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.
Starry Night Added to DIA’s Upcoming Van Gogh in America Exhibition
The Detroit Institute of Arts announced that Starry Night (1888) — on loan from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris — is the newest addition to its Van Gogh in America exhibition, which will run from Oct. 2 to Jan. 22, 2023 at the DIA.
Featuring more than 70 works by the famed artist, the exhibition is the first ever devoted to Van Gogh’s introduction and early reception in America. Tickets will go on sale this summer.
Starry Night — also known as Starry Night Over the Rhône — is one of two iconic paintings including the nighttime sky that Van Gogh created while living in the French city of Arles from 1888 to 1889. The work captures a clear, star-filled night sky and the reflections of gas lighting over an illuminated Rhône River in Arles with a couple strolling along its banks in the foreground.
Starry Night is important to the introduction of Van Gogh’s work to the United States for its pivotal role in the iconic film “Lust for Life” (1956; directed by Vincente Minnelli). The masterpiece will be on view in the U.S. for the first time since 2011, and is one of three Van Gogh works on loan from the Musée d’Orsay for the DIA exhibition.
Van Gogh in America will be the largest Van Gogh exhibition in America in a generation, featuring paintings, drawings, and prints by Van Gogh from museums and private collections worldwide. Visitors will also “journey” through the defining moments, people, and experiences that catapulted Van Gogh’s work to widespread acclaim in the U.S.
The exhibition also will recognize the 100th anniversary of the DIA becoming the first U.S. museum to acquire a Van Gogh painting — his Self-Portrait (1887).
A full-length, illustrated catalogue with essays by the exhibition curator, Jill Shaw, and Van Gogh scholars will accompany the exhibition. An audio tour also will be available.
Blackford Capital Completes Sale of Grand Equipment Co. in West Michigan
Blackford Capital, a Grand Rapids-based lower middle market private equity firm, today announced the successful exit from its investment in Grand Equipment Co. in Hudsonville (southwest of Grand Rapids) through a sale to Cognitive Capital Partners, a Chicago-based investment firm. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Grand Equipment is a multi-line equipment dealer offering the sale and rental of a wide range of heavy construction equipment, both new and used, and provides parts and service to a diverse, resilient customer base, primarily in greater Grand Rapids and the broader western Michigan market.
Blackford Capital acquired GEC, led by founder and CEO Jeff Grasman, through its Michigan Prosperity Fund in 2015. During its time as a Blackford Capital portfolio company, Grand Equipment made investments in its management team, improved its equipment mix and its rental fleet, strengthened relationships with customers and OEMs, and used the resulting growth to improve the balance sheet.
“Grand Equipment is excited to continue our growth trajectory in west Michigan with this transition from Blackford Capital to Cognitive Capital Partners,” says Jeff Grasman, CEO of Grand Equipment. “We successfully partnered with the Blackford team to grow the organization and look forward to a future of additional regional growth, deepened market share and an increased footprint.”
Tribal Council Applauds Whitmer’s Rejection of Proposed Little River Casino
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday declined to approve the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians desire to build a casino in Fruitport Township, south of Muskegon.
According to the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the governor’s approval is necessary to take the next step toward building a casino on that land, which is not located on the Little River Band’s federally recognized land.
“We appreciate Gov. Whitmer’s thoughtful deliberation on this issue,” says Jamie Stuck, chairman of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi tribal government. “While we believed the application did not comply with the negotiated Indian Gaming compacts, the governor did a very extensive and comprehensive review of the issue. She realizes that the request to approve this off-reservation casino would have violated the gaming compacts signed by all of the tribes in Michigan. Her decision maintains the cooperation and balance among the Michigan tribes.”
The review process of the Little River casino request has been under consideration for more than a year and a half. There have been environmental impact studies as well as thorough legal reviews. Whitmer’s review followed the process set out in federal law and the rules of the U.S. Department of Interior.
A complicating factor is the request for federal recognition of the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians, a tribe that counts the Fruitport Township land as part of their aboriginal territory. If the governor had given approval, the Little River Band could have built a casino on what will become Grand River Territory, subjecting the decision to legislative and legal challenges.
“The Indian Gaming Compacts signed by the tribes over the years have benefited all tribes,” Stuck says. “More importantly, it has allowed us to provide services, education, and employment for our members. A decision to approve would have upset the delicate balance that exists among the tribes. This is the right decision from a legal perspective and also sends a message to all tribes that they must comply with the negotiated compacts as well as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”
Beaumont-Spectrum System Invests in Phoenix Ambulatory Surgery Centers
BHSH, the integrated health system formed by combining Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health, has invested in Atlas Healthcare Partners, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based entity that specializes in developing and managing ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
“BHSH System is excited to partner with Atlas,” says Matt Cox, chief financial officer, BHSH System. “We look forward to working with Atlas as we build a system of care and coverage that is accessible, affordable, equitable, and exceptional.”
Atlas focuses on integrating with health systems across the country, providing a deep understanding of their markets, growth plans, service lines, physician alignment, and network strategies.
“BHSH System will be a great investment partner for Atlas as both organizations are committed to quality and efficiency,” says Aric Burke, CEO of Atlas CEO. “We also are eager to begin working with BHSH System and other health systems to develop and operate ASC networks in their markets.”
BHSH System and Atlas are partnering in a joint venture to develop and operate an orthopedic ASC at the BHSH Spectrum Health Integrated Care Campus at East Beltline in Grand Rapids. Groundbreaking on the project will take place later this year.
Heirloom Hospitality Partners with NY Chef for 2-day Pop-up Celebrating Israeli Cuisine
Heirloom Hospitality Group, the Detroit-based restaurant group behind Townhouse Birmingham, Townhouse Detroit, Prime & Proper, and the recently opened Cash Only Supper Club, is partnering with Einat Admony, a New York-based celebrity chef and author known for popularizing Israeli cuisine in the U.S.
The result of the partnership will be a two-day pop-up dubbed “Balaboosta Takeover” designed to transport guests on a journey through the evolution of Israeli cuisine. It will take place at Cash Only Supper Club on the evenings of June 21-22.
A prix fixe menu, curated by Admony, will offer four-plus courses, including:
Yalla Salatim, featuring salatim and Israeli style pita; curated to represent flavors of past generations.
Present Day Tel Aviv, featuring a trio of ceviche, bourekas and caviar, and Yemenite soup dumplings; depicting the melting pot of cultures that make up today’s Israeli population.
Future Flavors of Yafo, featuring an entrée choice between branzino, beef cheek, stuffed onion, or shipudiya inspired lamb chops; displaying the cooking styles and flavors that celebrate the future.
The Land of Milk & Honey, featuring a baklava sundae dessert; highlighting local sourcing and techniques found in both Adomony’s and Heirloom’s kitchens.
“It’s been a dream for Heirloom Hospitality to present this type of cuisine, which is extremely personal to me, here in Michigan” says Jeremy Sasson, founder of Heirloom Hospitality Group. “Working with my dear friend, Chef Einat, who has single-handedly popularized Israeli cuisine in the United States, along with her talented team, is an honor for us all. With Einat’s Israeli and Sephardic roots, paired with my own Israeli heritage, we’re excited to share our perspective through this unique lens.”
Admony, an Israeli native who’s made a name as the ultimate balaboosta (“perfect housewife” in Yiddish), is the James Beard nominated chef and owner of Balaboosta, the fine-dining Middle Eastern and Israeli restaurant, as well as the founder of the fast casual falafel chain, Taïm.
“I am super curious to experience the market in Detroit while popping up with Heirloom Hospitality,” says Admony. “The opportunity to bring my food to a new city with top level industry professionals is an honor. There is a lot of potential for continued collaboration, and I am so excited to see what’s next.”
All pop-up guests will receive exclusive gift bags featuring signature items from the Cash Only Supper Club and Balaboosta pantries. Reservations are required and seating begins at 5 p.m. both nights. Reservations may be made through the Cash Only Supper Club via Resy.
8 Mile Vodka Win’s Double Gold Medal at San Francisco Competition
Detroit-based spirit 8 Mile Vodka has received two of the highest honors at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It won the Double Gold Medal Award for taste and is nominated for Best In Class as a top-five finalist for the highest award for vodkas in the world.
“It is an honor to receive this award and the potential for another,” says Michael Tomey, co-owner of 8 Mile Vodka. “We entered this competition knowing our product was great, but seeing the results in this caliber of competition, we are just thrilled. Sometimes you enter a competition hoping to get some recognition and have judges confirm what you already know, but this feels bigger than that. Double Gold and finalist for Best in Class? This is exciting.”
8 Mile Vodka is distilled in single 90-liter batches to allow for optimal quality control and care. It is then carbon filtered, aerated, and bottled at the perfect time to produce a subtle taste with smooth finish and a character all its own. This is a premium vodka that can be chilled and enjoyed straight or mixed to create an exceptional cocktail, according to the company.
The results of the Best In Class award will be announced at the SFWSC Gala on June 24.
For more information about 8 Mile Vodka, visit 8MileVodka.com.
Detroit Residents First Fund Announces Second Cohort; McGregor Fund Joins Partnership
The Ford Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, and Skillman Foundation have announced the seven nonprofit organizations selected to take part in the second round of funding through the Detroit Residents First Fund (DRFF) launched last summer. In addition, the McGregor Fund has joined this historic partnership.
The $6.1 million fund was established using a framework of participatory grantmaking where nonprofit and community leaders partner with foundation representatives to determine how grant funds are dispersed. The fund prioritizes support for Detroit-based grassroots nonprofit organizations whose leaders are Black, indigenous, or other persons of color working to transform neighborhoods in Detroit with the least access to power and social capital.
The DRFF was the first of its kind in Detroit and is one of few partnerships to exist in the state of Michigan where foundations, nonprofits, and community leaders have created a formal structure and process for sharing decision-making power.
The 2022 cohort will receive a total of $1,110,000 in funding distributed among the seven organizations over three years, as well as access to a wealth of other resources. The group of selected nonprofits includes:
Freedom Dreams — Works to create indoor and outdoor spaces for gathering, oral history, and relaxation on Detroit’s eastside. Their DRFF grant will support creation of these spaces, which will provide trade skills and jobs for Detroiters, and the outdoor spaces will serve as community gardens and gathering spaces for recreational and other neighborhood activities.
Association for the Advancement of Deaf/Hard of Hearing — Provides youth scholarships and life skills training to Detroit’s deaf and hard of hearing community. AADHH plans to use the funds to establish transitional housing for deaf youth facing homelessness and increase accessibility of their services and restore social power and autonomy to deaf/hard of hearing Detroiters.
What About Us Inc. — Its Live Long and Love Community Project will uplift neighborhood beautification efforts and combat negative social determinants of health impacting the quality of life and mortality rates of Black Detroiters. Grant funds will be used to repair the organization’s existing community hub which offers family-friendly activities and health services as well as provide workshops for residents to learn about gardening and healthy lifestyles.
S&D PJ Housing — Provides CompTIA entry-level and continuing education certification for IT professionals and voter education for returning citizens from the justice system as part of a larger vision of bringing healing and restoring peace within the community, removing barriers to opportunity, and creating upward mobility and empowerment.
ParkGrove Block Club — ParkGrove Health and Wellness Park will provide residents in the 48205 zip code with an improved quality of life by providing a beautiful, safely designed space for convening and exercising. Plans for the park once build out is complete include annual summer block party, walking club for seniors, and summer camp for youth.
East Davison Village Community Group — East Davison Village Community Group is seeking to realize their historically Black neighborhood’s vision of building a community hub and commons to serve as a central place for meeting, learning, connecting to resources and preserving bonds across generations and cultures.
Workin’ Roots — A Nolan neighborhood initiative to bring healthy, sustainable food options to residents lacking access to grocery stores. Youth farm apprentices will receive paid training to cultivate a community garden to address the issues caused by the food desert impacting families in their community.
Visit DRFFund.org for more information.
Buddy’s Pizza Partners with Salvation Army for National Detroit-Style Pizza Day June 23
Buddy’s Pizza is partnering with The Salvation Army for National Detroit-Style Pizza Day, for which Buddy’s will donate $1 from every pizza sold at all 21 locations on June 23 to The Salvation Army.
“Through the support of Buddy’s Pizza and the community, The Salvation Army can continue to fight hunger and homelessness across Michigan,” says Lt. Col. John Turner, divisional commander and regional CEO for The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan Division. “The Salvation Army is grateful for the generosity of Buddy’s Pizza and all our supporters who make it possible to feed and shelter our community’s most vulnerable.”
To expand the impact beyond Michigan, Buddy’s is partnering with pizzerias across the country to give back to their communities. Each participating Detroit-style pizzeria will donate a portion of their sales on June 23 to a local organization dedicated to fighting hunger and/or homelessness.
Participating restaurants from across the country include:
- Detroit-Style Pizza Co. in Detroit will donate 10percent of each order to Gleaners.
- DTown Pizzeria in Los Angeles will donate 10 percent of sales to No Kid Hungry.
- Fat Chris’s Pizza and Such in Chicago will donate 15 percent of sales to Nourishing Hope.
- Lions, Tigers and Squares in New York will donate $1 per pizza sold to New York City Rescue Mission.
- Paulie Gee’s Logan Square in Chicago will donate $1 per Detroit-style pizza sold to No Kid Hungry with Greater Chicago Food Depository.
- Rice N’ Pie in Atlanta will donate $1 per pizza sold to a local charity.
- SoDough Square in Orlando, Fla. will donate $1 per pizza to Nathaniel’s Hope.
- Square Pie Guys in San Francisco will donate 2 percent of sales from all stores to San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.
- Square Pizza Co. in San Diego will donate $1 per pizza sold to San Diego Food Bank.
- Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco will donate all proceeds from each Detroit-Style pizza sold to San Francisco Marin Food Bank.
Comerica Bank and Kalamazoo Growlers Baseball Team Partner to Host Food Drive
Comerica Bank and the Kalamazoo Growlers summer collegiate baseball team are partnering to host a summer-long food drive benefitting South Michigan Food Bank from now through Aug. 11.
As a donation incentive, individuals who drop-off nonperishable food items at any Comerica banking center located in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek will earn ticket vouchers redeemable for Kalamazoo Growlers baseball game tickets.
Those who donate will receive one ticket voucher per five cans of nonperishable food. Additionally, donations of 20 items or more will receive a Growlers themed prize.
“The South Michigan Food Bank provides much help and hope to our neighbors in need, and they deliver critical resources that uplift our community by reaching vulnerable residents,” says Debra Van Hevele, senior vice president and regional retail director for Comerica Bank. “Our goal in partnering with the Kalamazoo Growlers focuses on offering a collaborative food drive that brings the community together with a common purpose to reduce food insecurity. The Growlers have become a favorite among many fans and families in this area, and we share in the passion to support and improve the communities we serve.”
For more information about the Comerica Bank Kalamazoo Growlers Food Drive or other charitable community initiatives, visit comerica.com. To donate funds or learn more about South Michigan Food Bank, visit here.
Junior League Announces Dates for Designers’ Show House Sneak-A-Peek Weekend
The Junior League of Detroit announced that the 2022 Designers’ Show House Sneak-A-Peek Weekend will be July 15-17, at The House on the Hill, 205 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Farms.
The event offers a sneak peek at the home’s pre-renovated state before the grand reveal in which the setting is transformed by a curated slate of designers. The event hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, July 15; from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 16; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 17.
Ticket information is available at JLDetroit.org.
“Sneak-A-Peek is a hugely anticipated event for the JLD Designers’ Show House,” says Kimberly Burke, president of JLD. “From pre-renovation to the finale is a stark and amazing contrast, and it offers a look at the incredible talent our designers bring to an already impressive home such as The House on the Hill.”
Michigan Justice Fund Annual Report Reveals $6M+ in Statewide Impact
The Michigan Justice Fund, an initiative of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, released its 2021 annual report and video highlighting its efforts to advance justice reform. Since its inception in 2020, the Michigan Justice Fund has raised $18.3 million and invested more than $6 million in organizations throughout the state.
The Michigan Justice Fund aims to support the economic mobility and success of people with criminal records, reduce reliance on confinement and adjudication, and build a movement for communities to shape justice policies and funding. The 2021 annual report outlines what long-term success looks like for each of these goals and shines a spotlight on the progress that already has been made. The accompanying video gives voice to the people who work at the Michigan Justice Fund’s partner organizations including Nation Outside, Neighborhood Defender Service Detroit, LINC UP, Michigan Prison Doula Initiative, and M.A.D.E Institute.
“The Michigan Justice Fund is an exciting opportunity to address issues of mass incarceration across the state of Michigan,” says Ashley Carter, director of the Michigan Justice Fund. “The 2021 annual report showcases the important work being done by our partners across the criminal legal landscape and sets the tone for the innovative and transformational work we hope to continue supporting.”
The Michigan Justice Fund was established to advance equitable justice policy and support transformational change taking place in communities throughout the state. The collaborative has grown to include 14 national and local foundations. Visit cfsem.org/justice to learn more.