W.K. Kellogg Foundation Awards $3.5 Million Grant to Detroit Promise to Help Students Pursue Higher Education

By Tiffany Jones

The Detroit Regional Chamber joined Gov. Rick Snyder and Mayor Mike Duggan to announce a $3.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in support of the Detroit Promise, a last-dollar scholarship program administered by the Chamber Foundation.

The grant will support thousands of Detroit high school graduates with tuition and services as they pursue a college education at participating institutions over the next three years. The grant is part of a $30 million campaign led by the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF), which seeks to shepherd the program through a critical time of transition and development. The grant will support the two-year and four-year scholarship program to meet anticipated growth. It also will support efforts to enhance retention rates so that more students successfully obtain degrees and certificates.

Under the leadership of the governor, MEEF has raised nearly $10 million in seed money to initiate the scholarship program, established in 2013, formerly known as the Detroit Scholarship Fund. The grant will ensure that the scholarship and supportive programs are fully developed and available to Detroit youth as public funding becomes available during the next couple of years under the Detroit Promise Zone, a tax capture program initiated by the mayor.


RELATED: TRILLIUM ACADEMY SENIORS HEAR CAREER LESSONS FROM CHAMBER MILLENNIALS 


“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation investment will assure that more Detroit youth will enter college and successfully earn postsecondary degrees,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Thousands of young Detroit residents will be better prepared for and able to succeed in the 21st century global economy.”

The announcement attracted media from major local outlets including Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, WWJ and WXYZ-TV7.

Tiffany Jones is the director of communications at the Detroit Regional Chamber. 

Read more about The Detroit Promise:

Detroit Promise Expands Tuition-Free Program to Four-Year Universities

 

In Case You Missed It: Download the 2017 State of the Region

Recently, the Detroit Regional Chamber released its third annual State of Region report, underwritten by Citizens Bank. Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah presented the report findings to nearly 300 business and community leaders at The Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit.

The report, which offers a data-driven analysis of the progress made in the 11-counties that comprise the Detroit region, garnered several media articles throughout the day. The local news outlets included: Crain’s Detroit Business, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News and MLive.

During the luncheon, Baruah outlined the accomplishments of key indicators of the region including per capita income, which the Detroit region ranked third nationally in one-year per capita income growth. Median home values also lead peer regions in both five-year and one-year growth rates and the region led its peers in median home value growth between 2014 and 2015 at 10.7 percent.

The report also showed the region added more than 200,000 jobs since 2010, with architecture and engineering as the fastest-growing occupations. The Detroit region is now sixth among its peers in the Kauffman Innovation Index, charting startup activity – up five spots. The region is also No. 1 in patent growth, with patents granted to regional innovators growing by 8 percent.

“As the data in this report suggest, the needle is indeed moving in the right direction,” Baruah said.

The afternoon presentation also addressed key areas in need of improvement. The data showed that while the region matched the national average when it came to educational attainment, it still lags behind most all of the competing regions. Transit was another area for improvement. Regional transit entities handled approximately 42 million public transit rides last year, far short of the goal of 55 million rides.

“While some progress is being made, we’re not making the dramatic progress that we need to make in order to ensure our position in the 21st century,” Baruah told the crowd. “Businesses need to remain focused on affecting public policies that boost high school graduation rates and strengthen a pipeline of students into higher education.”

Following the presentation, Mustafa Mohatarem, chief economist for General Motors Co., gave an overview of national economic trends and the impact they have on the region. Mohatarem then joined a panel to provide reaction to the data and discuss the current state of the economy. Panelists included Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation; John Roberts, budget director of the State of Michigan; and Marina Whitman, professor of business administration and public policy at the University of Michigan. Education and transportation were areas of most concern for all panelists.

In addition to Citizens Bank, other sponsors of the event included: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Comcast Business and Office Depot.

To view or download a copy of the report, click here.

Community Benefits Agreement: 5 Ways ‘Proposal A’ is Awful for Business

In response to two community benefits agreements on the Nov. 8 ballot, this week The Detroit News called on voters to reject Proposal A. This vote comes at a critical time for the city, which is working to keep its positive momentum in the post-bankruptcy era. The Detroit Regional Chamber is unified with Mayor Mike Duggan to ensure the ballot option that best creates opportunity and jobs for Detroiters without providing an obstacle that deters future development and job creation. That is why the Chamber is also supporting a ‘No’ vote on Proposal A.

Why is ‘Proposal A’ awful for Detroit?

Since 2014, Detroit’s residents have gained over 15,000 jobs, and unemployment is at its lowest point since 2001. Proposal A is a burdensome and unmanageable regulation that would halt growth and innovation.

As the first ordinance of its kind in the United States, Proposal A:

  1. Makes Detroit uniquely uncompetitive for new investment, encouraging businesses and developers to choose elsewhere.
  2. Leaves potential job creators at risk to negotiate on their own and shifts the decision to approve private investment in the city from elected officials and planning professionals to unelected and/or ad hoc community groups.
  3. Sets no limits on the number of people involved in negotiations, who they are, or how they are selected.
  4. Sets no time limits on the process, potentially stalling projects and blocking jobs for months or even years.
  5. Allows nearby suburban communities to negotiate community benefits for Detroit projects.

Learn more about Proposal A and why it is awful for Detroit.