Lassiter, Tellem Make a Business Play for a Healthier Community

Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Pistons proved partnerships and investment can empower communities with the opening of the long-awaited Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center in Detroit. In a one-on-one conversation at the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference, Henry Ford Health System President Wright L. Lassiter III and Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem discussed this partnership and how it represents more than a business deal 

When Tellem arrived in Detroit in 2015, questions were swirling about the Pistons’ move to Detroit.  

“The vision was that if we moved downtown, I wanted to create a place not just for our players to train,” Tellem said. “We wanted to create partnerships that had a positive impact on the community…and set ourselves apart for how we contributed to Detroit’s rebirth.” 

Tellem wanted a practice facility that broke the mold of the usual private, walled-off facilities of the league and to share its cutting-edge resources with the surrounding community. This is evident in the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center’s public access to healthy groceries, fitness activities and equipment, as well as entertainment space for gathering the community.  

Lassiter and the Henry Ford Health System team shared that same vision for their business, ensuring their work benefits their community beyond patient care.  

“This is a multi-layer partnership,” Lassiter said. “We don’t just focus on sports. We don’t just focus on winning and health care. We focus on trying to uplift the community as well.” 

These organizations’ investments in the city continue to foster ongoing improvements in the communities they inhabit through projects rooted in the longevity and sustainability of their results.  

A poignant symbol of this partnership and connectivity of sports, medicine, and community is the physical bridge that connects the two organizations’ buildings in Detroit. 

“Going back to the idea of how environment shapes culture…it’s been a real positive for both of us.” 

Thank you to TCF Bank for sponsoring this session. 

After learning about its development, see the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center firsthand at the Chamber’s Spring Membership Reception on Tuesday, April 21 from 6-8 p.m. Learn more, and register today.

Detroit Drives Degrees Kicks off Annual Challenge to Connect More Students with College Financial Aid

By Tiffany Jones

In an effort to put more of the $90 million in federal aid that went unclaimed in Michigan last year into the hands of students, Detroit Drives Degrees kicked off its second annual “Race to the FAFSA Line” Challenge, which promotes the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Challenge offers incentives to students, counselors and high schools to complete the form and runs through Feb. 28, 2018. Detroit Drives Degrees, an initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Forward Detroit strategy, works to strengthen the talent pipeline by increasing the number of adults with postsecondary degrees in the region.

The goal of the Challenge is to increase FAFSA completion among high school seniors in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties to 65 percent. In its inaugural year, the Challenge and a variety of other efforts boosted the completion rate to 59 percent in 2016, up from 55.6 percent.

The National College Access Network states that high school graduates who complete the FAFSA are 63 percent more likely to enroll in college and by 2025, 70 percent of jobs will require a postsecondary credential.

In order to participate, high schools must register at More than 85 schools participated in the 2016 competition. The school with the highest completion rate will win a senior all-night party, courtesy of Emagine Entertainment. Additional prizes from Emagine and the Detroit Pistons will be awarded to participating schools and student teams across the region.

The Challenge is sponsored by Chemical Bank, DTE Energy, Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office, Independent Bank, Kerkstra Precast and University of Michigan-Dearborn. In addition to Emagine Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons, other Challenge partners include: Detroit College Access Network, Frank FAFSA, Macomb Intermediate School District, Michigan College Access Network, Oakland Community College, Oakland Schools, University of Michigan, Wayne County Regional Education Service Agency, and numerous local college access networks.