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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

University Prep and Detroit Zoo Partnership Fosters Interest in Zoology and STEM Careers

Detroit, MI (January 2023)—Studies show that when it comes to college studies and careers in zoology, African Americans are enormously underrepresented. In fact, less than three percent of all zoology degrees are awarded to African American students. University Prep Schools, which has a 98 percent African American student population, wanted to change that statistic, and cultivate a strong pipeline from its science classrooms to university zoological studies and careers.

Univ

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Stories of ImpactNatural Environment

Conservation Resource Alliance Restores Michigan’s Most Beloved Rivers

Traverse City, MI (January 2023)—Think of the most pristine Michigan rivers you’ve seen. Imagine the clear blue-green water with brook trout and sculpin able to swim and spawn freely within. Now imagine crumbling overpass structures and outdated boiler pipes impeding these aquatic passageways. Picture tons of sediment from rain and snow melt accumulating over dozens of years and woody debris piling up over fish and insect habitats. These are the kinds of problematic environments that the Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA) has been repairing and restoring to health for more than five decades.

Foun

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Stories of ImpactArts and Culture

DIA Kids Program Acquaints Pre-schoolers and their Families with Art and Artmaking at the DIA

Detroit, MI (January 2023)—Think back to your best day ever as a kid. Did it involve walking like your favorite animal through the halls of the most amazing art museum in your city? Did it including viewing colorful mosaics from Mesopotamia and then creating one of your own with funky wooden pieces and colorful foam shapes? Those are just a few of the memorable activities underserved preschool children get to experience as part of the DIA Kids program.

Now

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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary Develops Tomorrow’s Environmental Stewards

Alpena, MI (April 2022)—“The best way to get someone to protect something is to get them to love it and the best way to get them to love it is for them to experience it.” That’s one of the mottos driving the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (The Sanctuary), says Superintendent, Jeff Gray. Located in Alpena, the 4,300 square-mile, federally-protected marine sanctuary is the nation’s first freshwater sanctuary and contains over 200 of the world’s best-preserved historic shipwrecks.

One

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Stories of ImpactNatural Environment

Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Connects Neighborhoods and Preserves Ecology with its Southwest Greenway

Detroit, MI (April 2022)—In 2003, a small group of local leaders presented a bold vision for Detroit’s waterfront. The vision was inspired by the belief that all Detroiters should have safe, clean, accessible, and welcoming places to gather on the river. From this vision, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy was born, and a plan emerged for a five-and-a-half-mile public space spanning the Ambassador Bridge to the MacArthur Bridge at Belle Isle. Today, the riverfront welcomes more than three million visitors annually.

Buil

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Stories of ImpactEconomic Vitality

Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center Creates Career Paths for Detroiters

Detroit, MI (April, 2022) - Veronica Williams was living in a homeless shelter when she started the Fundamentals of Industrial Sewing and Production (FISP) curriculum through Detroit’s Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center (ISAIC). She was uncertain of her next step in life, but began to find new purpose as a student in FISP.  FISP trained Veronica not only in traditional sewing skills but in advanced and emerging technologies — all paths to high-potential careers throughout the sewn goods industry. For Veronica, this opened the door to a new beginning. She aced the course and had the opportunity to become one of ISAIC’s first paid apprentices, the next step to a future with unlimited possibilities.

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Stories of ImpactEconomic Vitality

Lean Rocket Lab Empowers Local Entrepreneurs

Jackson, MI (April, 2022) - Felicia is a single mom living in Jackson, Michigan, with big goals of owning and running a food business. She’s been diligently saving money with the hopes of eventually buying a food truck to launch her dreams . It’s small businesses like Felicia’s that drive communities and economies forward. In fact, 64% of the jobs created in the United States  in 2019 were created by small businesses. Yet at the same time, many small businesses fail to thrive due to financial, educational and social barriers. This is particularly true in small communities such as ,  Jackson, Michigan. One of the missions of Jackson’s Lean Rocket Lab is to support local entrepreneurial ideas like Felicia’s and give  small businesses the best chance to succeed.

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Stories of ImpactEconomic Vitality

Launching Dreams into Action at the Allen Neighborhood Center Accelerator Kitchen

Lansing, MI (November, 2021) -You can feel the excitement when you walk into the Allen Neighborhood Center’s Rathbun Accelerator Kitchen in Lansing. Four small food businesses — Mr. Leslie’s Cheesecakes, Tantay Peruvian Cuisine, Smoothie Queen, and Gogi 2 — recently opened in this sparklingly new, shared-used kitchen, taking the next step in their entrepreneurial food journeys, supported by a Walters Family Foundation grant.

All

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Stories of ImpactEconomic Vitality

Supporting Culinary Visionaries in Eastern Market’s Metro Accelerator

Detroit, MI (November, 2021) - Eastern Market Partnership is known for connecting Detroiters to fresh and affordable food. They also excel at providing a suite of tools to help food-based businesses launch, scale-up, and succeed.  Since 2015, Eastern Market has offered affordable shared commercial kitchen space. Now, with support from a Walters Family Foundation grant, its Eastern Market Metro Accelerator is going a step further. This 15,000-square-foot facility is divided into eight ready-to-occupy suites for emerging food businesses to expand their production, limit displacement and keep creative entrepreneurship within the Eastern Market district. It also provides invaluable business coaching support and networking connections.

Curr

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Stories of ImpactLearning Initiatives

Pivoting in the Pandemic to Help Families Thrive with Downtown Boxing Gym

Detroit, MI (November 2021)—The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be an incredibly challenging time for students, parents and teachers alike. The stressors of online schooling and work-from-home set-ups created less than ideal environments for families. Luckily, spaces like the Downtown Boxing Gym (DBG) exist, a free academic and athletic program that provides Detroit students with the tools they need to succeed. Since 2007, the organization has provided tutoring, mentorship, enrichment programs, college and career prep, social-emotional skills building, and basic needs support.

Duri

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