DBusiness Daily Update: Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Gets $3M Grant from Erb Family Foundation, 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.
A $3 million dollar grant to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation will be used to create the Barbara Erb Cove at the Water Garden within Ralph Wilson Park. // Courtesy of Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
A $3 million dollar grant to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation will be used to create the Barbara Erb Cove at the Water Garden within Ralph Wilson Park. // Courtesy of Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

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.

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Gets $3M Grant from Erb Family Foundation

A $3 million dollar grant to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation will be used to educate the public on water quality issues and to restore fish and wildlife habitat along the river’s edge at Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park.

The grant also establishes the naming of the Barbara Erb Cove at the Water Garden within Ralph Wilson Park. In the coming weeks, the 22-acre West Riverfront Park will close to the public as it begins its transformation into Ralph Wilson Park.

“We are honored to collaborate with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to create the Barbara Erb Cove, which will serve as a hub for stewardship and Great Lakes learning,” says Neil Hawkins, president of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation. “It is our responsibility to ensure a thriving Great Lakes ecosystem for generations to come, and this grant will be instrumental in advancing watershed education and stewardship practices of this invaluable resource.”

The Barbara Erb Cove will be a place within the park where visitors can touch the water, get close to some of the fish, wildlife, and native plants, and will be a center of the environmental programming that the Conservancy is developing with partners including the Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

When completed, the park will feature the water garden, the William Davidson Sport House, the Delta Dental Play Garden with an array of animal structures, and the DTE Foundation Hill, an expansive lawn for special events.

In Related News: Leaders at the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy are planning the Shimmer on the River, the nonprofit organization’s largest fundraiser, at Robert C. Valade Park on Thursday, June 23 from 5-9 p.m.  It is the first time that Shimmer will be hosted at Valade Park, which is located at 2670 Atwater St. along the east riverfront in downtown Detroit.

This year’s Shimmer will be beach-themed with live music from Alise King, a Riverfront Boardwalk filled with summer activities, a family friendly Adventure Park, food and refreshments, and more.

Each year, the conservancy presents the Shimmer Award to an individual or organization that has had a lasting impact on the mission of the organization. This year, the Hudson Family and long-time board member Pamela Rodgers will be celebrated. The Shimmer Award is the conservancy’s highest honor and is presented annually to those who have been instrumental in its success over the years.

For more information, visit here.

Power Connections Commercial Real Estate Networking Event Planned for June 9

Power Connections: Building Powerful Connections in Commercial Real Estate presented by Drymedic will take place from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. June 9 at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.

The program includes many opportunities to hear from and connect with the best and brightest in the industry, according to show organizer Derek Dickow.

“We’ve assembled the top leaders, experts, and companies for an informative and engaging event,” Dickow says. “It’ll be a fantastic opportunity to learn from experts and network with developers, service providers, municipal, and governmental leaders.”

Speakers include:

  • Quentin Messer Jr., president and chair of Michigan Economic Development Corp.
  • Featured speakers include:
  • Joey Agree, president and CEO of Agree Realty Corp.
  • Ron Boji, president and CEO of the Boji Group
  • Diane Batayeh, CEO of Village Green
  • Saab Grewal, director of asset management at Singh Development
  • Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corp.
  • Mario Kiezi, president of MKiezi Investments
  • Fadi Nassar, president and CEO of Nassar Cos.

Scheduled panels include:

  • How to Build Power Connections
  • Multi-Family
  • Mixed-Use
  • Retail Market Outlook
  • Office and Industrial

Tickets are $395 and can be purchased in advance here.

Huntington Bank Creates New Structure to Accelerate Enterprise Payments Strategy

Huntington Bancshares Inc. is creating a new enterprise payments organization to develop, coordinate, and execute its payments strategy and investment roadmap.

Amit Dhingra has been named enterprise payments director and will lead a team responsible for executing an end-to-end enterprise-wide payments strategy across consumer and business payments, commercial payments, and treasury management. Dhingra is tasked with driving growth in payments revenue streams as well as focusing on digital and customer experience enhancements.

Dhingra’s team will build on the payments platform with additional products and services that will be commercialized across the business to further support existing and new customers through throughout their lifecycle.

“The organization of an enterprise payments strategy and platform enables us to serve all our customers,” says Steve Steinour, chairman, president, and CEO of Huntington. “As we continue to invest in our payment products and services, we will deliver more value-added services and further strengthen our customer experience.”

In May, Huntington acquired Digital Payments Torana, a San Francisco-based, business-to-consumer payments fintech.

Downtown Detroit Partnership Kicks off Summer Season

The Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP), with major support from the DTE Beacon Park Foundation, has announced its lineup of free summer activities for families and individuals of all ages.

“Downtown Detroit is celebrated locally and nationally for having so many wonderful and active parks and venues,” says David Cowan, chief public spaces officer for the DDP. “With 100 years of caring for our downtown, the secret to success has always been providing a diversity of signature events while preserving opportunities to explore our city’s dynamic cultural, retail, and entertainment scene. We invite everyone to celebrate our milestone by joining us this summer in the heart of Detroit.”

DDP’s six downtown Detroit parks — Campus Martius Park, Beacon Park, Cadillac Square, Capitol Park, The Woodward Esplanade, and Grand Circus Park — attract more than 4 million visitors annually through 1,600 cultural experiences, programs, events, and activations. This summer’s lineup includes new and returning seasonal programming that reflects the diversity of Detroit’s neighborhoods and communities, features local talent, and celebrates the spirit of our city.


May marked the official season opening of The Beach at Campus Martius Park, the original urban beach that offers a sun-soaked oasis in the heart of downtown Detroit. Open now through September.

Live music returns every Friday from 4-10 p.m. June 10-Aug. 26, the Friday Night Beach Parties will feature a rotating lineup of the best local and regional bands and DJs performing beachside.

BrisaBar will be Campus Martius Park’s new seasonal outdoor restaurant and bar with stunning views of downtown Detroit, courtesy of the Iconic Collection. Situated beach-side at the park, BrisaBar reinvents the space formerly known as The Fountain Detroit and offers guests a contemporary culinary experience.

Movie Nights in the D returns and moves to 7 p.m. Thursdays, beginning June 9.


Michigan’s largest weekly food truck rally which attracts more than 2,500 people per day now through Oct. 14. It features more than 80 food trucks and carts rotating at Cadillac Square and the Woodward Esplanade weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and during special events.


Beginning today, visitors to Cadillac Square from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. can support small business owners and entrepreneurs and grab takeaway foods at Market Fridays, a weekly outdoor pop-up market. Local food and beverage purveyors, artisans and other vendors will bring an array of goods, including handmade accessories and beauty products.

Lunchtime Acoustics features live music on Fridays at Cadillac Square from noon-2 p.m.


The Night Market at Beacon Park — from 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays, beginning June 4 — allows attendees to shop local and support Detroit-based makers and entrepreneurs, while taking in live music from Detroit’s best bands and DJs.

Residents and visitors can participate in a variety of free classes, such as City Glow Yoga, Fitness After Dark, Baby + Me, and Hustle and Flow. At Cadillac Square, there’s Workout Wednesdays with First Responders 4 Fitness. At Capitol Park and Grand Circus Park, DDP welcomes Citizen Yoga on Wednesdays and Sundays, respectively.

Beginning June 6, from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays, Family Fun Days at Beacon Park return. Family Fun Days are a mix of free activities throughout the summer for all ages to enjoy, everything from music, arts and storytelling to fitness, crafts, and stage performances. An annual Back-to-School Bash, complete with water inflatables, games, and a book giveaway, will take place Sunday, Aug. 28.

The Beacon Park End of Summer Concert will take place Saturday, Aug. 27. The concert features Jamaican reggae and fusion from two-time Grammy-nominated artist Etana.


Detroit’s off-leash dog park offers themed-events and costume parties for the city’s four-legged friends and their humans, including an annual dog prom and ice cream socials.

New this year is a free Bring Your Dog to the Movies event in July, complete with a Christmas in July Toy Drive in partnership with Michigan Humane. To contribute, attendees are asked to bring a dog or cat toy.

For more details on these and other downtown Detroit activities, visit here.

Construction Groups Partner to Present Mid-year Forecast and Forum

The Construction Association of Michigan (CAM), Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan (HBA), and the Apartment Association of Michigan (AAM) have partnered to present the 12th annual Mid-Year Economic Forecast and State of the Industry Breakfast on June 15 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

The event starts at 7:30 a.m. and runs through 11:30 a.m.

For the first time, the event also will include the Multifamily Rental Construction Forum, giving the event a more comprehensive overview of the construction industry.

The featured keynote speaker will be Elliot Eisenberg, chief economist of Graphs and Laughs. The forum will include a panel of experts including moderator, David Wilkins, managing director of Walker and Dunlop; and panelists Steve Calverley, CEO of Krimson; Jon Durham, owner of NOMI Developers; Jason Fracassa, vice president of finance of DevMar; and David Vivio, president of O’Brien Construction Co.

The registration fee is $60 per person. Register online here by June 6.

Palmer Park Art Fair Returns this Weekend

The Ninth Annual Palmer Park Art Fair is taking place this weekend and is free to attend thanks in part to a Michigan Arts and Culture Council grant assisted with funding, event remains FREE

The immersive art experience for all ages to explore hundreds of original artworks of various media, including painting, sculpture, music, mixed media, and more is open Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The park is located at 910 Merrill Plaisance St. in Detroit, between McNichols and Seven Mile roads, west of Woodward Avenue. The fair takes place in the most picturesque portion of the park adjacent to the historic log cabin and Lake Frances.

“The art fair was a major event in the 1970s, disappearing for 30 years, before being revived in 2013,” says Mark Loeb, founder of Integrity Shows and producer of the Palmer Park Art Fair. “Now, in its ninth year, and with funds from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, we’re able to accommodate more local artists and expanded musical offerings.”

The 2022 fair will feature more than 100 artists and artisans from some 15 states, as well as interactive activities, including those presented by:

  • Mint Artists Guild
  • Art in Motion
  • Drum Circle
  • Detroit Fine Art Breakfast Club
  • Detroit Art Teachers Association
  • The Scarab Club

For more event information, visit here.

Blake Farms in Armada Launches Natural Cold-Pressed Juices

Blake Farms is expanding its product offerings with the launch of Blake’s Cold-Pressed Juices, a line of fresh fruit juice produced at its farm in Armada.

Blake’s Cold-Pressed Juices will be sold at metro Detroit specialty independent stores beginning June 10 and at all Blake’s locations with further distribution plans to other counties soon.

The high-pressure process of cold pressing retains more of the fruit and vegetables, their vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants than traditional juicing. One of the biggest health benefits that have consumers reaching for cold-pressed juices, is that the ingredients are 100 percent natural with no added sugar or preservatives since the fruit goes directly into the bottle.

“We’ve been known for our sweet cider as our signature product for decades and developing Blake’s Cold-Pressed Juices was just a logical evolution of our 75-year apple-growing heritage,” says Andrew Blake, president of Blake’s Family of Cos. “This is an investment we see going beyond producing healthy cold-pressed juices, and we see more opportunities in non-alcoholic beverage offerings in the near future.”

The latest venture for the 75-year-old family owned and operated orchard and farm included a $1 million capital investment to process and bottle juice with the capacity to produce other non-alcoholic beverages in the future.

“What sets our cold-pressed juice apart from many competitors is a premium apple cider base made with almost 10 apples in every bottle, as opposed to apple juice from concentrate,” says Troy Deneen, Blake’s cider maker. “And we are especially proud of the locally made factor, from fresh pressing and bottling right here on the farm to sourcing ingredients like the cherry juice we get from Montmorency County in northern Michigan.”

For more information, visit here.

Detroit Art Organizations Open Tandem Exhibition June 5

The Metropolitan Museum of Design Detroit (MM-O-DD) and Collected Detroit have joined forces to unveil Tea Dance and Imagine This! a tandem exhibition that opens June 5-30 at Collected Detroit at 2439 Fourth St. in Detroit.

A Tea Dance is a summertime Sunday function inspired by the English countryside afternoon tea tradition. From the 1950s to current times the Tea Dance has been adopted by the queer community as a cultural alternative to a meeting. In the early years the LGBTQ+ community needed a way to guise their own get-togethers otherwise such events would have been illegal. This exhibition celebrates and embraces the opportunity to showcase designers and artists.

MM-O-DD invited 10 designers: Aki Choklat, Christian Trippe, Arkadiy Polezhaev, Bret Maxwell, Sam Dienst, Levon Millross, Neil Gates, Andrew Jordan, Kiwi Phong-Nguyen, and Boswell Millinery to participate.

The opening reception, from 2-6 p.m. on June 5, is a community effort. It will have a 1970’s-1990s vibe featuring house and disco music encouraging all to take a spin on the tattooed dance floor. The volunteer MM-O-DD Social Council is collaborating with Detroit businesses including Collected Detroit and partners FastSigns Detroit, Display Group, and MAC Galleries.

For more details, visit here.

Burns & Wilcox Supports Collegiate Golfers in U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Open

Burns & Wilcox, a wholesale insurance brokerage and underwriting firm in Farmington Hills is sponsoring two collegiate golfers — University of Tennessee’s Bailey Davis and University of North Carolina’s Austin Greaser — as they compete in the U.S. Women’s Open and U’S. Open, respectively.

The company is supporting both amateur athletes with Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) sponsorships.

“For the past six years, we have sponsored professional athletes in golf and hockey, and are proud to now support deserving amateur athletes before they become champions,” says Danny Kaufman, president of Burns & Wilcox. “We look forward to seeing Bailey and Austin represent the Burns & Wilcox brand and wish them the best of luck at two of the most storied championships in the game of golf.”

For more information, visit here.

Detroit Tigers Preparing for Summer Bash Weekend June 10-12 at Comerica Park

The Detroit Tigers have announced details for “Summer Bash Weekend,” presented by Miller Lite and Bally Sports Detroit, taking place June 10-12 at Comerica Park, when the team plays host to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The series will feature interaction with current and former players, giveaway items, and the celebration of Miguel Cabrera joining baseball’s 3,000-hit club. Tickets remain available here.

“We’re excited to celebrate the upcoming start of summer with Tigers fans at Comerica Park next weekend,” says Chris McGowan, president and CEO of Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “We will be welcoming back players from some of the greatest teams in Tigers history, and our fans will have the opportunity to salute Miguel Cabrera for his latest incredible milestone of reaching 3,000 career hits. We encourage fans to arrive early and enjoy what will be a tremendous atmosphere at the ballpark all weekend long.”

On Friday, June 10, at 5:30 p.m., Tigers fans are invited to a Q&A session in the Comerica Bank Big Cat Court. Fans will have the opportunity to ask questions to some of their favorite former players representing multiple decades of Tigers baseball. Following the game, fans are encouraged to remain in their seats for an incredible fireworks display.

On Saturday, June 11, fans will be welcomed by more than a dozen alumni players and coaches, and select current players, who will be signing autographs and be available for photos. Some of the most iconic teams in Tigers history will be represented, including the 1968 and 1984 World Series Championship teams, and the 2006 and 2012 American League Champions. The first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a “Detroit Roots” T-shirt, presented by Bally Sports Detroit.

Among the alumni expected to participate are:

  • Alex Avila
  • Rajai Davis
  • Andy Dirks
  • Doug Fister
  • Brandon Inge
  • Austin Jackson
  • Jim Leyland
  • Craig Monroe
  • Lance Parrish
  • Dan Petry
  • Nate Robertson
  • Dave Rozema
  • Frank Tanana
  • Jon Warden
  • Alex Wilson

Miggy Celebration Day on Sunday, June 12 will feature a pregame on-field ceremony for Cabrera and his family, with special guests in attendance. Tigers fans will be able to salute Cabrera for joining the exclusive 3,000-hit club. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 1 p.m. to be a part of the ceremony honoring Cabrera.

The first 10,000 fans to enter Comerica Park will receive a comic book cover, presented by Chevrolet, that commemorates Cabrera’s 3,000th career hit that he tallied at Comerica Park on April 23. The Tigers are partnering with Major League Baseball and Candy Digital to provide all fans in attendance an exclusive, free NFT ticket commemorating “Miggy Celebration Day” honoring his 3,000 hits milestone. Fans with tickets to the June 12 game will receive an email following the conclusion of the game.

Cereal Drive Is Back Because Kids Need Breakfast

For the past 12 years the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Professional Nurse Council at the Detroit Medical Center has partnered with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan to lead a community effort to provide children with a consistent daily meal over summer recess.

Now more than ever, kids in southeast Michigan need access to healthy breakfast options throughout the summer. Over the last 12 years, together, the organizations have raised more than 11 million servings of cereal.

This year, the Cereal Drive is back to filling buses and trucks with cereal to continue to help children eat this summer.

“At the Children’s Hospital of Michigan we understand the building block for every good outcome starts with getting access to nutrition,” says Kathy Donovan, CEO of Children’s Hospital of Michigan. “We see the impact food insecurity has on children’s health. The hospital does not just treat sick or injured children; we work to keep the children and families in our community healthy.”

The 13th Annual Cereal Drive kicks off today and runs through June 10. All donations will go to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan to support the community wherever the need is greatest this year.

Visit here to participate.