The web Browser you are currently using is unsupported, and some features of this site may not work as intended. Please update to a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Edge to experience all features Michigan.gov has to offer.
Governors Service Award Winners 2022
Gov. Whitmer Announces Winners for 2022 Governor’s Service Awards
Winners honored at the Fox Theatre on Nov. 17 in Detroit
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Community Service Commission today announced 46 individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations recipients of the 2022 Governor's Service Awards and applauded their commitment to volunteerism, service or philanthropy.
“Michigan succeeds because of Michiganders who go above and beyond to serve their communities and lift up others,” said Governor Whitmer. “This year’s winners get things done even when nobody's looking because they know that every contribution makes a huge impact. I am honored to present the Governor’s Service Awards to this year’s 46 recipients and urge every Michigander to get involved in their community so we can move our state forward together.”
To recognize those who go above and beyond, the Governor's Service Awards have been presented since 1994. The Michigan Community Service Commission supports Michigan volunteers, organizations and businesses that are committed to service and play a critical role in improving the lives of our people and communities.
“We are proud to recognize this remarkable group of Michiganders who are an inspiration when it comes to helping others,” said Michigan Community Service Commission Executive Director Ginna Holmes. “Their service has strengthened communities and made our state more resilient.”
The winners include:
Lifetime Humanitarian Award: Gail Perry-Mason (Detroit)
Governor George Romney Lifetime Achievement Award: Marlowe Stoudamire (posthumously)
Philanthropist Award: Izzo Legacy Family Fund (East Lansing)
Civic Engagement Impact Award: Astrid Fan (East Lansing), Krish Ghosalkar (Troy), John Wesley Cromer, Jr. (Detroit), Irene Sinclair (Southfield), Paul Charette (Lansing), USP4GG Michigan (Sterling Heights), Challenge Detroit (Detroit)
Community Impact Award: Ava Bunao (Troy), Barbara Matney (Warrendale), Ford Resource and Engagement Center - Detroit East (Detroit), Michael Kent (Traverse City), Jane Beach (Edmore), Grow Benzie (Benzie County), Antionette Buckley (Flint)
Corporate Social Impact Award: Barton Malow (Southfield), Caster Concepts (Albion), Detroit Pistons (Detroit), Hemlock Semiconductor (Hemlock), Lake Trust Credit Union (Brighton)
Environmental Impact Award: Lorana Jinkerson (Marquette), Akshitha Sahu (Troy), Manistique Community Treehouse Center (Manistique), Peace Tree Parks (Detroit)
Health Impact Award: Katherine Heath (Bloomfield Hills), Alison Jakubcin (Alpena), Jim Kaski (St. Clair County), Dr. Michael Lutz (Rochester Hills), Dr. Amy Yorke (Flint), Gleaners (Southeast Michigan), Lighthouse (Oakland County)
National Service Impact Award: Cortnie Parish (Howell), Thomas Steele (Swartz Creek), June Swift (Grand Rapids), YouthWork AmeriCorps– Child and Family Services of NW MI (Traverse City), Economic Opportunity Coaching Corps AmeriCorps – Peckham, Inc. (Lansing)
Youth Services Impact Award: Kimber Bishop-Yanke (Birmingham), Diane Feenstra (Traverse City), Stephen D. Mayfield (Flint), Cathrine Ovenshire (posthumously), Elizabeth Voglewede (St. Joseph), Career Technical Education Committee (Marquette and Alger Counties) Detroit Economic Club (Detroit), Rhonda Walker Foundation (Detroit)
Philanthropy Award - Izzo Legacy Family Fund
The Izzo Legacy Family Fund feels a genuine obligation to give back to the Michigan State University and Mid-Michigan communities that have become such a large part of their lives. One of the reasons they've never left Michigan State is the strong connection they feel to their community. The Izzo Legacy Family Fund supports several causes ranging from food security to veteran affairs. The Izzo Family developed the Izzo Legacy to formalize their commitment to the Mid-Michigan community. The Izzo Legacy Race is a 5K Run/Walk/Roll that is held annually in April. It is an inclusive event that promotes community, wellness and charitable giving. Since its inception, the Izzo Legacy has contributed over $400,000 to local charities. At some point, Coach Izzo will retire from coaching, and The Izzo Legacy provides a manner in which the Izzo family will continue to support the community for years to come.
Lifetime Humanitarian - Gail Perry-Mason
Throughout her life, Gail Perry-Mason has demonstrated a commitment to helping children from Metro-Detroit and supporting her community. Her strong desire to serve stems from her own upbringing. Left by her mother at the Detroit Medical Center, officials placed Gail in multiple care foster care homes before being adopted. Her adopted mother believed in her potential and aided her in her accomplishments. Gail climbed the corporate ladder from receptionist to First Vice President of Investments of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. and is well-known in the securities industry. She founded Money Matters for Youth over years 27 ago with a focused goal to expose youth to wealth management concepts, financial literacy, and business management. The program has taught over 6,000 Detroit-Metro youth. She made history when she bought Class B Berkshire Hathaway stock for 35 of her youth camp participants and then brought them to meet Warren Buffet in 2017. He then invited them to a shareholder meeting where they were the only people of color in the room. Currently Gail is conducting a program in the Detroit Public Schools that outlines the steps of entrepreneurship. She has also personally mentored over 25 young women who are now professionals in the financial industry field. Her community involvement is broad and includes supporting numerous organizations and she has received many honors for her efforts.
Her community involvement is broad and includes supporting numerous organizations including Elliottorian Business and Professional Women’s Club, Tavis Smiley Youth to Leaders Program Detroit, Harper Hutzel Hospital, National Association of Women’s Business Owners, GirlBiz., Salvation Army, Neighborhood Services Organization, Detroit Impact, Detroit 300, Starr Commonwealth, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Music Hall, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice.
George Romney Lifetime Achievement Award -Marlowe Stoudamire
Detroit – (Posthumously)
Marlowe Stoudamire impacted the lives of all kinds of Detroiters in meaningful and lasting ways. His service and philanthropy reached corporate suites, cultural institutions, sports teams, and neighborhood organizations. Marlowe’s vision and leadership helped launch the Detroit Historical Museum's exhibit "Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward," a multi-year project that won national and international awards for its brave, sensitive exploration of the 1967 civil unrest that forever changed Detroit. Like Marlowe, the exhibit challenged assumptions and sought to heal and uplift. Marlowe called himself a serial social entrepreneur. He leveraged his unique abilities to draw the best out of people, building partnerships and recruiting champions for social change. A proud product of Detroit's east side, he chose a neighborhood that had experienced tremendous disinvestment to locate Mash Detroit, a 6,000-foot venue with elements that included a popup retail space, co-working hub, community gathering events space and local artist gallery. Marlowe's dedication to education, social justice, economic opportunity, and mentoring allowed him to synthesize disparate, innovative strategies for social change into wholly original campaigns. Marlowe’s tragic death at the age of 43 from COVID-19 in March of 2020 has left a huge hole in the heart of Detroit.
But as active as Marlowe was in the community and as far as his travels took him around the world, his priority was always family. Born and raised on the east side, Marlowe was a loving son, brother, uncle and nephew. And he was a devoted husband and father. As much as he had going on, he did school drop offs and pick-ups every day for his two children and often took them to meetings with him. He was unapologetic when it came to family and work and let it be known that family came first
Civic Engagement Impact Award
Wenqian “Astrid” Fan is an important example of how young minds can master the digital age and further community work. Many immigrants come to Michigan without friends and/or family and feel lost due to language and cultural barriers. Astrid has helped to bridge those gaps by providing social activities and news sources in a native language. She started a Little Red Book channel (Chinese social media platform) to share Michigan stories with the younger generation. Under Astrid’s leadership, the channel has grown to 2,500 fans and become number one in Michigan for Asian immigrants. This success did not happen overnight by herself; she did it by developing a strong team of volunteers. Her efforts have inspired many other young people to become junior editors and reach out to communities to promote and share the Michigan life experiences, helping the “Live in Michigan” club flourish. Astrid is shedding light on families moving to the state and helps them find ways to acclimate. Her work makes others proud to be in Michigan and happy that their journey has brought them here.
Krish Ghosalkar began his involvement with the nonprofit Key2Finesse at the age of 10 through his sister who co-founded it in 2015. Krish officially joined the organization in 2018 and embraced the mission - to provide platforms for students to demonstrate their writing and public speaking skills, while giving back to noble causes in their community. In 2020, Key2Finesse tackled organ donations and supported the Gift of Life Foundation. While serving on the board, Krish streamlined the fundraising efforts online to aid the contribution of $75,198 to the Gift of Life Foundation in 2020 and $116,100 to Angels of Hope in 2021. In the last two years, Krish has helped to expand Key2Finesse’s efforts much beyond fundraising. Recognizing the need for students to learn from others, Krish helped to organize high school and career exploration symposiums over Zoom. These symposiums invited successful high schoolers, college students, and professionals to share their journeys and advice to motivated students. Krish also recognized the educational gap that was created in students’ learning during online schooling, and the shortage of internship opportunities. This led him to develop a virtual tutoring program and an internship event. Due to these efforts, he has brought out the best in his team and it resulted in Keys2 Finesse expanding to 10 states and five countries as they help to provide the tools needed for students to succeed.
John Wesley Cromer, Jr.
John W. Cromer, Jr. spent 13 years in prison for shoplifting. Since his release in 2004, he has been an exemplary illustration of how a life can change after prison. In 2005, John spearheaded the Ban The Box Ordinance for Detroit, trying to positively impact the path of many returning citizens. The ordinance took effect and city jobs were forced to remove the criminal record question from their applications. When the City of Detroit became involved with helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina, John found himself in an indispensable position to help. He organized one of the most successful job fair in the state which included “on-the-spot-hiring” for many applicants. His efforts helped save many residents’ lives and families from poverty. John spends his days working with churches, schools, universities, and other community foundations. John’s premise revolves around teaching employability and giving everyone the second chance he was given. John’s tireless work has resulted in thousands of jobs for not only released prisoners, but the youth, homeless, and other underprivileged groups. Former president Barack Obama described John as, “a good example of what's possible" after prison. John’s service is a true testament to the second chance story of many released prisoners.
Irene Sinclair, at every level, is tireless in her efforts to help English language learners improve the quality of life for themselves and their families. Irene spent her professional life as an adult educator in Detroit Public Schools (DPS). During her tenure with DPS, she oversaw several adult education learning centers, trained adult education teachers, wrote curriculum, and taught both foreign-born and native-born adults with low literacy levels. Since her retirement, Irene has generously shared her deep knowledge and dedication to adult literacy as a volunteer with Oakland Literacy Council (OLC). Irene has dedicated eight years and over 1,000+ volunteer hours to OLC where she has made a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of hundreds of tutors and adult learners. Over the years, Irene developed and delivered supplemental professional development workshops to volunteers on topics including lesson planning and conversational skills. In addition to volunteering with OLC, Irene served as a community mediator for Oakland Mediation Center helping parties peacefully resolve conflicts. In the words of Irene, “Literacy gives people opportunities to live fuller lives. That’s my strongest reason for being committed to adult learning.”
For the past six years, Paul Charette has volunteered at Cristo Rey Community Center, ensuring his community doesn’t go hungry. Paul served in the kitchen, which provides hot breakfast and lunch to anyone in need. Paul worked closely with St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Johns Student Center to organize volunteer groups at Cristo Rey. The volunteers prepare food, distribute meals, and help maintain the community garden. One of Paul's most significant efforts at Cristo Rey is recruiting 150 volunteers from his parish to help with the Afghan Meal Program. These volunteers stayed after hours at Cristo Rey to serve meals to Afghan evacuees from October 2021 to March 2022. The evacuees lived in temporary housing and many had limited kitchen facilities. This meal program was their primary means of receiving nutritious food until they received permanent housing. Thanks to Paul's volunteer recruitment efforts, approximately 18,000 meals were served. He never ceases to inspire others to help fulfill a community need, no matter how significant or sudden.
United States Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) is one of the leading Filipino American organizations in Michigan. Their mission is to promote good governance amongst Filipino Americans and the mainstream community through education, engagement and empowerment of human rights including civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights. USP4GG strives to increase the education of Filipino American culture, history, and presence in the United States but it also to works to promote diversity within the Asian American community. With the rise of anti-Asian rhetoric and hate crimes in the U.S since COVID-19, USP4GG recognized the need for the Asian Pacific Islander American community to educate, engage and empower the public at large. The group is a Filipino-based group, but they understand that to truly promote the tenants of good governance they must encourage diversity by working with individuals and groups from other backgrounds as well. The principles of being participatory, responsive, and inclusive are continually being taken to the next level in terms of how the group promotes diversity. Not only are they proud of their heritage but the concept of being inclusive to all cultures is what makes them successful. As their core mission they promote diversity by sharing their culture; but they are steadfast in the importance of giving other cultures a chance to share their story as well. The group partners with Chinese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, and Indian communities to support one another and their individual and mutual missions. One of the largest impacts the organization has made is creating bridges amongst the community in mutual understanding, respect, and friendship.
Challenge Detroit cultivates diverse, innovative, community-minded leaders from the city and across the country, fostering their talents to support local initiatives that move Detroit forward. Each year, approximately 30 Fellows are selected from hundreds of applications. Fellows spend four days a week accelerating their professional careers with Challenge Detroit's employer partners, then they take a day out of the office every week to bring social impact "challenge projects" to life in collaboration with local nonprofit partners. The heart of the fellowship program centers around the challenge projects, where Fellows work together to tackle issues and opportunities facing Detroit such as economic development, education, food security, transportation, land use, the arts, and more. Through these projects, Fellows give and learn by doing, while making a positive, tangible contribution to other nonprofits and ultimately the community. Over ten years, Challenge Detroit has partnered with over 165 local nonprofit organizations on project collaborations serving Detroiters across Detroit neighborhoods. Projects are intellectually based with Fellows contributing their skills and time, some including a hands-on component. Fellows are trained in using a human-centered design approach as they work together in multidisciplinary teams collaboratively with the partners.
Community Impact Award
Ava Julianna Garza Bunao
Ava Julianna Garza Bunao is an impressive young philanthropist and sophomore at Troy Athens High School. As a student, she is a top scholar of her class and a talented musician. She is someone who exudes joy, generosity, and kindness. Ava has a long history of using her time and talents to improve the lives of others. She serves in the emergency shelter, supported and celebrated veterans, helped with writing letters to pen pal residents at nursing homes, supported Girl Scout troops, provided her hair for Wigs for Kids program, conducted friendly visits at nursing homes, provided needed items for Humane Society, maintained a community garden, wrapped donated Christmas gifts for kids, educating the community about recycling, assisted with providing STEM projects, delivered food to people in need, and much more. One of the programs she provided leadership to was supporting the school food pantry. When she recognized there were not options for people with food conditions, she took it upon herself to develop a fundraiser called Macarons for Morse. She baked and sold macarons and used the proceeds of her impressive baking skills to buy specialty foods for people with needs. Ava’s ingenuity has been used to get chain stores like Kroger and Aldi on board with her mission of making specialty/gluten free foods more accessible. Her work has led to dozens of macarons deliveries and in turn made an immediate relief for those with severe food allergies. Ava dedicated her time during the summer volunteering with Fundamental Therapies, tutoring young students with learning and reading challenges, and serving as FIRST crew during the GIRLS R GRAYT. Ava received the Silver Award in Girl Scouting, which is the highest award for her Girl Scout level, received the 2022 Tammie Murray spirit award, was selected as an MHSPEA scholar, and won a state championship as a part of the Troy Athens Winterguard. Ava is an inspiration to her peers and has become a genuinely impactful person that is making a tremendous difference.
Barbara Matney has impacted her Warrendale community through a grassroots approach that is grounded in mutual respect and breaking down barriers; allowing people to work together. Barb has lived her entire life in Warrendale and has a strong appreciation for the diversity of the community. After recognizing that there was a need to help reduce the number of vacant blighted lots in her neighborhood, she decided to create the “In Memory of… Community Garden”. In 2016, Matney purchased two lots and since the garden has grown to cover ten lots across three corners of the neighborhood. Two organic orchards and vegetable garden provide sustainable, locally grown food, which residents can buy or volunteer at the solar greenhouse to take for free. Barb has worked with residents to ensure that the produce grown reflects their needs and the information about the gardens is presented in Spanish, Arabic and English. The garden also includes a pocket park with a playscape, swings, outdoor gym, rain garden and pavilion. This park has become a much-needed safe space for children and families to come together for play, exercise and socializing. The In Memory of Community Garden and Minock-Whitlock Park is currently the only Project Greenlight community space in Detroit. Warrendale residents are appreciative of the project and have become personally involved in helping the garden thrive. What some thought was an ill-advised decision, the garden has since changed the lives of many Warrendale residents. Barb is also the President of the Warrendale Community Organization and South Warrendale Radio Patrol.
Ford Resource and Engagement Center – Detroit East
Located at Fisher Magnet Upper Academy and managed by the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, the Ford Resource and Engagement Center on Detroit’s east side provides educational opportunities for area children and increases access to essential services for residents and families. Established in October 2017, the center supports thousands of Detroiters with the help of more than 15 nonprofit partners on-site offering programs that emphasize education, provide job training and invest in the next generation of Detroiters.
Core services include a weekly food distribution hub, legal assistance, free tax preparation, job placement services and energy assistance. Students are provided access to after-school programs focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) and entrepreneurship skills. The center offers numerous arts, music and cultural activities for residents as well.
The east side center is part of a $15 million global network of community centers Ford Fund operates to help carry out its mission of strengthening communities and making people’s lives better. In addition to this facility, Ford Fund has community centers in Southwest Detroit; Pretoria, South Africa; Craiova, Romania; and Bangkok, Thailand.
Michael Kent has selflessly served his entire life to the community that he feels gave him everything. The passion, time, and energy he commits to helping others, inspires people to want to be involved and join the projects he supports. He has served for almost three decades and logged thousands of volunteer hours for the Northwest Michigan Marine Toys for Tots program, collecting a vast array of toys distributed to thousands of children in a five-county area. For another project to help those in need, he started a program and braved the cold winter nights in Kalkaska to camp out for 24 hours, collecting donations for the area food pantry from 2013 – 2018. He also served as an adult troop leader for Boy Scouts of America for 14 years. Michael one of the founders of the T.C. Patriot Game that raised money for a variety of veteran organizations and honored those who died in service to their country. He helped organize the first suicide prevention walk in Traverse City; raising thousands of dollars for suicide awareness and helping to start a dialogue about suicide in northern Michigan. He has helped organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of northwest Michigan, and Child and Family Services. Michael has tackled issues such as jail reform, and health care for the underserved. Michael’s empathy creates an environment where people seeking help can do so with dignity and grace. Michael has an impeccable reputation around the Traverse City area and beyond.
Martha “Jane” Anderson Beach lives and serves within rural central Michigan. She steps up to help support nonprofits serving to meet needs within that area. As a retired elementary special education teacher, she has worked to help develop and support programs that serve children and adults. Jane has served as a longtime member of three such organizations – CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), 100 Women Who Care, and the Montcalm Area Reading Council. Jane is a past chairperson, and current board member, of the Nita Curtis Foundation in Edmore, which helps to meet the needs of the community, provides scholarships to Montabella school graduates, and contributes to 'community betterment' in the local area. Jane is an active member of Faith United Methodist Church in Edmore, serving in a variety of capacities. Jane has served as a chairperson, board member, and volunteer with many organizations in her area. Jane is on the leadership team of 100 Women Who Care in Montcalm County, an annual fundraising event which benefits local nonprofits. Jane also supports RAVE (Relief After Violent Encounter), a Domestic Violence Assistance Program and Lakeview Community School Projects, such as The Giving Tree (helping families) at Christmas. She has been an election poll worker for several years. Jane serves on the Montcalm Community College Foundation working with other dedicated board members to support the mission of Montcalm Community College. Kristen Kohn, Former Executive Director of Montcalm Area Reading Council sums up what Jane means to the community, “Jane is a gift to our community. She is an encourager, always going the extra mile to support and inspire those around her. She is skilled in making connections, bringing together people and resources for the good of all. Her volunteerism has greatly benefited our community and we are so lucky to have her.”
Grow Benzie seeks to enrich its region by fostering positive activity that increases access to healthful foods, jobs, life skills, and each other while providing a space that nurtures this activity. Since 2008, Grow Benzie has been creating a “modern day” community center to provide safe and accessible space to residents and visitors from all backgrounds. Its campus facilities include an event center, commercial kitchen, incubator farm, co-working office spaces, bee apiary, sewing studio, makerspace, edible trails and community gardens. In 2017, they identified the need in the community to focus on providing space and services for clubs and nonprofits rather than starting (and often duplicating) existing programs. Studying and applying solutions through a systems-change lens versus a traditional programs model, Grow Benzie has become the anchor organization for dozens of clubs, nonprofits, and collaborative bodies. The group is completing a strategic planning process that spanning two years of in-depth research and community input. Over 70 existing strategic and master plans were compiled, hundreds of individuals participated in focus groups and meetings led by a team of consultants, and community members from all sectors were part of the process. Their objective is to formalize Grow Benzie’s evolved role in their county and region, and continue facilitating connections between organizations, residents, and resources.
Since 2017, Antoinette Buckley has gone above and beyond to create a positive, welcoming environment for others. Through her work at Carriage Town Ministries, she came to understand how important one's social network is to overall health and wellbeing. She decided to take this concept home by volunteering with Communities First, Inc. She has served over 100 hours and over 30 community events. Her passion to work towards the greater good is infectious and motivates the people around her to do more for their community. She has been active in community clean ups, supported cultural immersion events and helped host arts education opportunities. Antoinette has served on planning committees for the African American Film Series and Our Green Life environmental programming. She understands what people need in their daily life and offers direct assistance including acclimating new tenants to their community, gathering residents to celebrate holidays and important life events, and managing the community garden to provide fresh produce for all. Because she utilized CFI services as a participant, she has a unique lens that allows her to meet people where they are with empathy and understanding. Antoinette’s selfless dedication is appreciated as an incredible volunteer and leader.
Environmental Impact Award
Lorana Jinkerson began her journey with the North Country Trail Association (NCTA) in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the mid-2000s and has led in volunteer and philanthropic service since. Recently, Lorana surpassed 10,000 volunteer hours with NCTA. Lorana has built relationships with numerous private landowners to establish trail sections that are off-road when public land isn’t available. Subsequently, this has minimized the area of road-walk and enhances a “road safe,” positive trail experience. To continue a positive trail experience, Lorana physically maintained the trail while also planning for its future. Lorana worked with the Marquette community to establish interpretive signage along the trail and encouraged other groups to hold events on the trail’s behalf to promote the trail as one of the eleven national scenic trails in the country. Lorana developed a holistic approach to supporting the National Trails System and ensured that our nation’s longest National Scenic Trail will be available for people to positively engage in the environment for many years to come.
Akshitha Sahu found her love creativity for the environment inside the walls of Troy High School. Akshitha created the EcoBricks project, which uses hard to recycle plastics to transform into useable bricks. Her environmental club was able to work with local sponsors to create a bench from the items collected from the project. In that same club, Akshitha started an annual Earth Day convention and Go Green talk show. Both initiatives have had a prominent impact on her community and were recognized for their professionalism and thoroughness. Her ventures did not stop at school, she has both a poetry workshop and summer camp where her heart and bright mind have impacted younger children. Akshitha has dedicated hours to the Parks and Recreation Board of Troy, the Troy Historic Village, and the Stage Nature Center. “As a volunteer, Akshitha has shown outstanding commitment, leadership, attention to detail, and a can-do attitude towards anything unexpected that comes her way.”
Manistique Community Treehouse Center
The Manistique Community Treehouse Center (MCTC) is a grassroots, non-profit organization focused on promoting holistic empowerment for all individuals regardless of background, ability, age, race, or gender. The intergenerational programs help people of all ages manage and overcome stress and anxiety by helping them have more fun, spend more time outside, and build financial literacy. The organization is working to implement an innovative program to encourage more residents and nonprofits to embrace solar power while saving and making money. This program created a solar station and helped install solar panels on 25 homes in the neighborhood. It also includes a workforce development component, training individuals to gain skills in solar energy. It is a one-of-a-kind program in Detroit, and the organization intends to replicate to other areas of the city, as well as across the state and nation. The MCTC goes beyond providing renewable energy, they host cultural, informational, and social events for children and adults in the neighborhood. These events bring the community together and allow them to share a common interest in sustainability and caring for their neighborhood and neighbors.
Peace Tree Parks
Peace Tree Parks Nonprofit Organization was founded in 2015 by high school best friends Eric Andrews and D’Andre Riggins. After graduating college in 2012 and returning to their hometown of Detroit, they noticed an abundance of vacant land in the city going unused. Peace Tree Parks was founded with the mission to increase the access that Detroit residents have to fresh organic produce by converting vacant land into community gardens. In the past seven years, Peace Tree Parks has purchased and converted 12 vacant lots into community gardens, spanning across 3 community garden locations in Detroit. Two out of the three Peace Tree Parks' garden locations have solar power which was installed by the organization and its volunteers to demonstrate the importance of sustainability. Since 2015, the organization has donated over 1,000 lbs. of produce back to the community free of charge. To date, Peace Tree Parks has built and installed 86 residential gardens at the homes of residents across Metro-Detroit to help educate residents and ensure they have access to fresh produce on demand. Through multiple volunteer events held across their three community garden locations, the organization has engaged over 500 volunteers
Health Wellness Impact Award
Katherine Heath’s dedication to volunteering evolved into insatiable curiosity about science, medicine, healthcare, and society. While in high school she was a highly successful student researcher, winning international recognition for her work. She served in Detroit at the Karmanos Cancer Institute, an urban medical center whose mission is the screening, prevention, and treatment of cancer patients. Katherine’s positive energy and ideas moved the Institute to implement her FocuSStem NextGen program, a curriculum that is now a signature high school program. The FocuSStem NextGen program serves 440 high schools. Over 270,000 high school students have the possibility to experience an immersive, one day, hands-on event because of Katherine. She advocated for and built a program in science and healthcare, enabling her peers to have equal access, regardless of economic or educational disparities. She re-energized the faculty and staff by encouraging them to focus on the city’s youth as tomorrow’s leaders. Katherine developed the infrastructure and collaborated with faculty to create a “Lunch with Leadership” series. Furthermore, Katherine’s sense of social justice was nurtured and developed in her role as Junior Fellow at the PuLSE Institute, Detroit’s anti-poverty think tank. Katherine’s accomplishments and passion were recognized by the Three Dot Dash Foundation in her selection from hundreds of applicants from 80+ countries around the world as a 2020 Global Teen Leader. Katherine is truly a generous and humble leader who works tirelessly to help others. She is currently attending Duke University.
Alison Jakubcin has worked diligently to become a well-known community member that volunteers her time to various causes in Alpena. While Alpena is the largest city in her area, much of the programming she works to support carries across the counties surrounding the Alpena community. Alison’s time spent with United Way of Northeast Michigan has been critical in two ways; first, her time spent as co-fundraising chair raised money that served several local non-profits that rely on the support of the United Way of Northeast Michigan. After serving two terms in that position, Alison realized with the long-time Executive Director retiring, the transition period of losing leadership and monitoring the funds she helped raise may be a lot for the organization to overcome. Because of this, Alison accepted a board position and has helped navigate the organization in an exciting new direction that will continue to impact Northeast Michigan. Alison isn't just inspiring in her dedication to support several good causes behind the scenes, but in 2018 she was diagnosed with a severe case of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The onslaught of RA has caused Alison to lose a tremendous amount of weight as her body battles against itself, but through this, she still perseveres and gives back to her community.
St. Clair County
St. Clair County Pharmacist Jim Kaski has been serving as the president of Blue Water Immunization Partnership since 2019. This initiative is dedicated to increasing the vaccination rates in the county due to it being among the worst vaccinated counties in the state. Shortly after the pandemic began, Jim energized the group to strategize ways to help their vaccine-hesitant community. Jim helped coordinate numerous county-wide vaccine clinics where he volunteered uncountable hours inoculating residents. As a certified pharmacist immunizer, Jim donated hundreds of hours of his time to not only provide vaccinations, but to provide reassurance about its safety and effectiveness. Jim has a calm, quiet, sincere, and genuine approach that allows people to make an informed decision. Jim has saved many lives by volunteering his time to organize and support numerous clinics. Throughout this period, Jim also served as the Pharmacy Representative for the St. Clair County Emergency Management Department, president of the St. Clair County Pharmacists Association, representative of the Macomb County Pharmacist Association, member of the St. Clair County Substance Abuse Committee, St. Clair County Representative for the MPRO Social Isolation & Loneliness initiative and Cross Jurisdictional Vaccination Planning Committee. Jim’s enthusiasm to help is contagious. Other people are drawn to volunteer as they are inspired by his efforts.
Dr. Michael Lutz
Dr. Michael Lutz formed the MIU Men’s Health Foundation in 2008 to address health disparities among Michigan men. Specifically, he observed a lack of available healthcare and early detection of treatable diseases for urban men in Michigan. Now in its 13th year, Dr. Lutz’s Men’s Health Foundation has grown to become a leading advocacy organization addressing men’s health disparities, identifying diseases early when many are treatable, and supporting men during treatment. Data gathered at foundation events confirmed that race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and geographic location are key factors contributing to the lack of available healthcare and disparities in men’s health. Since its inception, Dr. Lutz’s Men’s Health Foundation has provided more than 150,000 free health screenings to 10,000+ Michigan men. Each year his foundation expands its offerings by providing additional services based on need. More than 300 volunteers provide 3,000+ volunteer hours each year to make these Michigan healthcare events possible. 97.6 cents of every dollar raised by Dr. Lutz’s Men’s Health Foundation goes directly to programs and services benefiting Michigan men and their families. The Foundation is regularly recognized by the Governor’s office and Michigan businesses for improving the lives of Michigan men and their families.
Dr. Amy Yorke
Dr. Amy Yorke makes a tremendous impact in the Flint community by paving a path for access to health and wellness for underserved residents. She generously volunteers her time to facilitate and mentor physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nursing students as they work with community partners at HEART. HEART stands for Health Equity Action Research & Teaching and is a student and faculty collaborative pro-bono health service based in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Michigan-Flint. As part of HEART, Dr. Yorke oversees weekly individual physical therapy patient visits for people in the Flint area who have chronic diseases and have exhausted their physical therapy benefits, an exercise class for people with Parkinson disease, and a walking class for people who have had a stroke and want to improve their ability to walk. These programs provide patients and their caregivers a welcome environment to engage in exercise and support one another during difficult and challenging situations. Dr. Yorke’s tireless efforts and investments with organizing and implementing these opportunities yield extraordinary dividends to students, clinicians, and the community. She is an inspiration for others to volunteer, serve, and give back to the community.
Gleaners Community Food Bank
Gleaners Community Food Bank provides households with access to sufficient, nutritious food and related resources. They accomplish this through collaboration, efficient operations, education, and innovative solutions to achieve a hunger-free community. Headquartered in Detroit, Gleaners serves five southeastern Michigan counties: Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe, providing food through more than 600 partner agencies, including schools, soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and others. Last year, Gleaners distributed more than 47 million pounds of food – including 16 million pounds of fresh produce and more than 5 million pounds of dairy – and empowered more than 600,000 households across Southeast Michigan with food and food programs, with more than 1.5 million touchpoints. In 2019, Gleaners was named “Food Bank of the Year” by Feeding America, a national association of more than 200 food banks, and Gleaners was one of the first food banks in the U.S. to launch programs addressing the link between food insecurity and health, forming partnerships with healthcare institutions, government, and corporations, among others. Beginning in 2017, Gleaners partnered with Henry Ford Health System to offer Henry’s Groceries for Health. Over the course of two phases, the program delivered nutritious food boxes to over 1,000 patients experiencing food insecurity and managing chronic illness. Earning national recognition and healthcare awards, Gleaners is currently pursuing opportunities that will further expand Henry’s Groceries’ proven impact. Every dollar donated to Gleaners provides three meals, and 94 cents of every donated dollar goes to food and food programs. Together with devoted volunteers providing thousands of service hours, Gleaners is dedicated to solving hunger in Southeast Michigan, bringing greater health, stability, and empowerment to families.
Lighthouse was established in 2019 when South Oakland Shelter and Lighthouse of Oakland County combined forces to provide a stronger response to poverty. With over 80 years of combined experience, Lighthouse aims to be a Beacon of Hope to their neighbors in need. Lighthouse endeavors to build equitable communities that alleviate poverty in partnership with and in service to individuals, families, and organizations. Last year, Lighthouse served 27,314 individuals through their food distribution program and provided 428 individuals with 38,833 nights of shelter, daily meals, and essential services. Additionally, Lighthouse assisted 1,232 households in preventing their eviction in 2021. Across all their housing programs in 2021, Lighthouse served 569 individuals from 238 households. Addressing systemic housing disparities, they work to develop high quality affordable housing in communities with enough amenities for families to thrive and be lifted out of poverty. Lighthouse addresses this need through a multifaceted strategy that currently includes building and developing new affordable housing and acquiring and renovating existing affordable housing. Overall, their service approach is to provide immediate access to emergency services including food and shelter, while also focusing on long-term housing solutions and ongoing supportive case management services. This approach includes engaging over 11,000 volunteers that provide about 40,000 hours of service each year.
National Service Impact Award
Cortnie Parish is the spouse of an Iraq War veteran and she saw first-hand the impact on veterans and their families when they return home from combat service. As a result, she co-founded VETLIFE with her husband. VETLIFE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting veterans to benefits. Michigan is home to over 600,000 veterans, but in 2019 less than 18% of that population were connected to a federal benefit earned through their military service. To address this challenge, she chose to launch a large free event for veterans and their families called Vet Fest. Since 2018 it has connected tens of thousands of veterans to benefits and helped veterans and their families through difficult times. A person who attended Vet Fest reported "I think you saved my husband’s life - he is an Army veteran and today is the first time he's left the house in six months." Cortnie inspires others through her service. She works with community resource providers to help educate them on what benefits veterans are entitled to. She has created several other events that help food insecure veterans, homeless veterans and veterans struggling with mental health concerns. Without her selfless service more veterans would fall through the cracks.
Thomas Steele’s intrinsic commitment to community began in his childhood as a Boy Scout, blossomed during his late teens and early 20s as a submariner in the U.S. Navy, and continues to flourish through his service with food banks, literacy programs, historic property preservation/research, and animal rescues. He does not have one particular service or philanthropic passion; he instead volunteers his time to anyone he finds in need. In addition to these volunteer efforts, Thomas is also a supporter of the American Veterans Archeological Recovery, History Flight, Yankee Air Museum, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, The National World War II Museum, The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant and Detroit Horse Power. Thomas also has a passion for memorializing everyday Michiganders who have served in the military and spends his free time researching African-American soldiers and lesser-known individuals who processed through Detroit’s Historic Fort Wayne. Through his research, he created the Historic Fort Wayne Detroit Michigan Research Facebook Group and a commemorative website. Thomas is guided by a personal commitment to social accountability, driven by the belief that “If not us, who? If not now, when?”
June Swift has been an inspiration to everyone at Senior Neighbors since 2013 when she began serving as a Foster Grandparent volunteer at Harrison Park School. She has accrued 7,308 hours of service during the last seven years. As part of the program, June is only required to serve six students per year, but she instead insists on serving over 20 students. Her positive attitude and heart-warming smile are contagious. She lights up when she is with the students and it is evident that helping them is her passion. All who know her say she goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure all students find the joy of reading and learning. She also volunteers at the Bethlehem Baptist Church, serving as the President of the Choir Board and volunteers with the Standale Baptist church assisting elementary students learn. June is well loved and respected by countless teachers and children and she excels in helping children gain self-confidence as she helps foster a strong desire and love of learning.
YouthWork AmeriCorps Program - Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan
YouthWork Conservation Corps is a unique AmeriCorps program designed to develop young people and their communities through the completion of environmental conservation service projects. Located within Child and Family Services, YouthWork provides vulnerable young adults ages 16-35 with hands on job and life skills training while they serve as AmeriCorps members. The crews complete various service-based stewardship projects for nonprofit and public partners across Michigan. Projects include maintaining, improving, and protecting public lands, waterways, trails, natural habitats, along with other activities. The program supports more than 100 AmeriCorps members annually. At the heart of YouthWork is an inclusive culture where their diverse members are met with respect and kindness. As a mission-driven program, it proudly accepts and deliberately recruits members from varying backgrounds, with different talents and capabilities. They especially target young adults who face barriers to employment. Since the program began in 2018, they have helped to improve over 2,500 acres of public land, constructed 300 miles of trails, planted over 100,000 native plants and trees, diverted 30 tons of recycle materials from the waste system, and constructed or rehabbed 250 historic and public structures.
Economic Opportunity Coaching Corps AmeriCorps Program – Peckham, Inc.
The Economic Opportunity Coaching Program serves people with disabilities, refugees and low-income individuals employed by Peckham, Inc. Peckham is an award-winning, large-scale community vocational rehabilitation organization based in Lansing. The program is designed to assist individuals gain financial literacy and employability skills via one-to-one and group coaching sessions. The program has four focus areas: financial literacy, employability skills, adult literacy and tax preparation. AmeriCorps members serve Peckham clients (Team Members) in these four focus areas with the goal of increasing their overall economic opportunity utilizing coaching as a method of education and skill development. Each year the program helps about 600 clients gain financial literacy and 600 clients gain employability skills. Program Partners include Michigan State University Federal Credit Union and the Capital Area United Way. In addition, AmeriCorps members take part in service projects at the local and regional level in partnership with other AmeriCorps programs and community organizations. The AmeriCorps coaching program develops relevant training material, utilizes effective resource management, and embraces collaboration serving alongside Peckham staff, to provide positive change in clients’ personal and professional growth while aligning with business goals.
Youth Service Impact Award
Kimber Bishop-Yanke is the founder of Kids Empowered, a business that offers programs to teach kids how to stand up to bullying and unfriendly classmates and training to empower children to build confidence, emotional intelligence and social skills. The program includes coaching, counseling, day camps, workshops, and professional development. Kids Empowered On the Move, the non-profit provides these programs for schools and organizations that serve children who are facing poverty. At the beginning of the pandemic, Kimber recognized that those in poverty were going to struggle with food access and thus she raised the funds needed to deliver food to 200 families in the first two weeks. Kimber joined forces with My Covid Response and through her team of volunteers has delivered over 10,000 deliveries of food.
Over 1,000 volunteers and supporters have participated in delivering coats, clothing, bedding, beds, furniture, household items, books, food, Easter Dinner, and adopted 200 families for Christmas and Easter. Over $50,000 this year has been used to provide temporary hotel shelter for homeless families. Money was raised to buy four mobile homes for homeless families. Over 20 homeless families have been housed and they have helped numerous other homeless families when they are housed with furniture. Kimber's soccer teammates built 60 little desks for children to do on-line school at home. It is because of her tremendous hard work and dedication, that she has positively impacted children, families, and communities within the Metro Detroit area on a massive scale. In addition, she is passionate about meeting the needs of people in poverty. She was named Chair of the Oakland County Task Force on Poverty and Homelessness to bring a collaborative approach to the effort
Diane Feenstra serves as a loving, generous mentor to a teen mother through the nonprofit, Generations. The organizations mission is that lives can be changed by cultivating trusting, healthy relationships. Its mission is to empower teen parents to become good parents and help them believe they are deserving and capable of achieving their dreams. Diane has exhibited this mission in her work with her mentee. They developed a close and supportive relationship where Diane fiercely advocated for and encouraged her mentee. Diane's warmth and compassion allowed her to walk alongside her mentee. This past summer, Diane drove her to her internship daily at a childcare center, ensuring she arrived on time and was prepared for her workday. These drives resulted in the two forming a trusting relationship where Diane provided compassion and guidance. At the completion of the mentee’s internship, she was offered a position at the childcare center. This gave her the financial ability to move out of an abusive relationship and live independently with her daughter. Diane then helped her find a new place to live, obtain the necessary household items, and provided lessons to allow her to obtain a driver’s license. It is because of Diane’s constant support and encouragement that her mentee transformed her life and became an independent and confident young woman that is ready to raise her daughter.
Stephen D. Mayfield
Officer Stephen Mayfield has had a long and distinguished life of community service. He co-founded the U of M-Flint’s Block Club, serving as the advisor for 10 years. As part of this organization students and Stephen engage in community service. Together they have raised funds to provide educational assistance to students, collected food donations to meet community needs, coordinated the Reading and Rising Community book program to exchange thoughts on social issues, conducted visitations at nursing homes, and participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Outside of the college he has served as a youth football coach, Police Athletic League Volunteer, supported the Youth Leadership Academy, and developed after school sports and career building activities. His examples of going above and beyond in service to others has inspired countless youth to become actively engaged in community service and completing their education. Stephen is viewed as a treasure in his community. It is evident to all who know him that he has an incredible commitment to being an instrument of hope and change to many.
Prior to Cathrine’s employment at General Motors, she worked as a flight crew member. She witnessed gifts delivered and loaded onto aircrafts to support Operation Good Cheer (OGC). OGC is an annual event sponsored by Child and Family Services of Michigan to ensure Christmas wishes would come true for children in foster care. The success of this program relies upon volunteers to receive children’s wish lists, purchase and wrap presents, and deliver them to designated locations. Cathrine was emotionally moved by this organization’s mission and was inspired to help. Cathrine began her involvement with OGC by sponsoring children with her family, but she wanted to do more. In 2015, Cathrine began championing OGC’s cause to her colleagues at General Motors. That year they sponsored 65 children, 20 of which Cathrine managed by inspiring others within her organization. “Cathrine’s love for the program and the idea of giving back to those less fortunate became just as important to all of us as it was to her,” said one co-worker. Each year, GM employees sponsored more and more children. Co-workers were inspired and said, “she was emotional, eager, and zealous about serving others.” To Cathrine, OGC wasn’t seasonal, she presented the program year-long. Cathrine networked, built relationships, and asked to present the program to different organizations throughout GM. In 2020, GM employees sponsored over 800 foster children, 173 of which Cathrine directly managed through her contacts — but who knows how much more Cathrine would have achieved if only given more time. On February 13th of 2021, Cathrine passed away from cancer. A wife, a mother of twin girls, a daughter, a sister, and a friend, her death is certainly a deep and profound loss. Cathrine wasn’t just a heroine for the children, she was for all employees at General Motors who wanted to help but unsure how to start. Admired by all who knew her, Cathrine was always a step above what one expected, a genuinely empathetic and outstanding individual; she was a hero.
Elizabeth Voglewede is the epitome of giving herself to create opportunity, equality, and a better community for all. Elizabeth served to support many communities and organizations during the last two decades. Elizabeth has been a lifelong teacher, mentor, coach, and leader. She served as an elementary teacher in Benton Harbor and middle school teacher in Berrien Springs, where she was also a cross country coach. After stepping away from teaching, Elizabeth founded a local chapter of MOMs Club International, creating support for local new mothers. She helped in continuing to support education by becoming President of a cooperative preschool, leading it for several years. Elizabeth donated time to tutor students, support teachers, and even set up a school dissection program in the elementary school as programs were cut. Elizabeth served as the President of the PTO and served on the Board of the band and orchestra parents. She also served as a coach and site liaison for Girls on the Run, constantly seeking ways to bring kids opportunities to grow and become their best. Simultaneous to helping at the schools, Elizabeth has been a Girl Scout leader for over 20 years. When COVID hit hard in 2020, Elizabeth did not hesitate to take on more. She volunteered to help support vaccine clinics and found ways to support those most affected. Always an advocate of kids and the most vulnerable in our community, she trained and became a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer. Elizabeth helped foster kids by supporting them through the courts during times of both virtual and in-person sessions. She has already impacted the outcomes of several children, changing their lives forever. She chose to do even more by becoming a guardianship reviewer for the courts. Elizabeth brings the best of herself in service of others, without seeking attention, awards, or accolades.
Career Technical Education Committee – Marquette & Alger Counties
Marquette & Alger Counties
The Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency (MARESA) is the only Intermediary School District in the Upper Peninsula that does not collect a Career and Technical Education (CTE) millage and one of only a handful statewide lacking this important revenue stream. Despite this fiscal handicap, the MARESA and its constituents school districts provide the largest and most diverse array of CTE programs in the Upper Peninsula and is one of the top CTE programs in the state. The CTE committee, with its strong volunteer leadership, provides many programs, including the Marquette-Alger Technical Middle College, the Geometry in Construction STEM program, the CTE Magazine career exploration resource, and recruitment of young talent into the professional trades. The committee has secured over $765,000 in direct funding for the programs. In addition, the committee provides volunteer support to sustain the essential programs. One of the main goals of the committee is to help high school students make the best possible career decisions and find their future path. The CTE committee pooled resources of smaller working groups to make a larger impact. With more than 50 members, this group of committed volunteers are directing their energy to the greater good of the youth of this two-county region. Even with all its success, the committee is not ready to rest just yet. Each year as they accomplish some of their goals, the Committee simply replaces them with new and innovative ideas that will provide local students with multiple career laddering opportunities and employers with the talent they so desperately need.
Detroit Economic Club
The Detroit Economic Club’s (DEC) Career Readiness Academy (CRA), now in its eighth year, is a program that pairs DEC Young Leader (YL) member volunteer mentors with Southeast Michigan high school students for the purpose of career exploration, navigation and preparation. Since its launch, over 1,600 students from 39 high schools have graduated from CRA. Mentors lead students in a variety of sessions over a six-month period in critical thinking exercises to explore career interests including future jobs in Michigan. This portion of CRA includes illustrating the breadth of available careers, associated education and financial needs, and potential income. A partnership with Oakland Community College lets students learn about careers first-hand in skilled trades, advanced manufacturing, and emergency services. The balance of CRA sessions teaches students how to market themselves to achieve their desired career. These sessions include how to use LinkedIn for networking and internships, interview and networking training, how to craft an elevator pitch and the importance of personal brand. Near the end of the program, YL mentors host students at their place of employment where they can visualize the many careers within a company. For the final session students “graduate” by attending a DEC meeting where they can share lessons learned during CRA and network with members for career advice.
Rhonda Walker Foundation
The Rhonda Walker Foundation (RWF) was founded in 2003 to empower inner-city teen girls towards becoming strong, confident, successful, and moral future leaders. Since its founding, the Foundation has impacted hundreds of teen girls and has provided more than $500K in college scholarships. The signature five-year, comprehensive Girls into Women Program consists of six foundation pillars, including College Prep, Personal Development, Career Development, Health and Wellness, Community Outreach and Cultural Awareness, and Mentoring which encompasses signature programming such as Camp I Can Summer Leadership and Empowerment Retreat, Dress for Success, and the RWF Cares Youth Community Volunteer Initiative. The Foundation's comprehensive programming approach has led to a 100% high school graduation rate and college enrollment rate amongst teens completing the program with 95% completing post-secondary education. The Rhonda Walker Foundation continues to engage and empower inner-city teen girls through innovative programming in collaboration with industry-leading corporate and community partners, volunteers, and mentors. Volunteers are an integral part of providing services for teens in the program including facilitating workshops, providing support for community outreach programs, and mentoring the girls in the program. Eligible teens are nominated for admission into the program by seven Detroit partner schools.
Corporate Social Impact Award
Barton Malow is widely known for being active in the communities where its offices and jobsites are located. A family-run business for nearly all of its 98 years, the Maibach family leads this focus on giving back and continually nourishes and promotes the culture throughout the organization. Barton Malow holds an annual Community Week, during which all team members are invited to volunteer at pre-scheduled volunteer activities for charities near their offices and jobsites. It started as Community Day in August 2014 as part of the celebration of Barton Malow’s 90th year. The day of service then expanded to a week and continues to occur during the first week of August. In 2022, Community Week included more than 800 Barton Malow volunteers at 107 different volunteer activities in 14 states and two countries. The volunteer time totaled more than 3,500 hours, all on company time. In Michigan, 500 volunteers served in communities from Monroe to Midland and Detroit to Grand Rapids, giving 2,000 hours. Barton Malow’s volunteers renovated homes, performed indoor and outdoor cleanups and maintenance, led kids’ activities, sorted and packed food, organized and distributed donated goods, and performed various other tasks. In addition to the gift of time and hard work, Barton Malow’s Foundation supports the communities where their team members live, work, and play with financial support totaling more than $500,000 annually.
The Detroit Pistons community and social responsibility mission is to use the game of basketball as a vehicle for change that will inspire and impact the community. The four pillars of focus are education, health and fitness, mentoring, and equality with the flagship program of Basketball for All serving as the primary community initiative. The Detroit Pistons are producing lasting change by investing in Detroit neighborhoods and the people who live there. The team is in the final phase of a six-year city courts program in partnership with the City of Detroit that has refurbished 60 basketball courts in parks throughout the city. In partnership with Brilliant Detroit, the club helped purchase and renovate an abandoned home and turn it into an early childhood/family center. The project will ensure that families with young children have what they need to be school ready, healthy, and stable. Last May, Pistons owner Tom Gores, in collaboration with Pistons players and the entire organization announced a $20 million commitment to work with the City of Detroit and provide a new community center at Brennan Pool and Rouge Park.
The Detroit Pistons Foundation administers grants for charitable purposes in the areas of education and mentoring, health and fitness, and youth leadership and development. The Detroit Pistons Foundation has committed more than 4.3 million in grants to eight Metro Detroit charities with the goal of being a stakeholder and contributor to the continued revitalization of Detroit and the region.
As the nation’s leading producer of hyper-pure polysilicon used in the semiconductor and solar industries, Hemlock Semiconductor (HSC) has been part of the Great Lakes Bay Region community for over 60 years, connecting and energizing the world we share through silicon technology. HSC’s 1,300 employees live, work and raise their families in communities across the region. That’s why – every day and every year – HSC takes action to improve the quality of life for all its neighbors through its corporate citizenship program and through its employees’ extraordinary commitment to volunteerism. In 2021, HSC employees contributed over 6,800 hours to more than 100 community organizations and initiatives across the region, from serving as volunteer firefighters to planting trees at community parks to distributing food and clothing to those in need. In addition, HSC donates nearly $1 million annually to support projects and programs that make GLBR communities more sustainable, equitable and resilient. By partnering with local organizations and providing grants that enhance community vitality, support public safety and promote STEM education, HSC helps build a sense of pride in both the company and the community. HSC’s Community and Regional Empowerment (CARE) Fund provides up to $30,000 for local projects and programs sponsored by schools, units of government and local groups with a 501(c)(3) designation. HSC’s Fire Service Training Sponsorships help area first responders cover the cost of sending enrollees to local fire training academies and acquiring needed training equipment. All of these activities support Hemlock Semiconductor’s vision to be a family-friendly, community-oriented company whose employees and products have a positive effect on the world.
Lake Trust Credit Union
As a Community Development Financial Institution, Lake Trust Credit Union seeks to create a world in which everyone thrives. Lake Trust has launched several giveback initiatives to fill unmet needs in Michigan, including Meals For Michigan, to support area food banks; the Great Lakes Giveback, to provide grants for small businesses during the pandemic; and the home loan giveback program, where a housing nonprofit is supported each time a member closes a home loan. Knowing that small businesses are the heart of any community, Lake Trust sponsors several business incubator spaces, like Allen Neighborhood Center, Middle Village Micro Market and the Growing Hope Incubator Kitchen.
Lake Trust’s team of nearly 450 people are dedicated to giving back. They’ve donated over 39,000 volunteer hours since 2015. They host an annual Powered By Good Day, where team members spend time volunteering at nonprofits across the state. To create further philanthropic impact, the credit union founded the Lake Trust Foundation in 2012 and has provided over $632,000 in grants and contributions to support wellbeing efforts. The Foundation has also awarded a cumulative total value of $1.7 million in college and trade school scholarships to support individuals on their path to a new career.
In addition to their commitment to US manufacturing of heavy-duty industrial casters, for 35 years Caster Concepts, Inc. has committed to community excellence. What started as small conscious choices to support employees has grown into Caster Cares. As the philanthropic arm of the organization, Caster Cares works with local civic groups and beyond to improve and positively impact the communities where their employees reside. It’s an approach centered on sustainable education, economic development, and community engagement. Caster Concepts plays an integral role in the founding and continuation of Swingin’ at the Shell, a free community summer concert series for 18 years and counting. This includes the upkeep of the historic band shell, so it remains a valuable community asset. Educating youth is also at the forefront with INNOVATE Albion, a nonprofit founded in partnership with Caster Concepts. FIRST Robotics, Solidworks, and Computer Coding are pillars of the experiences they provide. There is also the commitment to the economic vitality and development of Albion. In the past five years, CCI leaders have partnered to relocate or open seven small businesses on Albion’s main street contributing to a walkable and vibrant downtown for residents and visitors. Together, these are all part of Caster Concept’s purpose to manufacture greatness within their employees to positively impact their families, communities and customers.