DBusiness Daily Update: State Grants $3.4M to Live Entertainment Venues, Henry Ford Cancer Institute to Increase Minority Participation in Clinical Trials, 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.
graph of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge

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.

State Grants $3.4M to Live Music, Entertainment Venues Across Michigan
More than 100 live music and entertainment venues around Michigan have been awarded a total of more than $3.4 million through the Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced today.

The program, administered in collaboration with the Michigan Independent Venue and Promoter Association, was launched to provide relief for Michigan’s live music and entertainment venues that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the one-year mark of the first confirmed cases of COVID-19, the Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program is the 23rd COVID-19 relief and recovery program that MEDC has launched and executed since March 10, 2020. With today’s announcement, nearly $240 million in relief has been provided by the MEDC to more than 25,000 businesses and venues in the state. These efforts have supported approximately 200,000 jobs retained across all 83 Michigan counties.

The Michigan Stages Survival Grant Program, approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund in January, provided a total of $3.5 million in one-time grants of up to $40,000 to eligible entertainment venues throughout Michigan. The funds were to be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or costs related to reopening a business.

A total of 392 applications were received for this funding with 101 grants across 30 counties being awarded. MIVPA was responsible for accepting, reviewing, and approving applications, with MEDC distributing the grant funds based on the recommendation of the MIVPA. A full list of grant recipients is available here.

Henry Ford Cancer Institute Aims to Increase Minority Participation in Clinical Trials
Henry Ford Cancer Institute is launching the Participatory Action for Access to Clinical Trials project to improve the representation of the African American community and other minorities in cancer clinical trials.

Supported by a $750,000 grant from Genentech, PAACT is a community-based research initiative in collaboration with the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center (Detroit URC) that will address various barriers to trust and participation in clinical trials. Researchers and community partners will focus on clinical trials involving breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers, which are more likely to result in death for African Americans when compared to other racial and ethnic groups. The project is being implemented in partnership with community-based organizations and community leaders who are key stakeholders.

“By working with the community to help us understand attitudes about research, more minorities may be willing to enter clinical trials,” says Dr. Eleanor M. Walker, a PAACT co-investigator and director of Breast Radiation Oncology and medical director of Integrative Services at Henry Ford.

Walker notes that Henry Ford serves a large African American population, including Detroit, which is about 80 percent African American, that could benefit from many of the promising treatments now being investigated. “The advent of promising novel therapies, including immunotherapy and recently discovered genetic therapies, create an urgency to improve clinical trial enrollment of African Americans with higher risk and poorer prognosis of cancer,” she said.

Dr. Evelyn Jiagge, the principal investigator of the PAACT project, serves as the lead investigator of Henry Ford Breast Cancer Research, and has collaborated with nine organizations in Ghana and Tanzania to study the genetic origins of aggressive triple negative breast cancer, which disproportionately affects women of African descent. Jiagge is extending her research findings to communities in Detroit.

Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of breast cancer patients in Africa and 25 percent of African American women are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, compared to 10-15 percent of white women in the U.S.

Precision drugs and interventions being studied at Jiagge’s laboratory are based on genetic markers. “If tumors of African American women are not represented in clinical trials, it impairs our ability to provide patients with the best possible treatment options,” says Jiagge, who studies molecular targets within different populations to determine treatments for personalized and precision medicine.

In addition to conducting focus groups and interviews in diverse communities, researchers will interview health care professionals to identify any biases and clarify misunderstandings about the role of the health care system in non-involvement of Blacks/African Americans in clinical trials.

Based on the findings, PAACT will develop and test pilot interventions in the community and the health system aimed at eliminating barriers to inclusion.

State Announces Apprenticeship Program Expansion Grant
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) today announced the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Foundation/Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium will receive a $1.1 million State Apprenticeship Expansion grant to support the development 427 registered apprenticeships in energy sector job roles.

“The Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium is in its 12th year of collaboration and delivering results for the energy industry in Michigan,” says Sharon Miller, co-chair of MEWDC and director of strategic talent pipelines at Consumers Energy. “The grant award will support our partnerships to deliver high quality work-based learning with 25 energy sector employers, our unions, community colleges, K-12 school districts, and the state’s Michigan Works! agencies to build outstanding career opportunities for Michigan residents that will support the Michigan energy sector for decades.”

The Michigan Chamber Foundation will serve as the lead partner and as a fiduciary for the duration of the grant.

MEWDC is an industry led partnership of more than 50 energy representatives dedicated to building career awareness around current and future workforce demands in Michigan’s energy sector. The consortia will implement activities to accelerate the growth of apprentices with a focus on underrepresented populations — including minorities, females, youth, and veterans — in high-skill, high-wage, in-demand energy sector careers.

To increase the overall understanding of apprenticeship opportunities in the state, LEO recently launched the Michigan Registered Apprenticeship Data Dashboard.

For more information, visit here.

U.S. Properties Group Signs Big Lots for Petoskey Town Center
Petoskey-based U.S. Properties Group has signed Big Lots to a 31,896-square-foot lease at Petoskey Town Center, along Michigan Route 131 in the northwest corner of the state.

Big Lots will be moving into more than 37 percent of a former Kmart location in the 174,870-square-foot shopping center.

This addition adds variety to the current line-up of shops and creates a new destination for both locals and visitors to explore, according to U.S. Properties Group.

“Big Lots is a fine company, and we are proud to be part of their growth plan — so many offerings and outstanding brands from across the globe, all under one roof,” says Gord Wiebe, Director of USPG. “This store will be a great addition to the ever-changing, already stellar variety of choices at Petoskey Town Center and surrounding areas.”

Tim Todaro, senior director of leasing for USPG, says, “The addition of Big Lots displays the momentum and forward progress we are pursuing in 2021. We appreciate the relationship/partnership of this growing company and are thrilled with the addition of this tenant to add a new, fresh shopping opportunity to the Petoskey and expanded area.”

Cranbrook Partners with FCA Foundation to Inspire Future Scientists and Engineers
For the second year in a row, Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills will partner with the FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of Stellantis, to deliver customized STEM programming to underserved students in southeast Michigan for the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic year.

With a grant of $50,000, Cranbrook educators will be able to deliver meaningful outreach experiences to students in their classrooms, either in-person or remotely. STEM learning through real-word applications will provide an enhanced learning model for participants.

“Now, more than ever, as many students are learning in a virtual setting, our goal of reaching and educating students through STEM curriculums is important in this environment so we can help the next generation become more informed,” says Michael D. Stafford, director of Cranbrook Institute of Science. “Because of the FCA Foundation’s support, we are able deliver immersive experiences that are designed to educate and inspire future scientists and engineers for Michigan’s workforce.”

As part of this initiative, the Institute of Science and the FCA Foundation will deliver science enrichment programs to up to 1,100 middle-school students attending:

  • Detroit Enterprise Academy
  • Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Dundee Community Schools
  • Hutchinson Elementary-Middle School at Howe in Detroit
  • Trenton Public Schools
  • Warren Consolidated Schools

Every participating student will receive individual, hands-on science kits, while their teachers will receive customized training, including STEM-focused Design Thinking instruction and strategies to incorporate into their classrooms.

“The foundation is pleased to support Cranbrook Institute of Science in transforming students, families, and communities through STEM and environmental education,” says Christine Estereicher, global chief operating officer for the FCA Foundation. “It’s critical that we continue to develop innovative ways to inspire and develop the next generation of critical thinkers we need for society to function effectively, and this program is a step in that direction.”

For more information, visit here.

Jalen Rose Leadership Academy Receives $1M Donation from Tom Gores
Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores has donated $1 million to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in Detroit to support its continued growth and development.

The funds, provided by the Tom Gores Family Foundation, will be used for facility expansion and infrastructure improvements on the JRLA campus, which is located on the northwest side of Detroit. The school receives zero state funding for its facility and is eager to provide its scholars and staff with the facility they deserve.

“Tom and Holly Gores have been with us since the early days and their support has made our success possible,” says Jalen Rose. “Schools like ours rely on donors to bridge the funding gap to ensure we reach our ambitious goals. The Gores family and the Pistons organization have been our largest supporters. They’ve been vocal about the need to invest in our community, and more importantly, they’ve consistently put action behind their words. I hope their generosity encourages others to support our efforts.”

“Jalen and the team at JRLA have created an environment that is changing lives for students and their families in Detroit,” says Gores. “Investing in education, especially in communities that too often go overlooked, is vital in the fight for social justice and equality. Kids in our community need better opportunities and a more level playing field, and it’s clear that what JRLA is doing works.”

For more information, visit here.

U-M Science Expert to Speak at Lawrence Tech March 30
Gil Omenn, Harold T. Shapiro Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan and director of its Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, will discuss the “grand challenges” facing science, technology, and society today in the annual Walker L. Cisler Lecture at Lawrence Technological University on Tuesday, March 30.

In the lecture that begins online at 7 p.m., Omenn will discuss the concept of “grand challenges” and how it has proven to be a powerful tool to stimulate critical discoveries, create new technologies, and attract public attention to make policy decisions that enhance investment and accelerate innovation.

Omenn will examine growth in the space program, astrophysics, computer science, the life sciences, economic development, and multiple other fields, and will call upon the audience to formulate bold challenge statements for their own fields of science, technology, and innovation.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Registrations are encouraged. To register, visit here.

Interlochen Arts Camp to Conduct 94th Season In Person at Reduced Capacity
Interlochen Center for the Arts, located southwest of Traverse City, announced that Arts Camp 2021 will operate at reduced capacity this summer, with protocols to limit the transmission of COVID-19.

For students seeking a virtual arts education experience, Interlochen also will offer two three-week summer sessions of its Interlochen Online program.

“The past year has been difficult for creative young people in search of inspiration and connection,” says Trey Devey, president of Interlochen Center for the Arts. “The joy, connection, and artistic breakthroughs that are intrinsic to the Interlochen experience have never been more vital. We can’t wait to help emerging artists continue on their path to growth and self-discovery.”

Interlochen’s multidisciplinary arts camp attracts thousands of students, faculty, and distinguished guest artists from around the globe for immersive training in dance, theatre, creative writing, visual arts, music, and film. Programs in all arts disciplines will continue this summer with 50 percent fewer students and safety protocols that enabled Interlochen Arts Academy to host more than 500 students on campus this year with zero instances of community transmission of COVID-19.

“Interlochen’s 94th summer season will look different, but our vibrant multidisciplinary arts community remains unchanged,” says Camille Colatosti, provost of Interlochen Center for the Arts. “We look forward to providing students with exceptional arts education training, a deeply enriching Camp experience, and a safe environment in which to learn and thrive. It’s going to be a great summer.”

As part of Interlochen’s Arts Camp 2021 protocols, campers will be grouped by their program and will experience all aspects of camp within their “cohort,” including classes, recreational activities, and meals. Additionally, all students and employees will be required to wear masks at all times on campus except while seated and eating six feet apart, or in cabins. (Special masks will be provided for wind and brass players.) Interlochen’s year-round faculty and staff were vaccinated for COVID-19 in the “1b” priority vaccination group in Michigan, and many seasonal employees will be vaccinated before camp begins.

Interlochen Arts Camp 2021 will run from June 19 to Aug. 8. Some program dates have changed. Due to reduced capacity, students are encouraged to apply to Arts Camp here as soon as possible. (Early applications will receive priority consideration.) For assistance, contact admission@interlochen.org.

Interlochen Online’s 2021 summer programs will take place June 28-July 16 and July 19-Aug. 6. The registration deadline is June 20 for Session 1 and July 7 for Session 2. (No audition or portfolio is required.) To learn more and register, visit here.

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