DBusiness Daily Update: Motor City Cruise, Detroit Pistons’ G League Affiliate, to Host Local Player Tryouts, 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 rendering of the new arena for the Motor City Cruise, the Detroit Pistons G League affiliate
A rendering of the new arena for the Motor City Cruise, the Detroit Pistons G League affiliate, which will hold a local player tryout this September. // Courtesy of the Detroit Pistons

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.

Motor City Cruise, Detroit Pistons’ G League Affiliate, to Host Local Player Tryouts

The G League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, The Motor City Cruise, will be hosting a local player tryout on Sept. 15, where registered players will compete for an invitation to Cruise training camp beginning in November.

The tryout will take place at the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center at 690 Amsterdam St. in Detroit. Members of the Cruise and Pistons front office and coaching staff will be running operations while evaluating the players.

Rob Murphy, president and general manager of the Cruise will be in attendance. Murphy says he’s excited about having the Piston’s G League affiliate in his hometown and building a roster of players who will be great teammates and community members.

All tryout participants must pre-register and pay the $200 non-refundable tryout fee. In accordance with G League policies, all participants must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The tryout is limited to the first 105 people who complete the required forms and submit the tryout fee.

For more information or to complete the registration forms, visit here.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Other Organizations Collaborate to Address Food Insecurity

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in Detroit, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek have established a collaboration to improve health equity through Michigan’s local food systems.

The collaboration invited proposals from Michigan-based local food policy councils and nonprofit organization seeking funding for evidence-based, sustainable initiatives addressing food and nutrition insecurity.

According to a Feeding America report from 2021, 13 percent of Michigan’s population is food insecure, compared to 10.9 percent of people in the U.S. Additionally, there are 25 counties in Michigan where 15 percent or more of the population is food insecure. The numbers of food insecure children are higher than adults, with 12 counties where 20 percent of children are food insecure.

Initiatives focusing on serving asset limited, income constrained, employed (ALICE) individuals and families, seniors, mothers and children, and Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities in the Lower Peninsula are strongly encouraged to apply.

Upper Peninsula food policy councils and nonprofit organizations are eligible for support through the Superior Health Foundation Request for Proposals supported by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation and the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

Grants of $10,000 to $75,000 for 12 months will be awarded. Key application criteria include:

  • A demonstrated need and solid plan for addressing food-nutrition insecurity and food equity, improving health outcomes in the selected community.
  • Incorporation of evidence-based and sustainable approaches and strategies.
  • Measurable goals and objective as part of a well-developed project plan.

Amesite in Ann Arbor Selected to Train Michigan Works Southeast Team

Amesite Inc., an artificial intelligence software company providing advanced AI powered online learning ecosystems for business and higher education based in Ann Arbor, announced it was selected by Michigan Works Southeast to provide workforce training to its team members.

The Michigan Works Association is a collective with a stated goal of influencing, educating, and inspiring action that keeps Michigan working. The members of the association offer training, education, business development and access to employment opportunities.

“Workforce upskilling and reskilling is needed more urgently now than ever, given the evolution of the work world. We chose Amesite to support our own workforce in their professional development journey because we believe in the power of their platform to support the engagement, and ultimately the success of our teams,” says Shamar Herron, executive director for Michigan Works! Southeast.

“In fact, our careful review of their offerings revealed that their platform is more comprehensive and easier to use and implement than other ed-tech solutions we considered.  We are excited for this partnership and believe wholeheartedly that a SaaS company with industry-leading technology such as Amesite is the best fit that ties into our organization’s value of lifelong learning, leading to the development of a sustainable workforce.”

Strata Oncology in Ann Arbor Demonstrates Ability to Expand Proportion of Testable Tumor Tissue Samples

Strata Oncology Inc. in Ann Arbor today announced the publication of a new peer-reviewed study in which more than double the number of tumor tissue samples met minimum tumor surface area (TSA) for StrataNGS, the company’s PCR-based comprehensive genomic profiling test (CGP) that requires the lowest tumor tissue requirements of any CGP test.

The study, published in JCO Precision Oncology, presents an analysis of 32,048 consecutive tumor tissue samples. The study demonstrates the test, coupled with an inclusive exception testing policy, can increase patient access to CGP and expands the impact of biomarker-guided targeted therapies and immunotherapies.

“Tissue availability is one of the biggest obstacles to widespread use of CGP in clinical practice.  For example, approximately 30% of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer have insufficient tissue for biomarker analysis.” says Scott Tomlins, M.D., co-founder and chief medical officer at Strata Oncology.

“Despite advances in liquid biopsy testing, tissue remains the gold standard for tumor profiling, providing more comprehensive and reliable molecular insights. Through this study, we were able to show that StrataNGS, with its industry-leading low tumor tissue requirements, is uniquely positioned to help usher in a future where every patient with advanced cancer is molecularly profiled and receives their best possible treatment outcome.”

Strata Oncology is a precision oncology company dedicated to delivering the best possible treatment for each patient with cancer. The company combines molecular profiling, real-world data, and a large-scale clinical trial platform to identify and deliver optimal treatments for patients with cancer. For more information visit strataoncology.com.

Detroit’s Bankjoy Signs Washington D.C. Credit Union to Banking Platform

Detroit-based fintech company Bankjoy announced it has signed Washington D.C.-based Lafayette Federal Credit Union for its full digital banking suite to improve the overall experience for its members and the credit union itself.

Engineered by credit union executives, Bankjoy delivers modern banking technology, including mobile, online, e-statements, online account opening, online loan origination, and conversational AI, with the ability to scale to any size bank or credit union.

“Adoption of digital tools – both by consumers and small businesses – continues to rise,” says Michael Duncan, CEO of Bankjoy CEO. “In fact, a recent study found that 85 percent of Americans plan to keep using digital tools to conduct their finances online or through mobile devices, beyond the past 18 months.

“The increased interest in digital banking is not surprising, but financial institutions must not only keep pace with demand, but also ensure their offerings are modern and seamless. Not all digital banking platforms are the same.”

In addition to its full consumer digital banking solutions, the credit union will also pilot Bankjoy’s business banking platform, further equipping the institution with tools to help drive loyalty among business members. The platform’s Invoicing, payroll, company formation, wire transfers, and entitlements features helps businesses more effectively manage their finances.

Lafayette Federal Credit Union will migrate to the Corelation’s Keystone platform, which is closely integrated with Bankjoy and developed specifically for credit unions to increase performance.

“Since 1935, we have been a trusted provider of convenient, reliable banking solutions, paired with top-notch member service,” says Jeff Ference, senior vice president of operations at Lafayette. “By partnering with Bankjoy, we are furthering that commitment. Their entire digital banking suite will offer our members a modern, seamless experience while providing them with the tools and technology they want and need.”

Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation to Host 25th Charity Golf Tournament

The Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation in Troy, a national organization that aims to empower women in the automotive industry, will host its 25th annual charity golf tournament Friday, August 27 at the Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Township.

For more than 25 years, AWAF has been working with leading women in automotive OEMs, as well as tier one and two suppliers, to raise awareness for its mentoring programs, talent enhancement, and community initiatives. It also supports online workshops, networking events, sponsorships, and special collaborations to help create and sustain a diverse industry.

“Functioning from the birthplace of the automobile, Michigan, we are deeply rooted and committed to leading the next phase in mobility and building a brilliant network of powerful women charging ahead and leading in this space,” says Kelly Lindsay Treppa, president of AWAF.

“This year, to celebrate our 25th-anniversary milestone is very special as Silver symbolizes brilliance, radiance, and the value of long-lasting relationships – which perfectly reflects the stellar women of our organization and the influence that females are achieving in the global auto marketplace. We are excited for the road ahead.”

As of May 2021, that AWAF has awarded $489,500 in scholarships to 196 women pursuing careers in the automotive industry. Tickets and sponsorship packages are now available to members and non-members. For more information, visit here.

Michigan Community Resources Honors Six Women Leaders of Color

Detroit-based nonprofit Michigan Community Resources has recognized six women leaders of color serving their communities during the pandemic during its seventh ‘The Power of One Dedicated Woman Awards.’

This year’s six honorees serve different Detroit neighborhoods and work to meet diverse community needs, including neighborhood beautification projects to raising awareness for human trafficking.

“Our ‘Power of One’ awards lift up women who freely give their time to improve their communities and often fund their work out of their own pockets,” says Amber Umscheid, program director at MCR. “Each honoree has a unique story to tell about how she got into the work of serving her community and what issues are most important to her and her neighbors.”

This year’s honorees include Myaia Holmes, Metro Detroit Mutual Aid; Karen Washington, Emmanuel Community House; Kathleen Hurd, Damsel Take Your Crown; Kelly “Earth” Roper, High Frequency Training Systems; Rhonda Theus, Canfield Consortium; and RuShann Long, Midwest Civic Council of Block Clubs.

Holmes founded Metro Detroit Mutual Aid in 2016 as a capacity building organization for nonprofits who do mutual aid work, which is the voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources for mutual benefit.

Technology sponsor JP Morgan Chase based in New York provided $2,500 to allow for each honoree to receive a new laptop to use as a tool for community outreach and equip their work. Other sponsors provided funding for honorees and the community organizations they support to receive tailored capacity building services from MCR including organizational assessments and consulting on special projects.

SlurryMonster in Livonia Awarded its Own Segment Within MasterSpec

SlurryMonster, a slurry management and waste disposal company in Livonia, announced it has created and received sole specification within the MasterSpec for the management, compliance, and waste disposal relating to slurry.

MasterSpec is for members of the American Institute of Architects and is a specification resource with more than 900 master guide specifications covering more than 7,000 products.

Slurry is defined as a ‘watery mixture of insoluble matter such as mud, lime, or plaster of paris.’ SlurryMonster focuses on concrete slurry. This is the first time a slurry management company has been awarded its own section.

“Becoming a part of MasterSpec is becoming a part of history,” says Ryan Klacking, CEO of SlurryMonster. “With our own category, we are paving the way for slurry waste and disposal. Having this be recognized is one of my proudest moments.”