Habitat for Humanity Receives Gift to Launch $25 Million Detroit Revitalization Initiative

GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson donates $1 million to "Leaders to ReBuild Detroit"

Feb 22, 2012, 13:30 ET from Habitat for Humanity International

DETROIT, Feb. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Habitat for Humanity today announced a $1 million personal gift from General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson, launching Habitat for Humanity Detroit's "Leaders to ReBuild Detroit," a three-year $25 million initiative to engage Detroit's corporate leaders in revitalizing the city. Roy Roberts, emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools, and Karla Henderson, chief development officer for the city of Detroit, helped announce the initiative and gift.

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"Leaders to ReBuild Detroit" will focus on the Morningside Commons neighborhood, serving a minimum of 500 families by 2014 through house construction, rehabilitation, critical repairs, and energy-efficiency upgrades and weatherization projects. Additionally, these families will participate in financial literacy training, homeownership workshops and community security initiatives provided by partnering organizations. The initiative is part of Habitat for Humanity's statewide $225 million ReBuild Michigan campaign to address affordable housing needs in more than 70 Michigan counties.

"Habitat's mission is to create affordable housing, but the broader strategy behind 'Leaders to ReBuild Detroit' is to integrate affordable housing work with community development and improvement, providing a holistic approach to problems caused by financial insecurity, foreclosures and unemployment," said Vincent Tilford, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Detroit. "This initiative will nearly triple the impact Habitat Detroit has had in the city to-date and leverage resources to rebuild Detroit communities."

The Akersons' cornerstone donation is intended to inspire other corporate leaders to contribute to Detroit's revitalization. The gift will fund house rehabilitation, construction and repairs in partnership with 20 families and weatherization projects in partnership with 12 families. 

"A strong America is built on strong communities, and building them starts with one hammer, one nail and one person who cares – from there, it's contagious," said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson.  "My wife, Karin, and I want to see this effort to rebuild Detroit catch on, spread out and draw scores more volunteers and millions more in contributions."

"Leaders to ReBuild Detroit" is collaboration among Habitat for Humanity Detroit, Habitat for Humanity Michigan and partnering organizations including the City of Detroit, Detroit Public Schools, Michigan State Housing Development Agency, Wayne County, the Detroit Land Bank Authority and Detroit Local Initiative Support Corporation.

"Having several schools in the Morningside Commons and immediately adjacent neighborhoods, Detroit Public Schools has a strong commitment to stabilizing and revitalizing this community," said Roy Roberts, DPS emergency manager. "We recently announced a comprehensive transformation aimed at improving academics and creating a more efficient system of high-performing schools. Included in that transformation plan is opening a new $46.5 million high school within this very community this fall."

To participate or donate to "Leaders to ReBuild Detroit," interested parties or individuals are encouraged to visit www.habitatdetroit.org or call 313-521-6691.

"It will take a community-wide effort to ensure the success of 'Leaders to ReBuild Detroit,'" Tilford said.  "It can be another major step in the collective effort to rebuild this great city – one neighborhood at a time."

About Habitat for Humanity Detroit

Habitat for Humanity Detroit is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit ecumenical Christian housing ministry providing decent, safe and affordable housing to low-income families in Detroit. Since 1986, the Detroit affiliate has rehabilitated and/or built new houses in partnership with more than 300 families. Financial support, gift-in-kind donations and volunteer labor allow Habitat for Humanity to continue building affordable homes with those in need of improved housing. For more information please visit www.habitatdetroit.org or call (313) 521-6691.

About Detroit Public Schools

Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is creating Centers of Excellence in every school within every neighborhood. The district's primary mission is educating students to perform at the highest academic level. DPS offers educational advantages to students throughout the district's 130-plus schools, including Netbooks for every student in grades 6-12, expanded time for reading and mathematics under a common core curriculum, pre-algebra for 7th graders, nine different languages and robust ESL (English as a Second Language) programs, Advanced Placement courses at every high school, and Fine Arts programs with instrumental music, vocal music and dance.  DPS also has 14 new charter schools led by educators with proven track records of raising achievement, 17 new state-of-the-art school buildings or major renovations, along with millions of dollars in school building improvements district-wide, business partners for every school to help raise student achievement, parent engagement initiatives, and safety and security enhancements. To learn more about our programs, visit www.detroitk12.org/.

About Habitat for Humanity Michigan

Habitat for Humanity Michigan (HFHM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides training, support and capacity building to the 76 Habitat for Humanity affiliates located throughout Michigan. Since 1993, Habitat for Humanity Michigan has helped make affordable housing a reality for families in nearly every county throughout Michigan. Habitat for Humanity Michigan brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. For more information, please visit http://www.habitatmichigan.org/ or call 800-467-5430.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International is a global nonprofit Christian housing organization that seeks to put God's love into action by bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Since 1976, Habitat has served more than 500,000 families by welcoming people of all races, religions and nationalities to construct, rehabilitate or preserve homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, please visit www.habitat.org, or follow us at www.facebook.com/habitat or at www.twitter.com/habitat_org or join Habitat's blog community at www.habitat.org/blog.



SOURCE Habitat for Humanity International