DBusiness Daily Update: TCF Bank Opens New Banking Center in Detroit, Life Directions Plans Spark of Hope Tribute Gala Sept. 18, 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.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Feb. 25

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.

TCF Bank Opens New Banking Center in Detroit
TCF Bank opened a new banking center inside the Arab American and Chaldean Council Community Center, on Seven Mile Road between Woodward Avenue and John R. on the city’s east side, an area where there is not a bank within a three-mile radius.

The grand opening was celebrated with a virtual ceremony featuring Gary Torgow, executive chairman of TCF Bank; Donnell White, chief diversity officer and director of strategic partnerships for TCF Bank; Steve Steinour, chairman, president and CEO of Huntington Bank; Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan; Detroit City Councilman Roy McCalister; and Haifa Fakhouri, president and CEO of the Arab American and Chaldean Council.

According to TCF Bank, the new center will serve the area’s low- to moderate-income community and underscores the bank’s ongoing commitment to supporting the revitalization of Detroit’s communities.

Life Directions Plans Spark of Hope Tribute Gala Sept. 18
The signature fundraising event of Detroit nonprofit Life Directions, the Spark of Hope Tribute Gala 2021, is set to take place on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 6 p.m. at the GM Renaissance Center Wintergarden.

The event will include a VIP reception, live and silent auctions, dinner, after glow, entertainment by the Swing Shift Orchestra, and networking with corporate, community, and student guests.

Hosted by Lila Lazarus and Honorary Chair Ed Pepers of General Motors Co., Life Directions will present its Lifetime Achievement Award to Kim Adams House of Stellantis and its Guiding Light Award to Paul Glantz of Emagine Entertainment Inc.

All proceeds help to provide the right tools for young people to take a positive direction in life.

For tickets, which start at $250, visit here call 313-420-0310. Sponsorships are available.

Watermark Residential to Develop 304-unit Luxury Multifamily Community in Lyon Township
Watermark Residential, a Detroit-based developer of multifamily properties, has acquired 20 acres of land in Lyon Township to develop The Crossings by Watermark, a Class A apartment community that will include 19 two-story, farmhouse style apartment buildings. Watermark expects to begin welcoming residents in early 2022.

Located at 57540 Lyon Center Drive, the complex will offer a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts with direct-access garages in the majority of the apartment homes.

Watermark says it will offer premium, in-demand finishes and plans to offer gourmet bar-kitchens with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, full-size washers and dryers, and private balconies or patios in each home. A resort-style experience will be designed throughout the property with community amenities such as a resort-style pool, a professionally decorated clubhouse, fire pits, gas grilling stations, a 24-hour fitness center, a dog park, and other outdoor amenity spaces.

“Lyon Township is a growing market with great proximity to strong employment nodes in northwest Detroit and Ann Arbor,” says Brian Southworth, senior vice president acquisitions for Watermark Residential. “Lyon Township has seen inventory growth with higher end single-family homes, leaving a gap for residents that prefer the convenience and amenities offered in a rental community.”

In addition to The Crossings, Watermark also is developing the 320-unit The Grove by Watermark in Grand Rapids.

State Launches $300M Program for Emerging Investment Managers
The state of Michigan has launched new $300 million program that provides smaller investment fund managers an opportunity to grow by managing state pension fund dollars.

The Michigan Small Emerging Manager Program will expand access to capital for emerging small private-market investment managers, focusing on generating returns and increasing the diversity of investments with a broader range of managers.

The program’s preference will be to invest with Michigan-based investment managers, assuming they can achieve market rates of return.

The State of Michigan Retirement Systems (SMRS) is providing a $300 million commitment that will be co-managed by two industry leading fund managers.

Global investment fund managers Barings and GCM Grosvenor will manage the program, providing expertise and assistance to smaller investment fund managers with the ability to closely monitor their portfolios. Both investment firms run similar programs more broadly across the country.

“This is an area of the market that we don’t often access and we view as a strategic investment opportunity,” says Rachael Eubanks, state treasurer. “When managing a large and growing retirement fund like Michigan’s, managers that are running small funds may be unintentionally overlooked. This program changes that. We’re looking for teams eager to make great returns and potentially grow and graduate into a larger manager.”

Over the next few years, Barings and GCM Grosvenor will look for emerging, small private market investment managers that meet the target criteria, conduct thorough diligence, negotiate market terms, provide capital to managers, and manage the portfolio.

Industry data suggests that small managers perform well when compared to established managers. Small managers can be nimbler and more focused, often well-motivated to build their businesses.

“Barings has a 30-year history of investing with emerging managers, and we are excited to partner with SMRS on this important initiative,” says Mina Nazemi, managing director of Barings. “We have strong conviction that investing with small and emerging managers can fuel job growth in local economies and can also generate attractive investment returns. We are honored to be able to provide access to this segment of the market.”

Jon Levin, president of GCM Grosvenor, says, “We are thrilled to be part of Michigan’s emerging manager program. We believe our experienced and deep team can add value to the partnership by leveraging its wide network to identify and invest with top small emerging managers.”

The Michigan Department of Treasury’s Bureau of Investments provides investment management services and serves as a fiduciary to the SMRS trust funds. The SMRS collectively contains the retirement assets for all state-level public pension funds on behalf of retired and active public-school employees, state employees, state police and judges.

Smaller managers interested in the program should visit the Michigan Small Emerging Manager Program website.

Associations Call for State Funding for EMS Services
The Michigan Association of Ambulance Services (MAAS) and the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs (MAFC) have called on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature to properly fund EMS services, which they say hasn’t seen a true funding increase in more than 20 years and has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The funding issues that EMS is facing aren’t new, but COVID-19 exposed the major flaws in the system and now it’s time to right this wrong,” says Jack Fisher, president of MAAS and executive director of Medic 1 Ambulance in Berrien County. “This severe underfunding, combined with additional pandemic-related costs we have incurred, have pushed EMS to the brink. The answer is proper funding and we are asking our state leaders to prioritize EMS in the state budget.”

To properly support EMS in Michigan, MAAS and MAFC are calling for a $10 million increase in state funding to bolster Medicaid reimbursement rates for EMS services. This increase, the associations say, is essential due to:

  • EMS base rates currently average $178 per life support transport, which doesn’t cover the ambulances’ costs.
  • The last rate increase paid by the state occurred in 2000 and EMS payments have been reduced twice since then.

“Michigan’s Life Support agencies are expected to respond to all medical emergencies, but aren’t being adequately reimbursed for their expenses,” says Jeff Roberts, president of MAFC and chief of the Wixom Fire Department. “Our first responders have been on the front lines saving lives and putting their own health at risk during this pandemic. All we ask in return is the chance for proper funding so that we can continue to deliver high quality service to those in need in our communities.”

BorgWarner Donates $1M+ to Kettering University to Establish Scholars Program
BorgWarner, a large automotive technology supplier in Auburn Hills, has donated a total of $1.025 million to Kettering University in Flint to establish scholarships for students in financial need and to attract corporate sponsors.

The BorgWarner Scholars Program, initiated with a $925,000 donation, will aim to distribute annual scholarships to students in financial need with a primary focus on African American and Hispanic students who have an interest in participating in an engineering co-op at BorgWarner.

Kettering University and BorgWarner will work together to identify students in underserved communities through various recruitment efforts. Through the endowment, Kettering University will be able to award scholarships — with nearly $40,000 earmarked annually.

Students will be on-site, full-time at BorgWarner during their paid co-op rotations, which start freshmen year. During these rotations, students will gain more than two years of real-world experience working alongside BorgWarner engineers and mentors, gaining skills to support and supplement their schoolwork and eventual transition into salaried, full-time employment.

Separately, BorgWarner donated $100,000 to support a new Kettering University initiative and help expand it to more corporate sponsors.

“At BorgWarner, we’re dedicated to cultivating a diverse workforce and in order to do so, we need to take action at the student level and help talented, bright, diverse minds overcome the barriers they are facing,” says Felecia Pryor, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at BorgWarner Inc. “We relate well with Kettering University’s commitment to education that embodies technology and innovation and believe this endowment will be truly successful in opening doors and creating opportunities for students in the field who are most in need.”

This Weekend’s Broadway Production of ‘Dreamgirls’ to Benefit Detroit Phoenix Center
Detroit Phoenix Center, a nonprofit organization that works to meet the critical, holistic, and emergent needs of youth who are transitioning out of homelessness and poverty, is getting a little help from its friends on Broadway.

The hit musical “Dreamgirls” will be livestreamed in four performances (3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday) on the Clubhouse app this Saturday and Sunday. The cast of each performance is foregoing being paid and instead is helping to raise funds to support several nonprofit organizations across America, including the DPC.

Courtney Smith, founder and CEO of DPC, will introduce the organization and its mission to audiences during the pre-show, which begins 30 minutes prior to each performance.

“The cast donating their talent and foregoing salaries to help raise awareness of the needs of the youth DPC serves is generous beyond words,” says Smith. “The use of Clubhouse is such an innovative opportunity to amplify the Detroit Phoenix Center story with individuals across the country, too. This performance allows listeners the ability to support our mission of helping and responding to the needs of Detroit families and youth we serve. I don’t believe that has ever been done before on Clubhouse and is so amazing. We are grateful.”

To access the show, follow the On Broadway club on Clubhouse. Users will receive a notification when the room opens. Donations to DPC can be made here or via Cash app: $Detroitphoenixcenter.

Buddy’s Pizza Becomes Founder of National Detroit-Style Pizza Day June 23
Buddy’s Pizza, originator of the original Detroit-style pizza, is celebrating 75 years since creating the innovative pizza style by becoming the founder of National Detroit-Style Pizza Day.

The observance will take place on June 23, also known as Buddy’s Pizza Day in Detroit, which was recognized by former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and city council to credit Buddy’s Pizza for putting Detroit on the map and showcasing the city’s innovation. The new national day allows Detroit-Style pizzerias around the nation to celebrate the history, the style, and the roots of where it all began.

“So many great things have come out of Detroit — it’s a city that fosters creativity and ingenuity,” says Burton Heiss, CEO of Buddy’s Pizza. “We’re proud to officially establish this observance, as the popularity of the pizza style grows nationally, to give credit to the city it was born in 75 years ago.”

Interest in Detroit Style Pizza is at an all-time high and the popularity of the style has grown across the nation. Pizzerias from coast to coast are creating their own version of the pizza style, paying tribute to where it all began in 1946.

Buddy’s Pizza opened in 1946 at the corner of Six Mile Road and Conant in Detroit, previously a speakeasy called Buddy’s Rendezvous. Using square blue steel pans intended to hold nuts and bolts at local automotive plants, Gus Guerra, along with friend and employee Concietta “Connie” Piccinato, created the first Detroit-Style Pizza – a square-shaped pie that was the first of kind in a world of round pizza.

Comerica Bank to Host Women’s Business Symposium May 14
The 2021 Comerica Bank Women’s Business Symposium will take place virtually on Friday, May 14, from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Developed specifically for women, this event has provided business owners, executives, and professionals an opportunity to learn, connect and grow professionally, personally, and financially for more than 15 years.

The keynote speaker this year will be Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code and author of the best-selling book “Brave, Not Perfect.”

To register for the symposium, which cost $30, visit here.

Baker College Cyber Defense Club Wins Michigan Competition
The eight-person team representing the Cyber Defense Club at Baker College in Owosso recently won the statewide 2021 Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, part of the National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition. Next on the team’s schedule is the Midwest Regional CCDC on March 19-20.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s competition took place remotely Feb. 13. In order to consolidate resources, competition organizers chose to combine several state-level competitions into one event, meaning the Baker College team competed against not only three other Michigan-based schools, but also 14 other teams from schools across three other states, including Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.

The event, which takes place over a six- to eight-hour timeframe, sees teams simulating the role of an IT company that must resolve issues with existing services or systems, while also completing time-sensitive tasks requested by supervisors, and keeping their systems secure and functioning during attempted attacks by professional penetration testers (more commonly known as hackers).

“It’s a high-energy, high-stress environment, but it really brings you together as a team, and teaches you an incredible amount in such a short period of time,” says Samantha Canode, captain of the Baker College squad. “It is an entirely unique experience in which I am grateful to participate.”

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