DETROIT, July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- University of Detroit Mercy has been awarded a $750,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support the Master of Community Development (MCD) Program. The grant is intended to increase and support the student diversity of the MCD program. The grant will provide students from diverse backgrounds with scholarships, co-op placements and fellowships as they learn to become leaders in sustainable community development.
The Master of Community Development Program (MCD), which is a graduate degree in UDM's School of Architecture, was initiated in January of 2006. The program prepares students for careers in real estate development, business management, and municipal planning and development. The Kellogg grant will fund scholarships and cooperative education placements for second-year students and fellowships for recent graduates. All recipients will be working actively with non-profit organizations who will benefit from the work of UDM students.
"As a University with 136 years of educating and serving Detroit, this Kellogg Foundation grant reinforces the importance of our School of Architecture's work to advance UDM's Master of Community Development," said UDM President, Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi. "Receiving this grant as we celebrate the 50th year anniversary of the School of Architecture, the only one among the Jesuit and Mercy colleges and universities in the country, is a timely recognition of the faculty and students' community development activities."
The MCD Program is interdisciplinary and emphasizes a team approach to creating and regenerating urban communities and healthy, sustainable neighborhoods for families and children. Over the past five years, the MCD Program has worked with over 24 community partners including: All Generation Family Service, Ecorse; Bridging Communities; Capacity Developers Incorporated; Catholic Social Services of Wayne County; College Core Block Club; Detroit Community Schools; Detroit Gets Green; East Warren Business United; Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium; Gesu School; Hostel Detroit; James and Grace Lee Boggs Center; Martin Park District Association; Paul Robeson/Malcolm X Academy at Hally; St. Aloysius Catholic Church; St. Thomas Transition Center; U-SNAP-BAC (United Streets Networking and Planning Building a Community); UDM University Ministry; University Commons; Urban Neighborhood Initiatives; Vanguard Community Development Corporation; West Grand Boulevard Collaborative; and Young Nation.
"The generous support provided to the program from the foundation will allow us to greatly enhance our impact in the coming years and launch the W.K. Kellogg / UDM MCD Fellowship Program," said Will Wittig, Dean of the School of Architecture at UDM. Scholarships will support MCD students as they complete their capstone projects, which are developed by teams of students in direct collaboration with area non-profit agencies to explore new ideas and initiatives in our neighborhoods. Financial support will also enable students to select the option of pursuing an internship with a local agency in place of one of their elective courses. "This program will also allow several students to work full-time for a year with a local non-profit organization upon graduation, further enhancing the advancement of our community by providing real world experience for the students as they transition into a career in community development, as well as adding valuable capacity for the partnering organizations," he added.
"We are excited to support the MCD Program because it not only pairs well-trained professionals with critical community-based organizations, but creates a pipeline of diverse leaders that are prepared to strengthen neighborhoods in Detroit," said Sharnita C. Johnson, Kellogg Foundation program officer.
University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan's largest private comprehensive Catholic University, with more than 100 academic majors and programs. Sponsored by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the Religious Sisters of Mercy, the University has three campuses located in downtown and northwest Detroit.
UDM is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities and the largest of 16 Mercy institutions of higher education in the United States. For the 12th consecutive year, University of Detroit Mercy is listed in the top tier of Midwest colleges and universities in the 2013 edition of the U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges." In addition to the University's ranking rising from #23 to #20 in the magazine's annual list of regional universities, it was also one of the highest in the state.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.
Gary D. Lichtman
UDM Media Relations
SOURCE University of Detroit Mercy