ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University of Michigan (U-M) Center for Social Impact announced the winners of its campus-wide 2016 Social Impact Challenge last night. The top team took home a $2,500 cash prize and will partner with the Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) to implement redevelopment solutions for the former Tigers Stadium, which will be converted into a youth sports center and the permanent headquarters for Detroit PAL.
Team Eye of the Tiger, comprised of four graduate students from the U-M Ross School of Business, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Ford School of Public Policy, won for their innovative and research-driven proposal that highlighted how to best utilize the new playfield, preserve the site's history and generate enough revenue to effectively operate Detroit PAL's new facility.
Winning students Aaron Ledbetter, Andrew Kelley, Karen Yocky and Michelle Rubin spent the semester learning about the history and plans for the former Tiger Stadium, visiting with Detroit stakeholders, attending a PAL youth event and combing through economic and program data. Their recommendations included corporate and alumni sponsorships, social media awareness campaigns, integration of former heroes such as Ernie Harwell, enhanced sports leagues for both boys and girls and co-hosted community events.
"We're excited about creating lasting opportunities for kids because it's integral for the future of Detroit," said public policy student Aaron Ledbetter, a former historian who is passionate about preserving the city's landmarks.
After rounds of competition, the final decision was adjudicated by challenge sponsors who are deeply embedded in Detroit revitalization: Tonya Allen, president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation; Rico Razo, District 6 manager of the City of Detroit; Thom Linn, chairman of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy; and Tim Richey, CEO of Detroit PAL.
"We are very grateful for the Challenge, which has brought forth several fundraising and community engagement ideas for our redevelopment plans of historic Tiger Stadium," said Richey. "All of the talented students who competed are truly deserving of recognition, but we're especially thrilled to begin working with Team Eye of the Tiger, whose ideas impressed our board of directors and Detroit PAL staff."
The anticipated groundbreaking for the new Detroit PAL facility is planned for April. As part of the implementation plan, students will work directly with Detroit PAL and its partners to execute their vision for the nonprofit's long-term sustainability and growth.
"We believe the best way to learn about delivering social impact is to actually work in the community," said the Center for Social Impact's managing director, Rishi Moudgil. "Our students are engaged across sectors and disciplines on real challenges and we look forward to assisting Detroit PAL and their partners with this next stage."
About the Social Impact Challenge
Every winter semester, the University of Michigan's Center for Social Impact partners with a Detroit-based nonprofit on a project that helps tackle pressing strategic roadblocks. The Social Impact Challenge is an opportunity for graduate and undergraduate students across the entire university to collaborate and solve complex social issues in a competitive environment with real-world implications.
About the Center for Social Impact
Since its inception in 2014, the Center for Social Impact at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business has engaged hundreds of students across U-M and worked with a wide array of partners to define and advance the practice of social impact, social innovation and entrepreneurship. The center has a significant interest and stake in the city of Detroit. For more information, visit socialimpact.umich.edu.
About Detroit PAL
Detroit PAL is a nonprofit organization positively impacting the lives of nearly 12,000 children each year through athletic, academic and leadership development programs with roots dating back to 1969. Detroit PAL empowers the community by training volunteer coaches and creating safe places for kids to play. Each year, Detroit PAL teaches nearly 1,700 caring community members how to be encouraging and effective mentors. For more information, visit www.detroitpal.org.
SOURCE The Stephen M. Ross Center for Social Impact