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Ilitch Charities Invests $50,000 in Innovative Community Programs

New Name Signals Expanded Mission to Include Economic Development Stimulus

as Means to Address Social Issues

DETROIT, April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Ilitch Charities for Children Chairman Christopher Ilitch today announced a total of $50,000 in grants to the Detroit Renaissance Foundation ($25,000) and the United Way of Southeastern Michigan ($25,000) for innovative community programs, demonstrating a broader scope for the charitable organization. In addition, Ilitch announced that effective immediately the 501(c)(3) organization is renamed Ilitch Charities in recognition of its expanded mission.

"We recognize the importance of being a good corporate citizen. Giving back has been a core value of the Ilitch companies for nearly half a century and is evidenced by our investments and support of this community in an effort to make it a better place for all," explained Ilitch. "We believe that broadening the Ilitch Charities mission to include a focus on economic development will allow us to address not only short-term needs, but support longer-term efforts that will result in increased jobs and an improved economy, which we believe attacks many social issues at the root. This approach, we believe, has the potential to cure problems, versus temporarily fixing them."

The new Ilitch Charities will invest in the community's future by supporting innovative, collaborative and measurable programs that promote economic development and spur job growth, which is a means to address social issues such as poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and hunger. The organization will fund programs that improve the well being of individuals in areas such as human services, job creation, education and recreation.

$50,000 in Grants

The first grant is a $25,000 contribution to the Detroit Renaissance Foundation toward the establishment of the Creative Economy Investment Fund. After in-depth research, Detroit Renaissance determined that there is viable opportunity to leverage creative assets in the region to stimulate economic growth and new jobs, which leads to an increase in the amount of disposable income in the community. The fund is being established to provide needed capital to entrepreneurs and small to mid-size companies to help them grow their creative businesses. Advertising, marketing, public relations, architecture, design, media, film, video, music and performing arts are examples of creative economy industries. Similar investment funds established in other regions have been successful in helping to grow creative economy businesses, thereby having a cascading effect that ultimately addresses the increased social challenges that can result from a slowed economy.

The second grant is a $25,000 contribution to United Way of Southeast Michigan in support of the innovative 2-1-1 program that provides people with easy access to health and human services on a 24/7 basis. A major community benefit of 2-1-1 is its ability to partner and collaborate across sectors in order that citizens in need of everything from food and shelter to help with mortgage foreclosure or assistance with prescription drugs and Medicare are linked to more than 10,000 programs and services throughout the region. Diverse and customer-focused, dialing 2-1-1 immediately connects a person in need with a specially trained operator who speaks English, Spanish or Arabic and begins the process of getting that person in contact with the right program for what they need.

"The announcement of these two grants directly supports our new mission," explained Ilitch. "Both Detroit Renaissance and United Way of Southeastern Michigan are community partners in the One D Initiative, and both organizations are committed to developing innovative and collaborative programs that advance community and economic development across our region. We believe the Creative Economy Initiative and the collaborative benefits of the 2-1-1 program offer a longer-term approach to solving the real and significant challenges our community faces today."

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: A History of Giving Back in the Community

Ilitch Charities is affiliated with the companies owned by Michael and Marian Ilitch, long-time Detroit entrepreneurs. Since 2000, the former Ilitch Charities for Children has worked to improve the lives of children in the areas of health, education and recreation. The organization has recently provided funding to build an infant care center at C.O.T.S. (Coalition on Temporary Shelter), and has supported the Junior Achievement Finance Park in Detroit, Math Corps at Wayne State University, Mosaic Youth Theater, MI-COPS (Michigan Concerns of Police Survivors), Little Caesars AAA Hockey and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League, among many others. In total, the organization has donated more than $1.6 million since its inception. For more information, visit

SOURCE Ilitch Charities
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