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Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF) announces it has raised $59 million to fund educational innovation, scholarships in Michigan

Foundation has reached almost 60 percent of its goal

MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN – May 30, 2013 –The Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF) announced today at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference it has raised $59 million toward its ultimate goal of $100 million.

“This fund and the contributions of so many are instrumental and truly showcase the commitment and collaboration underway to ensure our students are provided opportunities for learning and success,” said Gov. Rick Snyder.

Funds raised by the foundation will be used to develop innovations in education across Michigan that can be implemented expediently, tested and then spread to other schools when they prove successful, as well as a special scholarship program.

“Michigan’s future is absolutely dependent on making our education system a success for our students, our teachers, our parents and our economy,” said Steve Hamp, former President of The Henry Ford and former Vice President and Chief of Staff of Ford Motor Company, current chairman of the board, New Economy Initiative.  “We are extremely fortunate that these companies, foundations and individuals are stepping forward to take this leadership role investing in our children’s future.  Nothing we are doing is more important than assuring a quality education for our children.”

Hamp said the foundation will support three education efforts, beginning in Detroit and then spreading to other areas of Michigan in future years.  Those three efforts are:

1.  The Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA), which is in its first year of operation.  The EAA is operating 15 schools that were the lowest performing schools in Detroit and is showing promising results in student performance midway through its first year. To see a video related to this announcement, click here.

2.  The Detroit Scholarship Fund, a scholarship program that will guarantee any Detroit student graduating from a Detroit school in 2013 a two-year scholarship to one of five community colleges in southeast Michigan.

3.  Excellent Schools Detroit, a coalition of education, government, community and philanthropic leaders working to ensure that every Detroit child is enrolled in an excellent school by 2020.

The MEEF is being overseen by a three-member board made up of Hamp, Skillman Foundation President and CEO Carol Goss and Richard Baird, transformation manager to Gov. Rick Snyder.

Hamp said below is a list of some of the companies, foundations and individuals who have contributed to the MEEF:

  • Art Van Furniture
  • Bank of America
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
  • Douglas & Maria DeVos Foundation
  • DTE Energy Foundation
  • Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
  • Eugene Applebaum
  • Ford Motor Company Fund
  • General Motors Foundation
  • W. K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Kresge Foundation
  • Lear Corporation
  • McGregor Fund
  • Meijer, Inc.
  • Mike and Sue Jandernoa
  • Quicken Loans
  • Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation
  • Roger Penske
  • Skillman Foundatioon
  • Steve & Cindy Van Andel Foundation

Honorary chairs of the MEEF campaign are Gov. Snyder; Art Van Elslander, founder of Art Van Furniture; and Detroit Public Schools and Michigan State alumnus Eli Broad, representing the Broad Foundation.

Campaign co-chairs are:

  • Gerry Anderson, Chairman and CEO, DTE Energy
  • Carol Goss, President and CEO, the Skillman Foundation
  • Ric DeVore, Regional President of Detroit and Southeast Michigan, PNC Bank
  • Doug DeVos, President, Amway
  • Mike Fezzey, South Eastern Michigan Region President, Huntington Bank
  • John Fikany, Vice President, Microsoft Corporation
  • Steve Hamp, Chairman, Michigan Education Excellence Foundation
  • Joe Hinrichs, President, the Americas, Ford Motor Company
  • Mark Murray, President, Meijer, Inc.
  • Jim Nicholson, President and CEO, PVS Chemicals, Inc.
  • Mark Reuss, President, North America, General Motors Company
  • Evan Weiner, President and CEO, Edw. C. Levy Co.

The EAA, which began operating nine elementary/middle schools and six high schools in Detroit last September, has replaced the old “one size fits all” model of education with a new student-centered approach that works with each student individually.  Each student is tested at the beginning of the school year and then given a curriculum that fits his or her own individual needs.  Students advance when they display mastery of a subject, not just because they have sat in a seat for nine months.  They are engaged in their studies and they are learning.

The Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA) announced May 28, 2013 that a new round of tests measuring the individual growth of EAA students in reading and math shows that their learning has accelerated under the new student-centered approach implemented in EAA schools.

The tests, administered in late April and early May in the 12 direct-run EAA schools, show that 56 percent of students already have achieved one or more years’ growth in reading and 44 percent have achieved two or more years’ growth.  In math, 65 percent of students achieved one full year’s growth, and 48 percent achieved two full years’ growth.  This is an increase from the growth experienced by students in the earlier tests administered in late January and early February when 27 percent of students had achieved one or more years’ growth in reading and 22 percent in mathematics.

The EAA concentrates its funding at the school level, with more than 90 percent of funds going to individual schools and not the central office.  Principals are empowered to assemble their own staff and then held accountable for their results.

Detroit Scholarship Fund, administered by the Detroit Regional Chamber, guarantees any Detroit student graduating from a school in Detroit this spring full tuition to any of five community colleges in the region.  Students must apply for financial aid through other sources, such as Pell grants, with the Program promising to make up any difference between the financial aid a student can earn and the cost of tuition at the community college.

Outreach to Detroit schools this spring has already produced 2,000 applicants from high school seniors wishing to continue their education next fall.  Participating schools are Henry Ford Community College, Macomb County Community College, Oakland County Community College, Schoolcraft Community College and Wayne County Community College District.

Excellent Schools Detroit was formed in 2010 by partners from philanthropic, civic, business, nonprofit and education organizations to cultivate conditions to ensure that every Detroit child is in an excellent school by 2020.  Its goal is to assure that 90 percent of Detroit’s students graduate from high school, that 90 percent of them go on to college or high-quality career training and that 90 percent be prepared to succeed at college or career training without requiring remedial education.