DBusiness Daily Update: U-D Jesuit to Receive $10M, Largest Estate Gifts in School History, 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.
an aerial shot of the U of D Jesuit campus
University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy is receiving gifts from the estates of two benefactors totaling $10 million. // Courtesy of U-D Jesuit

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.

U-D Jesuit to Receive $10M, Largest Estate Gifts in School History

University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy announced today it is receiving gifts from the estates of two benefactors totaling a combined $10 million. The contributions represent the largest estate donations in the school’s 145-year history.

The gifts come from the estates of alumnus Dr. Leonard Scherock, class of 1959, and Nicholas Labedz, a friend of the school. The value of the bequests will create the top two endowed student scholarships at U-D Jesuit.

Scherock died in April of 2020 at the age of 78. He credited U-D Jesuit for laying the foundation of his numerous lifetime achievements and wanted to leave a legacy so other young men could experience the same life-changing opportunity. Scherock’s estate gift to the endowment will total $5 million once complete.

Labedz made his donation through his estate in honor of his lifelong friend and business partner, Dr. Richard Mazurek, a 1954 graduate of U-D Jesuit. Labedz was a native of Detroit and a long-time resident of southern California. He passed away in May 2019 at the age of 86 and made it known that he loved the mission of the school and wanted to help students in need. The expected $5 million from his estate will go toward tuition assistance for those students.

“The donations from these two remarkable people strengthen our ongoing renaissance,” says Theodore Munz, S.J., president of U of D Jesuit. “With these gifts our endowment will be stronger, thus allowing us to offer tuition assistance to more deserving young men. The estate gifts, combined with recent donations for our campus expansion and our fiscal stability, indicate that people are eager to invest in Jesuit education in Detroit.”

Japan’s Asahi Kasei Corp. Invests in Ann Arbor UV Company JustLight

Asahi Kasei Corp. in Tokyo has provided another round of investment in JustLight, an Ann Arbor-based company that develops health care products using ultra violet light.

In January, JustLight received funding from Asahi Kasei’s UV Accelerator, a project that strives to attract new partnerships from countries around the globe to help create a safer world.

JustLight is a public benefit corporation that believes its light products will fundamentally improve the health care system. Founder Peter Forhan, a 25-year-old inventor from Ann Arbor, started the company during the pandemic and has since raised more than $2 million to create health and wellness light products. Its signature products — Halo, Sunflower and Violet — will be sold commercially upon FDA approval.

“When we demonstrate how Halo and Sunflower reinvent hygiene and health care, people are skeptical, saying, ‘If this were true, it would have been done before,’” says Foran. “This major follow-up investment by Asahi Kasei shows corporate confidence in our technology and how light can be harnessed to build a healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable planet.”

The additional round of investment will help JustLight accelerate the development, scientific demonstration, and commercialization of its patented light technology and devices.

In addition to the monetary support, Asahi Kasei continues to grow its long-term partnership with JustLight with business and scientific support. As part of this investment, Asahi Kasei contributes further to JustLight’s success with a board observer seat and a future licensing agreement.

“We are excited to support JustLight’s ongoing product development. We see great possibilities with combining this technology with our Crystal IS UVC LEDs, and look forward to contributing to the development of innovative disinfection products for a safer transition to the post-COVID era,” says Takashi Morishita, general manager of Asahi Kasei CVC.

Gale In Farmington Hills Launches Online Adult High School Program 

Gale, the Farmington Hills-based publishing company that is part of Cenage Group, today launched Gale Presents: Excel Adult High School, a new online accredited diploma completion program available to public libraries.

Developed in partnership with Excel Education Systems in Minnesota, the program is designed to help adults obtain their high school diploma entirely online, as well as prepare them for college and the workplace. This program enables libraries to provide their communities with education services that create economic growth through the development of future workforces.

“We partnered with Excel Education Systems because they are a leader in adult learning and have an exceptional focus on supporting adults who wish to re-enter the education system,” says Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale. “As a trusted partner to public libraries, Gale understands the importance of access to education, particularly for underserved and at-risk populations.

“With Gale Presents: Excel Adult High School, we are helping public libraries change lives. Earning a high school diploma leads to better jobs with larger salaries, attending college and most importantly, a feeling of pride that comes with achieving your dreams.”

The Missouri State Library is the first state agency to deliver Gale Presents: Excel Adult High School to its communities. The program will be available to all public libraries in Missouri this month. Each library will determine their participation in the program and purchase their own scholarships to offer to qualified adults. There is no cost to students for the program, but enrollment is limited and requires a library card.

For more information, visit here.

Royal Park Hotel in Rochester to Host Neighborhood House Benefit Sept. 12

Royal Park Hotel in Rochester is hosting a “Vertical Concert with Collision Six” from 7-9 p.m. on Sept.12, a portion of the proceeds from which will benefit Neighborhood House, a nonprofit that helps people with food, financial aid, clothing, and other needs on a path to sustainability.

The concert will allow guests to enjoy drink specials and food while dancing to the cover band Collision Six. It is presented in partnership with Beam Suntory group and sponsored by Knight Technologies, OUR Credit Union, D.C. Byers, and The Detroit Pistons.

Ticket packages are available here.

The Royal Park Hotel’s Vertical Concerts began last summer as a way to enjoy live local music while in a socially distanced, outdoor environment. In partnership with Maker’s Mark, the shows are Michigan’s only Vertical Concert series.

“We couldn’t be more excited to help out a charity that helps so many people in Rochester,” says Sue Keels, general manager of the Royal Park Hotel. “Neighborhood House is always there for residents and we are thrilled to be a small part of their wonderful mission.”

Albion College to Inaugurate New President Sept. 18

Albion College (located west of Jackson) will inaugurate its new president, Mathew Johnson, at 4 p.m. on Sept. 18.

The celebration, among other weekend festivities, will celebrate a new era in the college’s history and highlight investments made in partnership with the Albion community, including the the Body and Soul Center, according to the college.

“It has been an honor to serve Albion’s students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community this past year and guide the college through an extremely difficult period,” says Johnson. “Our community has come together to face many challenges over the first year of my time serving as president. We are looking forward to a weekend of celebrations of the past year’s achievements and our continued investment in our people, infrastructure and community.”

Johnson, Albion’s 17th president, was appointed to the role by the Albion College Board of Trustees after a four-month-long search. He assumed the presidency on July 1, 2020, but did not have a traditional inauguration ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, visit here.

Wana Brands Launches New Fast-acting Cannabis-infused Gummies

Wana Brands, a cannabis company based in Chesaning (northwest of Flint), is launching Wana Fast-Acting Gummies and working with dispensary partners to support local charities that are focused on healing, growth, socializing, and support for others.

According to Wana Brands, the Fast-Acting Gummies harness thermodynamic individual molecular encapsulation, a new quick-onset technology from Azuca. While traditional edibles convert Delta-9-THC in the digestive tract to 11-Hydroxy-THC, Wana Quick gummies work at the molecular level to bypass the liver and enter the bloodstream immediately. This means onset in less than 15 mins for most, and a Delta-9-THC experience that lasts two to four hours.

“Wana Brands is focused on supporting the communities we serve, and we’re really thrilled to partner with Green Culture, Green Buddha, and Zen Leaf to support the nonprofits that are making a difference in their neighborhoods,” says Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands.

Green Culture has selected the Flint Association of the Deaf, Green Buddha is working with the Detroit Dog Rescue, and Zen Leaf is supporting Sons & Daughters United’s Great Lakes Expungement Network Program. Each nonprofit will receive a donation of $1,500 to fund their efforts.