Major gifts in the news

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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.