David O. Egner Named Executive Director of New Economy Initiative

Funders are accelerating SE Michigan’s transition to innovation economy
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DETROIT, Mich. June 30, 2009 – David O. Egner has been named executive director of the New Economy Initiative, a visionary effort by 10 national, regional and local philanthropic partners designed to accelerate the transition of southeast Michigan to an innovation economy that expands opportunity for all.

“The New Economy Initiative is an unprecedented effort where 10 foundations have come together around a common vision to accelerate the transition of southeast Michigan’s economy,” said Egner. “The metro Detroit region has unique assets upon which to build a strong innovation economy — our international border crossing, major research universities, manufacturing capacity, a creative class and our historic innovative spirit.  Such assets are the essential building blocks for creating and attracting new business opportunities and will lead to a well-trained, well-employed workforce in a vibrant growing economy over time.”

Egner, 47, has served as interim director of the New Economy Initiative since April 2009.  His appointment as executive director is effective immediately. In addition, Egner will continue to serve as president & CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation, a position he has held since 1997.

“The work of NEI is very closely linked to the traditional interests of the Hudson-Webber Foundation,” said Jennifer Hudson Parke, chair of the Hudson-Webber board of trustees. “The Foundation trustees are pleased that we can make Dave available to lead this important work.”

“The NEI Governing Council appreciates the Hudson-Webber Foundation trustees’ willingness to further contribute to NEI by sharing Dave’s time,” said Steven Hamp, chair of the New Economy Initiative. 

Formed in 2008 and administered by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the New Economy Initiative involves a $100 million commitment by 10 philanthropic partners.  The New Economy Initiative is supporting activities in the strategic areas of talent, innovation and culture that:
 
Prepare, attract and retain skilled workers in southeast Michigan,

Encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in new and existing enterprises in the seven county metropolitan region, and

Change the region’s culture to embrace learning, work and innovation.

“With our combined resources, our foundation partners can act as a catalyst for change for a better and stronger future for southeast Michigan,” says Egner.  “We are committed to the New Economy Initiative for the long run. Our work together has begun.”
To date, the New Economy Initiative has made grants of more than $24 million.  Recent activities include:

Investing $5 million in TechTown, an established high technology business incubator in Detroit’s New Center area that will, together with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, provide resources and support to entrepreneurs;

A $3 million grant to the Urban Entrepreneurship Partnership to help minority automotive suppliers transition to new industries;

$1.25 million to Shorebank Enterprises Detroit to establish the Detroit Business Innovation Development Fund that will focus on supporting business growth and start-ups that create and/or retain jobs for Detroit residents;

Providing $3 million to the College for Creative Studies for the renovation of the historic Argonaut Building in Detroit as a center for creative activity, enterprise and education and an extension of its campus; and

Providing $750,000 for The Life Sciences Innovation Center to help Ann Arbor SPARK turn a former Pfizer laboratory into a business incubator for life sciences firms and entrepreneurs.

The New Economy Initiative includes $100 million in funding commitments over 8 years from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation (Southfield), the Ford Foundation (New York), the Hudson-Webber Foundation (Detroit), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek), the John S. and James L .Knight Foundation (Miami), The Kresge Foundation (Troy), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint), and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit).

The New Economy Initiative is a regional effort focusing its support in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Livingston, Lapeer and Washtenaw counties.

For information on the New Economy Initiative, visit www.neweconomyinitiative.org.

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