Tag: Michigan

Entrepreneurs Andrew Colom and David Alade Work to Rebuild Detroit One House at a Time

Andrew Colom (l) and David Alade (r) [photo via Century Partners]

article by Rochelle Riley via Essence.com

Andrew Colom, 33, and David Alade, 29, ditched jobs in real estate and banking to start Century Partners, a development firm aimed at revitalizing neighborhoods in the Motor City. The duo also uses the biz to help Detroit’s Black residents build wealth.

What inspired you both to move to Detroit?

Andrew Colom: About five years ago, when I was a real estate developer in Mississippi, I was raking leaves in front of a house before showing it. I was listening to an audio book, Arc of Justice, about Ossian Sweet (a Black Detroit home owner acquitted of murder after he defended his new home against a White mob in 1925). I was thinking about the stories of people who were struggling during the Great Migration, and it sort of inspired me. So I took a trip up here about four years ago and drove around and fell in love with it. I went to David and said, “Detroit is where it’s at. We’ve got to invest.” He said, “You’re crazy.”

David Alade: As a banker at Credit Suisse in New York City, I covered the Big Three auto companies—Ford, GM and Chrysler. All I ever heard was negative stuff about Detroit. Andrew’s talking about artists and potential, and all I’m hearing is crime and violence and abandonment and bankrupt auto companies. About two years ago, I started thinking that it wasn’t my dream to stay in banking. I’ve seen so much inequity in the world, and it’s all tied to wealth disparity. And whatever I wanted to do next, I knew it had to be somewhere in that area.

How does Century Partners tackle wealth disparity?

Colom: We buy historic, abandoned homes and let neighbors invest in the rehabilitation of those homes and recoup their investment from the fund consisting of rent paid by new neighbors. Investors can also sell their homes to Century for cash and inclusion in the investment pool.

Why was it important for Black residents to be involved financially in the rehabilitation process?

Colom: Detroit is a city where there was such high African-American ownership of homes. That got us thinking about bringing neighborhoods back.

Alade: Mrs. Cox, a Black woman who has lived here for 50 years, will talk to you for hours upon hours about the history of Detroit. Within the context of White flight from the neighborhoods, we have a chance to reinvigorate diversity. Ultimately, we can help bring wealth back to the communities that deserve it the most. People who stuck with Detroit through the depths of crisis are really looking forward to seeing how it looks on the other side when home values go up and neighborhoods are vibrant again and abandonment is gone.

Colom: We want to make the Atkinson Historic District, a historically Black neighborhood that has been dormant, active again. They used neighborhood associations to keep Blacks out. What if we use neighborhood associations to build Black wealth?

To read rest of article, go to: http://www.essence.com/2016/08/16/rebuilding-detroit-century-partners-andrew-colom-david-alade

1st Ever Detroit Startup Week Helps Black Business Entrepreneurs and Hopefuls

The first annual Detroit Startup Week, powered by Chase, kicked off in May featuring over 100 events with some 2,500 participants attending free activities over the course of five days. Detroit’s inaugural Startup Week is expected to be largest first-year event in the global brand’s six-year history.

Ten learning tracks will be offered to entrepreneurs at all levels: technology, entrepreneurship 101, mobility, music, food-preneurship, art+design, civic innovation, neighborhood collaboration, social entrepreneurship, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“Our city is unlike any other, with both ingenuity and a welcoming spirit, brilliance and grit, and opportunities abound. Detroit Startup Week is designed to glue together those opportunities, celebrate what’s already working, and lay the groundwork for what’s to come,” notes Kyle Bazzy, lead organizer.

“Entrepreneurs are playing an invaluable role in Detroit’s comeback,” adds Jennifer Piepszak, CEO of Chase Business Banking, whose firm has committed $100 million over five years to Detroit’s economic recovery. “Detroit Startup Week is a great opportunity to recognize small businesses’ importance to the city’s recovery and to ensure they gain access to the necessary resources to support and grow.”

To read more, go to: http://www.blackenterprise.com/small-business/first-ever-detroit-startup-week-helps-black-business-hopefuls/

Bradley Gayton Named General Counsel of Ford Motor Company

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Bradley Gayton, general counsel, Ford Motor Company (Photo via twitter.com)

article by Porsha Monique via rollingout.com

General counsel is a highly revered post that comes with an immense amount of prestige, respect and great responsibility. For Ford Motor Company, Bradley Gayton is the accomplished man who holds this distinguished position.

On Jan. 1, 2016, Gayton was named general counsel and vice president of Ford Motor Company and it’s definitely a position Gayton earned as he worked his way up the corporate ladder. He started his career at Ford as a law clerk during his second and third year of law school at the State University of New York at Buffalo and is now a Ford Motor Company officer who reports directly to Ford’s president and CEO, Mark Fields.

Gayton invited rolling out inside his executive level office in Dearborn, Michigan, for an exclusive interview. The view from his office was spectacular, even on a cloudy day. He mentioned that on a clear day, one could see miles and miles away, as far as downtown Detroit. The impeccably groomed Gayton wore a perfectly tailored suit with a red tie, along with a custom-made, monogrammed, button-down shirt that displayed his signature. He definitely looked ready for his interview as he graciously welcomed us in and made us feel like we were at home.

Check out the inspiring interview below:

You are the general counsel and vice president for Ford Motor Company. You’ve been with Ford since 1991. You’ve held many roles during your tenure at Ford. Tell us about your journey to becoming the general counsel and vice president at Ford Motor Company.

It started in the summer of 1990 when I came here as a law clerk. In the fall of 1989, I interviewed for a summer job. I came here in the summer of 1990 in between my second year and third year of law school at the University of Buffalo. I spent time in taking assignments in the different departments in the legal office over the summer. Then in the fall of 1990 when I got back to law school, I was given an offer to join the company’s legal department after I graduated. Aug. 5, 1991, I joined the legal office. I started off in the tax office, and I spent a fair amount of my career in different jobs within the tax office. At one point in my career I had the opportunity to manage legal affairs for Canada, Mexico and Latin America. Then later on became assistant secretary, and then became the company’s sixth corporate secretary. And then in October, we announced that I was going to be our general counsel, effective Jan. 1. So, that’s a nutshell of the journey. Continue reading “Bradley Gayton Named General Counsel of Ford Motor Company”

Janelle Monae, Jesse Williams, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler to Headline #JUSTICEFORFLINT Benefit on Feb. 28

Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler in Hollywood on Dec. 14, 2015. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)

article by Jaimie Etkin via buzzfeed.com

On Feb. 28, comedian Hannibal BuressCreed director and co-writer Ryan Coogler, singer Janelle MonaeGrey’s Anatomy star Jesse WilliamsSelma director Ava DuVernay, and other entertainment notables will be joining forces onstage for a free event in Flint, Michigan, BuzzFeed News can exclusively reveal. The Buress-hosted gathering, dubbed #JUSTICEFORFLINT, is open to the public and presented by Blackout for Human Rights, an activist collective founded by Coogler which is devoted to addressing human rights violations in the U.S.

For almost two years, Flint’s residents — many of whom are black and impoverished — have been subjected to massive lead and bacterial contamination in Genesee County’s water supply, and forced to avoid tap water.

#JUSTICEFORFLINT will take place at the Whiting Auditorium (1241 E. Kearsley St.) on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET to raise both awareness and funds for those affected by the water crisis. It will also be live-streamed via revolt.tv, and donations will be collected at the event and via text. Along with all the star power, organizers have also invited members of the Flint community to share their stories with the audience.

“With the #JUSTICEFORFLINT benefit event we will give a voice to the members of the community who were the victims of the choices of people in power who are paid to protect them, as well as provide them with a night of entertainment, unity, and emotional healing,” Ryan Coogler told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “Through the live stream we will also give a chance for people around the world to participate, and to donate funds to programs for Flint’s youth.”

Though the event does coincide with the Academy Awards — which largely snubbed Creed in nominations and did the same with DuVernay’s Selma last year  Coogler said Feb. 28 was chosen because it fell on the final weekend of Black History Month, and that the date overlap was a coincidence.

The idea for #JUSTICEFORFLINT emerged at Blackout’s last event #MLKNOW held on Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 28), which took place at Riverside Church in Harlem and drew more than 2,200 attendees and nearly half a million views online.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jaimieetkin/ryan-coogler-justice-for-flint-event?utm_term=.yt20eLa7#.wo7RP0QW

The Ellen DeGeneres Show Donates Tons of Resources to Detroit Public School in Need

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The students and faculty members at the Spain Elementary-Middle School in Detroit (THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW AND SPAIN ELEMENTARY-MIDDLE SCHOOL)

article by Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele via theroot.com

There’s a public school in Detroit that is falling apart, literally, and Ellen DeGeneres just threw a bunch of money and attention at the problem, the Detroit Free Press reports.

According to a clip from the show, the Spain Elementary-Middle School is chock-full of students from working-class families that are “poor or homeless,” DeGeneres explained.

The technology at the school doesn’t work or is nonexistent, “their entire roof is falling apart [and] their gym is completely shut down,” forcing students to take their physical education class in the hallways.

At times, students wear coats in the classroom because the heat doesn’t work. DeGeneres donated and pooled together tons of resources for the school, which she says is her show’s “most generous giveaway.”

Those giveaways include a $100 gift card from Lowe’s for each teacher and staff member at the school, $50,000 in technology from Lowe’s, $200,000 worth of materials and labor to go toward a new roof, and a $250,000 donation from Lowe’s. Plus, the show started a GoFundMe page for the school with a $5 million goal (the GoFundMe team has already pledged $15,000 toward that goal).

DeGeneres surprised the school’s students during a live telecast of her show, in which she video-conferenced into their assembly. Check out the surprise by clicking here.

To read more: http://www.theroot.com/blogs/the_grapevine/2016/02/watch_the_ellen_show_donates_tons_of_resources_to_detroit_public_school.html

Pusha T Quietly Donated Semi-Truckfulls of Water to Flint Residents

Pusha T (photo via bet.com)

by Paul Meara via bet.com

Many in hip hop have done their part in donating bottled water to victims of the Flint crisis, but for their efforts they understandably make it news for PR purposes. Pusha T decided to donate, except he was trying to escape the publicity.

According to MLive, The G.O.O.D. Music President recently sent two unsuspecting drivers from his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia to Flint with a pair of semi-trucks loaded with 2,000 cases of water to assist those in need of clean water in the Michigan town.

“I knew who was bringing water but I didn’t know who was actually shipping it,” said W.I. James, who was at the helm of one of the semis traveling 830 miles. “All I know is that it was donated.”

Lakeesha Atkinson, member of the philanthropic Partners in the Community, unveiled that Pusha didn’t want anyone to know he was behind the donation. “He’s very humble,” she explained. “He doesn’t do anything for recognition or for the spotlight.”

It took three days to unload and distribute the water as those in charge on the ground decided to bring the water directly to residents rather than simply have a community pick-up point.

To read more, go to: http://www.bet.com/news/national/2016/02/01/pusha-t-quietly-donated-semi-truckfulls-of-water-to-flint-reside.html

The Game Donates $500,000 to Provide Water to Flint, Michigan Residents

The Game (Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast)

Platinum-selling rapper The Game donated half a million dollars to provide water to Flint, Michigan.  On Tuesday, the Compton rapper posted a picture to his Instagram account of a wire transfer from his charity, the Robin Hood Project, to Avita for half a million bucks. Avita, an artesian alkaline water company, is matching The Game’s $500,000 for a grand total of $1,000,000.

It’s the biggest public celebrity donation so far to Flint, which is in the throes of a federal emergency after it came to light that its water supply contained high levels of lead, poisoning its people. Experts estimate that roughly 8,000 to 9,000 children under the age of six may have suffered permanent brain damage after being exposed to the tainted water. And that’s just the kids.

“It’s obviously a very big deal and a tragedy in Flint, and I saw people donating small amounts, and I just thought I’d go above and beyond that,” says The Game. “So I donated the funds from the first 11 shows of my European tour. Avita matched it and they’ll be one million bottles of water given out—33,000 bottles of water at a time because of trucking and shipping it in and out. It’s not easy shipping it out because of the snowstorms, and trucks being backed up. But we’ll get it there, however long it takes.”

The Game isn’t the only celebrity who’s come onboard to help. Pop legend Cher got the ball rolling, donating 180,000 bottles of water; Mark Wahlberg and Diddy’s AQUAhydrate, joined by Eminem and Wiz Khalifa, pledged one million bottles; Meek Mill donated $50,000; and Madonna and Jimmy Fallon forked over $10,000 apiece.

“What Meek did was very generous, and that’s great. But what I want celebrities to do is to stop saying, ‘I pledge water.’ There are people who get up every morning and say they pledge allegiance to the flag, but don’t really honor it. Talk is cheap,” The Game said.  “So I posted a picture of my wire transfer and I’ll post pictures of the water going into Flint every day until it’s done—not to brag, but to speak to the people who actually want to fix the problem.”

Unlike some of these other celebrities, The Game has a personal connection to the embattled City of Flint.  “My sister lives in Flint with my nieces and nephews and her husband, and so it directly affected me,” he says. “I’ve got friends who are still stuck there, too. I’ve been on tour in Europe for weeks and weeks, and I wanted to do something. I try to do the best I can from wherever I am.”

Through his Robin Hood Project, The Game has donated millions to the less fortunate.  “You know, the thing is man, when I first became a rapper I always said to myself that any amount of money that I acquire past getting me an apartment, a decent car, and the Internet I’d pay it forward,” says The Game.

“Once I accumulated a large amount of finances, I just started giving back randomly. At first I would do it to different places because I didn’t have a charity, then one day I came up with the Robin Hood Project because Robin Hood was my favorite cartoon back in the day—he’d rob from the rich and give to the poor. So I started giving money out of my own pockets. It wasn’t a tax write-off thing. It’s about helping your fellow people and doing the right thing, man.”

article by Marlow Stern via thedailybeast.com

Aretha Franklin Donates Hotel Rooms and Meals to Victims of Flint, Mich., Water Crisis

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Aretha Franklin (MIKE COPPOLA/GETTY IMAGES)

The Queen of Soul is doing her part to help residents in Flint, Mich., during the city’s water crisis. Aretha Franklin plans on donating rooms at a Holiday Inn in Southfield, a Detroit suburb, for 25-50 people, according to Click on Detroit.

In addition to the rooms, food will be provided by the local Coney Island restaurant. Franklin’s father’s church, New Bethel Baptist in Detroit, will handle the screening of Flint residents who want to participate.

“Detroiters usually come to the aid of Detroiters—and Flint is certainly regarded as Detroit,” Franklin said in an interview. “Hang in there,” she advised Flint residents.

article by Yesha Callahan via theroot.com

Sean “Diddy” Combs and Mark Wahlberg to Donate 1 Million Bottles of their AQUAhydrate to Flint

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Sean “Diddy” Combs and Mark Wahlberg have pledged to donate 1 million bottles of their AQUAhydrate water to the residents of Flint, Michigan, until the city’s water problems are solved. The company says it’s sending 5,000 cases initially by Wednesday, and will continue to provide bottles to residents up to 1 million, reports the Associated Press.

High levels of lead have been detected in Flint’s water since officials switched from the Detroit municipal system and began drawing from the Flint River as a cost-saving measure.

Wahlberg and Combs first invested and became the face of the Los Angeles-based bottled water company in 2013.

Big Sean, CherEminem and Wiz Khalifa are among other celebrities who have pledged support and donations to assist Flint’s water crisis.

Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2016/01/diddy-donating-1-million-bottles-of-water-to-flint-mi-residents/#5iCdD6TjdmfVDMPJ.99

Big Sean Gives $10,000 To Flint Water Crisis, Urges Others To Donate

big sean instagram
Big Sean (photo via instagram)

(AllHipHop News) Michigan native Big Sean recently donated $10,000 to aid those suffering through the Flint Water Crisis. The “Blessings” MC recently joined forces with CrowdRise to create the #HealFlintKids Fundraiser.  Sean’s altruistic action kicked off the grass-roots campaign.

In its premier press release Big Sean expressed his angst, “I am devastated by the water crisis that has put the entire city of Flint in a state of emergency. In recognizing the great work that the Community Foundation of Greater Flint Michigan has been doing, it is my hope we can help by raising the money needed to ensure that the children who have been hit the hardest receive the care that they need today and well into the future.”

Today (Jan. 21), the #HealFlintKids’ campaign started at noon. A variety of techniques are being used to persuade the public to donate. A $10 tax deductible pledge will earn someone the opportunity to win a pair of VIP tickets to an upcoming stateside show. For all the official details head over to CrowdRise.

RELATED: Cher Donates Supply of Fresh Water To Flint Residents

In addition to linking up with CrowdRise, continues to use social media as a way to employ his voice. Located only an hour away from his hometown of Detroit, the Flint Water Crisis seems to truly be resounding with the Grammy-nominated lyricist. He has shared his compassion and lifted his concern. In a recent tweet concerning Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, attempt to shirk his responsibility, Big Sean snapped.

Below check out the tweets.

There’s nothing like activism in action; kudos go out to Big Sean!

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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