Mike Ilitch School of Business and Detroit Police Department launch “The D and the Leader in Me” thanks to grant from Ford Motor Company Fund

The Ford Motor Company Fund has named the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business – and the D and the Leader in Me project – as one of ten projects worldwide to receive a $25,000 grant through the Ford College Community Challenge.

Led by Ilitch School Associate Dean Toni Somers, Ilitch School faculty member Sheri Perelli, and Ilitch School student and 1st Assistant Chief of Police Lashinda Stair, the D and the Leader in Me will provide an opportunity for Detroit youth to learn from and collaborate with business students and Detroit law enforcement officers on the city’s revitalization. Additional undergraduate and graduate students – including participating DPD officers from the Ilitch School’s landmark Detroit Police Department Leadership Academy (DPDLA) – will instruct, mentor and lead 32 Detroit sophomores and juniors in leadership training and activities at local community sites. Participants are 10th and 11th graders representing 12 city high schools across eight police precincts.

Beginning April 13, participants will spend 10 Saturdays in educational sessions focusing on a topic related to leadership and aspects of Detroit’s revitalization. In conjunction with the Ilitch School’s various partners, including civic and corporate partners involved with the DPDLA, sessions will be hosted at distinguished venues throughout the city. Students will be tasked with keeping electronic journals of their experiences through text, photos and video content, in addition to working as teams to create multi-media presentations. All students who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate at a special ceremony at the Mike Ilitch School of Business, attended by program faculty, civic leaders and students’ families.

“The organizations and people who are making Detroit’s ongoing renaissance possible are a living, breathing example of what good leadership is and does,” Somers said. “The D and the Leader in Me takes advantage of this to educate and inspire the next generation of leaders right in their own backyard.”

Through the Ford College Community Challenge, Ford Motor Company Fund aims to support colleges and universities as they work with students to design and develop tangible community projects that address critical local needs in new ways, with a focus on helping the community become a more sustainable place to work and live.

“Education and community engagement are important cornerstones of Ford Fund’s mission to strengthen communities and make people’s lives better,” said Farah Harb, global education analyst, Ford Fund. “The students participating in this unique program will learn what leadership is all about, as they develop essential skills to help the city continue moving forward in the future.”

About Ford Motor Company Fund

Ford Motor Company Fund is the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. Established in 1949, Ford Fund invests in transformational programs that advance innovation, empower people, promote social mobility and improve community prosperity. Ford Fund works with local and global partners to create opportunities in education, encourage safe driving, enlist employee volunteers and enrich community life. Ford Fund’s signature programs include Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford College Community Challenge, Ford Driving Dreams, Ford Driving Skills for Life, Ford Next Generation Learning and the Ford Volunteer Corps. For more information, visit http://community.ford.com or join us on Facebook @FordFund and Twitter @FordFund.

About the Mike Ilitch School of Business

The Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business prepares students for challenging and rewarding careers, advances the boundaries of scholarly and practitioner knowledge, and enhances the economic vitality of the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and beyond through its programs, research and community engagement. Established in 1946, the business school was renamed in 2015 in recognition of a $40 million gift from Mike and Marian Ilitch. Thanks to this lead investment, the school moved to a new state-of-the-art building in the heart of the District Detroit in 2018, and academic programming and collaboration with city businesses are expanding. For more information, visit ilitchbusiness.wayne.edu


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