ensure beneficial outcomes from design and construction:

  • Retract Progressive Design-Build RFP and do not re-issue until after completion of the Framework Plan
  • Ask for and secure an extension to any funding source that may pose time constraints.
  • Commit to using Detroit’s Streets for People Plan.
  • Develop a compelling vision and clear set of principles that can driver= development of every aspect of the framework plan and road design.
  • Publish a detailed and comprehensible timeline for all design and urban planning work that clearly shows the interplay of the land use framework development, zoning and land disposition, road design, and the community enhancements plan.
  • Articulate, in detail, the community concerns already shared to date and a process for addressing each of them.
  • Clarify responsibilities and scopes of work of project contributors (MDOT and their consultants, city of Detroit and their consultants, DDP and their consultants, Kresge Foundation) through a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) matrix or similar tool.
  • Agree to start construction only once adequate funding has been secured, not only for the road project and potential cost overages, but also for the community enhancement plan.
  • Commit to construction mitigation strategies that will offset business losses, based on the economic impact study to be conducted by Downtown Detroit Partnership, as well as community concerns relating to transit access, emergency vehicle routes and other accessibility concerns.
  • Define, in advance, the opportunities for meaningful community input through the Local Advisory Committee and wider public engagement between now and the start of construction.
  • Expand the proposed Executive Board for the project to include nine seats total of which four are community members elected by the community. Specifically, at least one member of the board would be a Black Bottom descendant, one a local resident, one a local small business owner, and one a local large business owner.

Report: Steakhouses Rule Restaurants, Chick-fil-A Leads Fast Food

LongHorn Steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse, and Chick-fil-A are leading the way in customer preference, according to the Ann Arbor-based American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Restaurant and Food Delivery Study 2024.

ACSI results show consumer preferences for steaks as LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse both climbed 4 percent to a score of 85 (out of 100), tying for the top spot among full-service restaurants and restaurants overall.

Chick-fil-A dropped 2 percent to an ACSI score of 83 but still leads among individual fast food chains for the 10th consecutive year. This long-term success is reflected in revenue, as the chain’s non-mall locations averaged $9.4 million in revenue in 2023 (more than double that of McDonald’s while being open one day less per week).

Although customer satisfaction with fast food restaurants is up 1 percent to a score of 79 and up 4 percent to 84 for full-service restaurants, according to the survey, households earning less than $75,000 a year are reducing their restaurant visits because of rising prices.

“Both full-service and fast-food restaurant customers are skewing a bit more toward higher income levels and college graduates,” says Forrest Morgeson, associate professor of marketing at Michigan State University and director of research emeritus at the ACSI. “Customers are being forced to make decisions between groceries and restaurants, with full-service restaurant inflation about two times that of groceries in the past year and fast food and fast casual restaurants prices up three times the rate of groceries. With customers seemingly viewing dining out a luxury, restaurants that can differentiate themselves in terms of quality and value will have a competitive advantage.”

In the full-service restaurant category, after LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden is next among major chains, up 4 percent to 83. Chili’s also improves 4 percent to 80. The chain benefits from a combination of high perceived value through its “3 for Me” menu and service strength through employee retention.

Last year’s category leader, Outback Steakhouse, slipped 4 percent to 80. Outback appears to be challenged by a slowdown in spending by lower-income consumers consistent with ACSI findings regarding their customers’ price sensitivity. Meanwhile, IHOP soared 8 percent to 78. Customers are responding favorably to menu changes that offer more variety.

Denny’s and Red Robin share last place, slipping 1 percent each to 76.

With Chick-fil-A leading the way in fast foot, KFC finished second at 81 (unchanged), appearing to hold on to highly loyal customers as competitors cut into its domestic market share. There is a four-way tie for third place at 80 between ACSI newcomer Culver’s, Panera Bread (up 5 percent), Arby’s (up 4 percent), and Starbucks (up 3 percent). Culver’s continues to open locations at a consistent rate while also growing revenue per location.

Despite being well behind the leaders, Sonic made the biggest leap in the industry, surging 6 percent to an ACSI score of 76, same as Wendy’s, up 3 percent.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s remains in last place even after improving 3 percent to an ACSI score of 71.

To review the full report, visit here.

Carhartt Begins Transition to Use of Responsibly Sourced Cotton

Carhartt, the Dearborn-based workwear brand, announced the start of its transition to begin using responsibly sourced and preferred cotton guided by Textile Exchange. To source cotton that is ecologically progressive and more responsibly grown, Carhartt has joined the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol and the Better Cotton initiative.

With Textile Exchange’s management of industry standards in the sustainable fiber and materials industry, Carhartt’s membership with U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol and Better Cotton helps build the brand’s strategy to source preferred cotton and support farmers as they transition to more responsible cotton growing through education and resources.

“We pride ourselves on our history of manufacturing gear that is built to last from day one with the best and most durable materials available,” says Gretchen R. Valade, director of sustainability at Carhartt. “Our memberships with the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol and Better Cotton enables us to deliver our gear more sustainably, without sacrificing the durability and quality synonymous with our brand for the last 135 years. We remain committed to exploring more responsibly sourced materials, which is the next step in our mission to leave a better world for the next generation of hardworking people.”

Through its membership into the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, Carhartt will have full traceability of the U.S. cotton used in its gear, allowing for increased transparency and greater insights into its supply chain.

Carhartt says it’s committed to improving cotton farming practices globally with Better Cotton, which trains farmers to use water efficiently, care for soil health and natural habitats, reduce the use of harmful chemicals, and respect the workers’ rights and well-being.

The company says its transition to responsibly grown cotton is the next step in its journey to produce and manufacture its workwear more sustainably. The Carhartt Reworked resale program also has led to extending the life of over 53,000 garments and kept more than 79,000 products out of landfills since its launch in 2023.

For more information on Carhartt and its efforts to build a better world for all hardworking people, visit here. 

Industrial Credit Union in Washington State Selects Platform of Mahalo Banking in Troy 

Mahalo Banking in Troy announced its new partnership with Bellingham, Wash.-based Industrial Credit Union. Industrial selected Mahalo’s solution to optimize integrations and deliver an improved digital banking experience.

By partnering with Mahalo, Industrial says it aims to enhance platform extensibility and drive seamless innovation. Additionally, the partnership should facilitate deeper integrations between Industrial’s core provider, Corelation Keystone, and Mahalo’s solution, easing integration burdens and powering faster growth.

“Ongoing innovation should be the cornerstone of any strong digital strategy, and we are delighted to support Industrial’s forward-looking member experience goals,” says Denny Howell, COO of Mahalo. “As engaging members through digital channels becomes increasingly essential, it is vital for credit unions to optimize their banking solutions to meet and exceed evolving member expectations. Our team works closely with each credit union partner to identify their unique needs, how our solution will advance the digital experience and areas where we can collaborate to implement thoughtful innovations that will satisfy members.”

Start of 2024 Marine Shipping Marked by Consistency and Uptick in Potash Traffic

With the 2024 marine shipping season on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway in full swing, the early statistics provided by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. (SLSMC) and Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. (GLS) show that movements of potash (an agricultural fertilizer), iron, steel, and cement are up when compared to the same period (i.e. March to May) last year. Specifically:

  • Potash traffic was up 287,000 tons, for a total of approximately 335,000 tons (a year over year increase of approximately six times);
  • Cement traffic was up 77,000 tons, for a total of approximately 527,000 tons; and
  • Shipments of iron and steel were up by 195,000 tons year over year, for a total of approximately 580,000 tons.

BasBlue’s Spring Zero-to-One Fellowship Program Reception + Marketplace is Thursday

Detroit nonprofit BasBlue will host a marketplace showcasing female and nonbinary-founded businesses cultivated through its six-month Zero-to-One Fellowship program from 5-7 p.m. Thursday at its 110 E Ferry St. headquarters.

BasBlue’s Zero-to-One Fellowship program assists underrepresented entrepreneurs in starting and growing new businesses. It provides emerging entrepreneurs who face challenges accessing mainstream support with tailored resources, including business coaching, one-on-one mentorship, funding, and a supportive community. The program equips each cohort of Fellows with the guidance, capital, and network needed to advance their business ideas to the next stage.

Each fellow will showcase their business, product, and/or service. Featured businesses include:

  • Chi Fan Le – Angela Chi (Homestyle Chinese food pop-up)
  • Sweet Paws Creamery – Marquita Richardson
  • Bonding Over Books – Sarah Dalley (Book club discussion game)
  • The Practice Collective – Samantha Barash
  • The Real Renee Allergy Free Snacks – Renee Sorgi
  • ‘Lito Clothing – Yvonne Montero (Upcycled clothing line and vintage retail shop)
  • JB’s Icepops – Jena Brooker
  • Blackmoon Bathhouse – I’Sha Schultz-Spradlin
  • The Classy Lady Edition Stationary – Nikoji Smith
  • Family Ties Card Game – Ambirr Momon

Tricia Ruby to Receive 2024 Horace H. Rackham Humanitarian Award from ESD

The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) in Southfield announced Tricia Ruby as the recipient of the 2024 Horace H. Rackham Humanitarian Award.

The ESD’s highest honor recognizes individuals for outstanding humanitarian achievements through technical accomplishments or exceptional contributions to civic, business, public-spirited, or humanitarian endeavors on local, national, or international levels.

Ruby is principal and group director of Ruby+Associates, a Degenkolb company. She will be honored at The Engineering Society of Detroit Annual Dinner tonight at the Westin in Southfield.

Throughout her career, Ruby has exemplified leadership and innovation in structural engineering and beyond. As president and CEO from 2011 to 2023, she transformed Ruby+Associates, achieving significant revenue growth and positioning the firm as a leader in its field. Under her guidance, the company garnered national recognition as a Top 50 Great Place to Work by Forbes magazine, reflecting her commitment to fostering a positive organizational culture.

She is involved in initiatives promoting diversity and inclusion within the engineering and construction industries. Her advocacy for women and people of color is exemplified through her leadership roles and contributions to organizations such as the National Council Structural Engineering Associations (NCSEA) Foundation and ACE Mentor Southeast Michigan.

Ruby is also involved with the Judson Center, a local nonprofit supporting children and families affected by various challenges. Her commitment to giving back has earned her multiple awards, including the AFP Distinguished Volunteer Award and the ACEC National Community Service Award.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Tricia Ruby’s exceptional achievements and unwavering commitment to humanitarian causes,” says Robert Magee, executive director of the ESD. “Her leadership, strategic vision, and dedication to diversity have made a profound impact, inspiring positive change within the structural engineering industry and beyond.”

For more information about The Engineering Society of Detroit and the Horace H. Rackham Humanitarian Award, visit esd.org.

Lake Fest Brings STEAM Learning and Fun for Kids at Ford House

The Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores is hosting Lake Fest from 1-4 p.m. this Saturday.

At Lake Fest, attendees will learn all about the animals that call Lake St. Clair home, the people who live around it, and how the community can work together to keep this resource healthy for everyone.

The event is designed with families in mind. A boatload of activities is planned to keep everyone entertained, from curious kids to engaged adults including hands-on experiences, projects, and the chance to meet community partners who share the passion for protecting the lake.

Visitors will have an opportunity to:

  • Meet the Coast Guard and learn about what it does to keep our waters safe.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt around the estate and see what things can be found.
  • Try “fishing.”
  • Meet a live sturgeon from the DNR Adventure Center and discover why they’re so special.
  • Learn about the animals that live around Ford House and Lake St. Clair.
  • Hang out with science teachers from the Michigan Science Center and do some experiments.
  • Team up with the Clinton River Water Council to learn how to help keep our water clean.
  • Learn all about walleye from the Lake St. Clair Walleye Association.
  • Hear about the natural resources around us from the Six Rivers Land Conservancy.

Tickets for the Lake Fest at Ford House may be purchased online here. Admission is $10 per adult and $7 per child (ages 4-12). Friends of Ford House enjoy discounts on tickets. To learn how to become a Friend of Ford House, visit fordhouse.org/friends.

City of Pontiac Hosts City-wide Community Clean-up Celebration Day on July 13

Dare to Dream Pontiac is staging a city-wide community clean-up initiative from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Participants in the City-Wide Community Clean-up Celebration Day will meet at 441 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. S (near Elm St.). To register, visit here.

The event will start with sprucing up Murphy Park from 10 a.m.-noon followed by fun festivities from noon-2 p.m. The celebration will feature live music, food, and bounce houses. Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and will be supplied necessary tools to clean their designated areas.

For more information, email daretodreampontiac@gmail.com or call 248-935-4308.