International Businessman Robert S. Shumake Makes Giving a Family Affair with Restoration of Learning Center in Ethiopia

Shumake Family Spearheads Charity Efforts for Addis Ababa Orphanage

Sep 13, 2011, 13:16 ET from Robert S. Shumake Foundation

DETROIT, Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- For Detroit-based businessman and philanthropist Robert S. Shumake, giving back is a priority. Promulgating what he refers to as his "double bottom line," making a profit and making a difference, Shumake works tirelessly to instill this concept in his community and within his own children. The Shumake family is diligent in their commitment to building a better world, from their efforts in the Dominican Republic, Canada, United States and Africa.  In keeping with this mantra the close knit brood recently launched the Shumake and Friends Legacy Academy at an orphanage learning center in the capital city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Shumake and his children, along with a small group of friends and family embarked on a 5 day trip to offer support to a struggling Ethiopian educational system ravished by the effects of HIV and economic downturn. The Shumakes happily greeted 3,000 students, all of whom are inflicted with or affected by HIV or AIDS, with gifts of food, toiletries, clothing and more.

Upon meeting with the center's Project Manager, the dedicated philanthropist was disheartened to find that there was no library, and the school barely had 50 books for its entire student body. The group immediately set out and searched countless mercados (African craft markets) until they found and purchased the entire curriculum for every student, 1st-12th grade.

Describing the work as 'exhausting yet fun,' Shumake's group focused next on the restoration aspects of the school. The students though unfamiliar with painting and renovation, were rallied by the generosity of their American visitors and joyfully joined the makeover efforts, subsequently learning useful skills to take back to their communities.

After tracking down endless gallons of the most cheerful hue of blue the Shumake teens could find, they learned that other necessary supplies were unavailable. They improvised for the lack of construction materials; cutting stalks of bamboo trees to fashion painting tools and recycled oil pans to use as trays. The learning center now houses the Shumake and Friends Legacy Academy; a library stocked with hundreds of curriculum-based books for each and every student.

This journey to Africa and opportunity to help less fortunate children proved to be an eye opening and life changing experience for Shumake's 17 year old son, Diop and his sisters, Amina, 15 and Jamelia, 19.

"We really got to see how blessed we are!" proclaimed Diop.

"It was a great experience. It showed me that I need to execute on opportunities. My dad has always said, 'if you go to other places, you gain you different perspectives' he never wanted us to be kids that are narrow minded." Diop added.

The Shumakes are gratified to have contributed to making a difference in the lives of the children in Addis Ababa, but have no plans of stopping there. Moved by the resilient spirit of the children at the center, Robert Shumake was compelled to create a new initiative called "Christmas in Ethiopia", to be launched in conjunction with his annual "Big Give," which raises money and thousands of pounds of clothing and food for local Detroit-area and overseas families. The new project involves securing funds and resources over the next few months to acquire 50 computers and other needs to expand the Shumake and Friends Legacy Academy with a technology lab.

For more information on the Shumake & Friends Legacy Academy or to learn how you can contribute to "Christmas in Ethiopia" please visit or contact Trea Day PR 678-327-8282 or 

Contact Media:

Trea Davenport, Senior Publicist

Trea Day Management & Publicity

(678) 327-8281 or

SOURCE Robert S. Shumake Foundation