Major gifts in the news

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Detroit leader pledges $250,000 to support WSU social work scholarships

Entrepreneur, philanthropist and Detroit leader William F. Pickard has pledged $250,000 to support five scholarships in the Wayne State University School of Social Work. The scholarships will be available to undergraduate and graduate social-work students who attend full or part time. Students also must be active members of the Association of Black Social Workers Detroit chapter or the Wayne State chapter. Pickard is a former faculty member in the WSU School of Social Work, and helped shape the school in several ways. In 2017, he gave $125,000 to support renovations in the school’s new building on Woodward Avenue. He also used that opportunity to name four rooms in honor of important people in his life, including longtime friend Paul Hubbard. Hubbard, who founded the nonprofit Black Family Development in 1978,  worked with Pickard to improve the lives of Black families in Detroit. An alumnus and dedicated supporter of the School of Social Work, Hubbard has served on the school’s Board of Visitors for several years. As a graduate student, Hubbard served as the president of the Association of Black Students and founded the Wayne State chapter of the Association of Black Social Workers, the first student chapter in the country. Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson noted both men are important leaders in Detroit and at Wayne State. “Dr. Pickard and Mr. Hubbard have devoted themselves to strengthening the Black community in Detroit and ensuring that Black students have equal access to the education and opportunities that can create generational change,” Wilson said. “We are grateful to have them as part of our university community.” Pickard hopes his giving will inspire a new generation of Black men to pursue social work, a field in which they’re underrepresented. “It’s important for social workers to reflect the community members they serve,” said School of Social Work Dean Sheryl Kubiak. “At the Wayne State University School of Social Work, we’re teaching future community leaders how to make a difference. They can have no finer examples than Dr. William Pickard and Mr. Paul Hubbard.”
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Detroit Philanthropist William Pickard creates five scholarships in Wayne State’s School of Social Work

Successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and Detroit leader William F. Pickard is pledging $250,000 to support scholarships in the Wayne State University School of Social Work, according to the school website. An initial gift of $150,000 will create five scholarships, and a future gift of $100,000 will endow the scholarships and make them permanent. The scholarships will be available to undergraduate and graduate social work students who attend full or part time at the university. Each scholarship is named in honor of someone who has made a significant impact on Pickard’s development as a leader, including Paul L. Hubbard who has a long friendship with Pickard. Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson noted both men are important leaders in Detroit and at Wayne State. “Dr. Pickard and Mr. Hubbard have devoted themselves to strengthening the Black community in Detroit and ensuring that Black students have equal access to the education and opportunities that can create generational change,” he said. “We are grateful to have them as part of our university community.” Pickard hopes his giving will inspire a new generation of Black men to pursue social work, a field in which they’re underrepresented. “It’s important for social workers to reflect the community members they serve,” said School of Social Work Dean Sheryl Kubiak in the release. “At the Wayne State University School of Social Work, we’re teaching future community leaders how to make a difference. They can have no finer examples than Dr. William Pickard and Mr. Paul Hubbard.”
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WSU's Susan Burns discusses giving styles by generation

A significant transfer of wealth is under way locally and nationally, so it's no surprise nonprofit fundraisers are putting a concerted focus on connecting with people from the baby boomer generation. But it's also important to engage with Gen X and the massive millennial generation coming into its own, said Susan Burns, vice president of development and alumni affairs for Wayne State University and president of the Wayne State University Foundation. Burns, who has a long resume raising money not only for higher education but also health care and the arts, talked with Crain's Senior Reporter Sherri Welch about how she and her team at WSU are engaging with donors and volunteers from the various age groups, generational donor personalities and the need to connect with potential donors from every generation.
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Big Sean’s foundation helps tackle student homelessness

Rapper Big Sean’s philanthropic foundation continues to support a program created to deal with student homelessness at Detroit’s Wayne State University. The school recently announced a gift of $10,000 from Sean Anderson Foundation to the HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher) Program. The foundation created a $25,000 endowment for the program in 2016 and followed with financial gifts in 2017 and last year. The HIGH Program, created in 2013, provides short-term help to students in need to provide some stability and help them complete their degree. Big Sean, a Detroit native, formed the foundation in 2012 to help improve the quality of life for young people and their families.
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DTE Energy Foundation awards $100k to Wayne State’s Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies

The DTE Energy Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Wayne State University Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies to support its Summer Enrichment Program (SEP). Designed to improve retention and graduation rates, SEP is a college-readiness program that helps incoming first-generation and underrepresented college students acquire the key “hard” and “soft” skills needed to smoothly transition to rigorous university-level coursework. Structured as an intensive, eight-week immersion in mathematics, English composition, oral communications and cultural studies, the SEP courses and complementary learning exercises are widely regarded as pivotal to a successful academic experience. The grant, which will enable the center to continue to offer SEP over the next four years, greatly advances the university’s strategic plans to recruit, retain and graduate a diverse pool of students who will become leaders in their professions and in local communities. The program has a demonstrated record of laying a solid foundation for their competitive performance in a wide array of courses, especially those in the STEM fields. “We are grateful for the vote of confidence that the foundation has deposited on our organization’s ability to continue to assist students pursuing a cutting-edge academic degree at Wayne State University,” said Jorge L. Chinea, director of the center.
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Family aims to continue legacy of Arbor Drugs founder Applebaum

Before his death nearly a year ago, Arbor Drugs founder Eugene Applebaum sat with his family, creating a strategy to ensure his philanthropy would continue. He didn't direct a huge infusion from his estate to the Eugene Applebaum Family Foundation. The Foundation is funding internships for University of Michigan and Wayne State University students at Detroit arts and culture organizations and nonprofits to help build a talent pipeline. And it's bringing its philanthropic relationships to bear to help forge collaborations between organizations like the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Wayne State University. The centerpiece of the family's giving is a $1 million commitment to the Applebaum Fellows program, providing opportunities for young people in their communities that inspire leadership, entrepreneurship and independence.
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Wayne State announces $5M gift, new testing lab

As a graduate of the Wayne State University’s College of Engineering, Avinash Rachmale has had an ongoing relationship with the school. He started a business locally, hires Wayne State graduates and sits on the college’s Board of Visitors. That relationship grew Thursday with the university announcing that Rachmale and his wife, Hema, have donated $5 million to the College of Engineering for scholarships and a new testing laboratory.
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Wayne State Breaking Ground On Performing Arts Building

Wayne State University is breaking ground on a major project for theater, music and dance. Campus officials and others will gather Thursday night to mark construction of the $65 million Gateway Performance Complex and the future home of the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center. The Performance Complex will have three theaters, production space for students and a cafe for guests who attend performances. Wayne State's Hilberry Theatre will be renovated to become a 200-seat jazz center named for Valade, a Detroit-area philanthropist and granddaughter of the founder of Carhartt Clothing. Valade has committed more than $9 million to Wayne State's jazz program. She founded Mack Avenue Records and owns the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe in Grosse Pointe Farms.
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Belinsky gifts $500k to WSU to create lab for student entrepreneurs

In August, Wayne State University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Mike Ilitch School of Business, a $40 million, state-of-the-art facility in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood. The business school announced another piece of good news this summer when alumnus Russ Belinsky donated $500,000 to establish the Belinsky Entrepreneurial Learning Library, which aims to kick-start student and faculty entrepreneurship. Belinsky’s funding is meant to provide resources, training, and mentorship to students and faculty in order to help them launch investment-ready startups or startups based on the university’s intellectual property.
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Detroit native pledges $1.9M to Wayne State University School of Medicine

Karen Knopper, founder of Pet Suite Retreat, an animal boarding facility, has pledged $1.9 million to Wayne State University’s School of Medicine in Detroit. Knopper helped her father run Danny’s Markets, a Detroit grocery store.“I’m doing what my father would have done,” says Knopper. “There’s just such a need for philanthropy in Detroit.” Knopper is honoring her parents’ legacy through the Knopper Family Endowed Chair and the Knopper Family Endowed Research Fund in the School of Medicine. Together, the gifts will support research endeavors in the department of ophthalmology, visual, and anatomical sciences.