DBusiness Daily Update: Gilbert Family Foundation Launches Applications for 2024 Downtown Detroit Markets, 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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Applications are now open for Detroit-based small businesses to become vendors in the 2024 Downtown Detroit Markets. // Photo courtesy of Bedrock

Gilbert Family Foundation Launches Applications for 2024 Downtown Detroit Markets

Applications are now open for Detroit-based small businesses to become vendors in the 2024 Downtown Detroit Markets. This philanthropic initiative, funded by the Gilbert Family Foundation, offers entrepreneurs a prime holiday season platform in Cadillac Square.

Applications are open now through June 17 at 9:59 a.m. All applicants will be notified on July 16.

The Markets will run during the 2024 holiday season in Cadillac Square and vendors will receive retail training and business coaching from TechTown. Priority is given to Detroit-based businesses and new vendors.

Since launching in 2017, participating businesses have generated nearly $6 million in overall sales. In 2021, the Downtown Detroit Market vendors generated more than $1.4 million in revenue. This year, the program is once again seeking a diverse mix of vendors, Detroit-based businesses and newcomers to be a part of the market.

Virtual information sessions, hosted by TechTown will take place from 6-7 p.m. on:

  • May 30 — Register here.
  • June 6 — Register here.
  • June 13 — Register here.

For more information and to apply to be part of the Winter Markets, visit here.

Detroit Black Chamber to Host Annual Black CEO Roundtable June 19

The Detroit Black Chamber of Commerce (DBCC) announces the annual Black CEO Roundtable – “The Shift,” an exclusive event celebrating Juneteenth and aimed at empowering Black-owned businesses. The event will be hosted by UBS Financial Services Inc., Boulevard Content, and W3R Consulting.

This year’s roundtable will take place from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on June 19 at the UBS Financial Services Inc. Detroit Office, located at 1217 Woodward Ave, 3rd Floor.

The event is free to the public. To register, visit here. 

Lawrence Tech Panel Sees Michigan Economy Leading Global Mobility in 2025

The vision for metro Detroit is a unified region that acts with common purpose, using its expertise in manufacturing and the auto industry to foster job growth in the multifaceted mobility industry of tomorrow, according to the recent “Future Proof: Michigan’s Economy by 2050” panel discussion at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.

Moderator Edward Clemente, a veteran business and media executive who now is senior advisor for trends and development at the Michigan Economic Development Corp., kicked off the event with a paraphrase of a favorite quote: technology always advances, but humanity stays the same. “We don’t know how to process this much (information) in a society that’s moving faster than we do,” Clemente says. And he asked how Michigan can continue shedding its Rust Belt image and thrive in the mid-21st century.

Maureen Donohue-Krauss, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Partnership, an economic development consortium representing the city of Detroit and 11 southeast Michigan counties, says ideal economic development “is influencing jobs, growth, and development in the community based on the desires of the community… It has to be what the community desires.”

But sometimes development can be stymied by the Not In My Backyard tendency of communities that haven’t changed much in recent decades. That’s led to major problems for proposed developments that could bring thousands of good-paying new jobs to Michigan, from a Chinese-owned battery plant near Big Rapids to a huge Ford complex near Marshall.

“People don’t like change,” says panelist R.J. King, editor of DBusiness magazine, DBusiness Daily News, Detroit 500, and Hustle and Muscle. He says he recalls writing stories about opposition to a new shopping center in Rochester Hills, but when the center opened, “those same people were waiting in line” to get in.

Donohue-Krauss says she would ask development opponents, “do you only care about this community until the day you die? Don’t you care about your children and grandchildren? If you do, you need to be more thoughtful” about change and development. She pointed out how much mobile phones had changed since the days of bag phones to the latest blindingly sophisticated smartphones, and said, “if you have not evolved as much as your cell phone, you’re in trouble. That’s what I tell people about change.”

Panelist Cynthia Hutchison, CEO of the World Economic Forum-sponsored U.S. Center of Advanced Manufacturing, says part of economic development is “trying to figure out what it is that draws people. You have to put together the right support. Sometimes you have to teach the community what they need. We work with academics on that.” She also described spending a year in Switzerland learning how the World Economic Forum works, and bringing that knowledge back to Michigan.

Donohue-Krauss pointed to the fact that the Global Epicenter for Mobility was launched through a $52.2 million federal grant that was one of just 21 funded out of 500 applications.

She said her organization represents nearly 350 cities, villages, and townships in southeast Michigan—who acted as one to argue for, and win, the grant. In past decades, she said, that wouldn’t have happened.

“There would have been five different applications, and none of them would have been comprehensive enough to win,” she says. “I got to testify in Congress about how the Detroit area worked together on this. We were inclusive in what we did, and we were transparent in what we did, and that’s how we won.”

As for that mobility future, she said: “We’re changing from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, but there’s also the whole landscape of mobility and cleantech—that is our future.”

As for artificial intelligence, Clemente told the audience of about 40 that “you’re better off building a surfboard than trying to fight the wave…. every company should have an AI executive.”

Skillman Foundation Launches Skillman Visionary Awards Program

The Skillman Foundation in Detroit has launched the Skillman Visionary Awards program, an initiative aimed at honoring education changemakers. The award program underscores the foundation’s commitment to recognizing and supporting visionary leaders who are transforming the education system to better prepare students to navigate and shape the future.

Through the Skillman Visionary Awards program, the foundation will provide $50,000 unrestricted awards to individuals who are reimagining Detroit’s education system in innovative, community-informed, and collaborative ways. Awardees represent a span of generations and roles, including education changemakers working in school districts, youth programs, community organizing and policy advocacy.

The 10 awardees selected for the award’s inaugural class are:

  • Sherisse Butler, senior vice president and executive director of City Year Detroit
  • Sirrita Darby, founder of Detroit Heals Detroit
  • Jerjuan Howard, founder of Umoja Debate League
  • Jenell Mansfield, political and legislative coordinator for the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan
  • Silver Moore, humanities instructional coach at University Prep Schools and founder of Classroom Clapback
  • Larry Simmons Sr., executive director of Brightmoor Alliance
  • Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Marisol Bien Teachworth Walton, co-lead of Detroit Summer and director of youth development at Detroit Hispanic Development Corp.
  • Dawn Wilson-Clark, parent organizer at Jonathon and Dawn Clark Health & Healing Center
  • Juanita Zuniga, lead youth organizer at 482Forward

For more information and updates, visit SkillmanVisionary.org.

Fair Lane in Dearborn to Host Garden Design Symposium June 8

Fair Lane: Home of Clara and Henry Ford will host the Landscape Matters: A Garden Design Symposium from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on June 8.

The event will explore landscape design, sustainability, and ecological stewardship in one of America’s most historic estates. It will feature speaker Matthew Ross, executive director of The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park in Traverse City. Ross will offer perspectives on incorporating native plants and sustainable practices into garden design.

The three-part program includes an introductory lecture, a facilitated tour of Fair Lane, and a guided, hands-on design session exploring residential landscape using skills learned through the day’s activities.

Registration for the event in $75. For more information and to register, visit here.

MotorCities Announces Its Tour Operator Partners for 2024

The MotorCities National Heritage Area, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Michigan’s automotive and labor heritage, is partnering with five Detroit-area based tour operators to offer public tours this season. The partnerships continue a program that originally launched in 2019 to serve the 16-county National Heritage Area.

Tour experiences available vary from traditional walking tours to pedaling a bicycle – all while visiting key automotive and labor historical sites and learning the story of how the region put the world on wheels.

The tour operators selected offer the following experiences:

City Institute — MotorCities Auto Heritage New Center and Dearborn Walking Tours On the New Center walking tour, guests will experience the past, present and future of the Detroit area, going back in time with a visit inside the Ford Piquette Plant Museum and the chance to speak with some of the innovators who now call these neighborhoods home. The Dearborn walking tours provide the opportunity to learn how the past and present of this city are interwoven, get to know the people leading some exciting new projects and see the innovations and adaptations of this important city. For 2024, the New Center tours are offered on June 22 and August 24, and the Dearborn tours are offered on May 25 and July 27. For more information, visit here.

City Tour Detroit — Becoming the Motor City: A Timeline of Detroit’s Auto History Paul Vachon, author of the Reedy Press book of the same name, guides these tours offered monthly on June 22, July 21, Aug 24, and Sept 29. The 3-hour walking tour will also utilize the Detroit People Mover and QLine. For more information, visit here.

Michigan Labor History Society — Detroit Labor History Tours This group offers a free two-hour bus tour in June that drives by the Ford Rouge plant, site of the 1932 Ford Hunger March and the 1937 “Battle of the Overpass” with stops of the Ford Piquette Plant Museum, the Motown Museum and the “Transcending” labor legacy landmark in Hart Plaza. A narrated one-mile walking tour of downtown Detroit is also available. For more information, visit here.

Russell Brothers City Tours — Customized Automotive History Tours Get on board for a fun-filled tour of automotive landmarks in the city of Detroit. Your guide, Emmy-winning TV and radio personal­ity Greg Russell, takes guests to places they may know and some sites they might not. If guests have particular sites they’d like to see, just let Greg know. The tours are informative, insightful and most importantly, fun! For more information, visit here.

Wheelhouse Detroit — Auto Heritage Bicycle Tour On this 15-mile tour, guests will discover how Detroit became the center of industry. The tour takes in the Globe Building, Dequindre Cut, Packard Plant, the GM Detroit-Hamtramck (Poletown) Assembly Plant, Milwaukee Junction, New Center (old GM Headquarters and Fisher Building), and TechTown, where we will learn how industry is evolving with advanced tech­nology. Tours are available on June 23, July 28, August 25, September 22, and October 13. For more information, visit here.

For more information on tours and events, visit motorcities.org.

Advancing Macomb Hosts Eighth Annual Summer Soirée June 12

Advancing Macomb, a Mount Clemens-based 501(c)(3) that convenes resources to solve community challenges and enrich the lives of Macomb County residents, invites the community to an evening of food, drink and conversation at its eighth annual Summer Soirée from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on June 12 at Youngblood Vineyard (61829 Ray Center Road) in Ray Township.

The Summer Soirée is an annual tradition for Advancing Macomb that celebrates the organization’s past successes and helps support its future work. This year’s event will highlight Advancing Macomb’s key partnerships and recent achievements. Attendees also will be able to meet the new executive director, Phil Gilchrist.

Individual tickets for the Summer Soirée are $35 and may be purchased at advancingmacomb.com. Each ticket includes two glasses of Youngblood Vineyard wine and woodfired pizza. Online ticket sales end on June 10, but tickets will be available at the door for $40 per person.

Registration Open for Michigan Science Center Summer Camps

The Michigan Science Center’s (Mi-Sci) summer Spark! Camps are open for registration.

The science camps are open to students from kindergarten through eighth grade and run from June 24 -Aug. 16 with each week featuring a different theme. Campers have access to Mi-Sci’s more than 220 interactive exhibits, engage in immersive theater experiences, and investigate science phenomena through hands-on activities and experiments.

Campers are grouped by grade levels K-1, 2-3, 4-5 and 6-8, based on the level they will enter in the fall. Older camp groups have more advanced material with a heavier focus on technology and week-long projects.

Camp themes include:

Elementary School Level:

  • June 24-28: Fizz Bang Science
  • July 1-3: Game On!
  • July 8-12: Art of Science
  • July 15-19: Eco-Explorers
  • July 22-26: Solve it with Science!
  • July 29-Aug. 2: Out of This World
  • 5-9: Mi-Sci Air Academy
  • 12-16: Dino Discovery

Middle School Level:

  • June 24-28: Chem Quest
  • July 1-3: Game On!
  • July 8-12: STEAM Lab
  • July 15-19: City Science
  • July 22-26: Mi-Sci: CSI
  • July 29-Aug. 2: Mission Astronaut
  • 5-9: Sky High Design Lab
  • 12-16: Design for Disaster

Weekly camps are $395 and run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. The shortened, three-day holiday week July 1-3 is $250. Extended care from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. also is available for purchase. Scholarships and financial aid are also available for eligible students. For details and registration visit here.

XFC Grand Prix II Fight Card Slated for May 31

Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC) presented by Xtreme One Entertainment Inc. is promoting its XFC Grand Prix II at 8 p.m. May 31 at the Masonic Temple in Detroit.

The main event features a battle of heavyweights with former PFL and UFC fighter Alex “The Spartan” Nicholson taking on Carl “Badwater” Seumanutafa, a veteran with experience in PFL and Bellator. Nicholson fights out of American Top Team in Orlando and holds an 18-11 pro MMA record. Seumanutafa represents the Skrap Pack out of San Francisco and has scored 11 of his 14 MMA wins by knockout.

Pearl “The Chitown Princess” Gonzalez returns to XFC action fresh off her win at XFC 50. Fighting out of 10th Planet in San Diego, Gonzalez brings a record of 11-5 in XFC, UFC and Invicta leagues into the bout as she looks to continue her winning ways with XFC. Her opponent in Detroit is Rainn “Drop” Guerrero, a Texan with a 5-3 pro MMA record fighting out of the WAR Training Center near Houston. Who will speed to victory at XFC Grand Prix?

Additional fighters include Brazilian PFL alumni Raush Manfio vs. Minnesota’s Dan “The Hitman” Moret, who has competed in Bellator and UFC, in a featured lightweight showdown. XFC Grand Prix II will also feature Michigan-based and Michigan State University alum Collin Anglin, who has competed in UFC.

Fans can purchase tickets for XFC Grand Prix II at XFCFight.com or at The Masonic Temple box office.

In Related News: Xtreme One Entertainment Inc. announced the appointment of FOX Sports, World Cup, and live sports television personality Jenny Taft to its Board of Directors. The company also announced that global marketing executive and fintech entrepreneur Jeff Lambert has been named chairman of the board, a role that had previously been vacant.