ann arbor area community foundation to invest in ypsilanti

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) has just announced that they’ve made an initial decision as to how they will invest the $1 million legacy grant left by the Pfizer Foundation in the wake of pharmaceutical company closing their global research and development facility in Ann Arbor. The good news is, Ypsilanti figures prominently in their plans (pdf)… Essentially, they want to invest in three strategic areas. They are:

Ypsilanti Washtenaw County’s most challenged economy is also home to several compelling initiatives aimed at boosting its economic, cultural, and educational vibrance. AAACF has identified four of these efforts that will be evaluated for a potential partnership: the Early College Alliance; Eastern Michigan University’s Culture Zone; SPARK East; and the Ypsilanti Freighthouse.

Arts and Culture The area’s cultural scene is one of its most valuable assets, enriching not only our quality of life but our economic attractiveness and educational excellence. AAACF will strengthen the Arts Alliance of the Ann Arbor Area in order to improve the arts and culture sector of the county, guided by the recommendations of the Washtenaw Cultural Plan.

Early Childhood Development Washtenaw County’s community leaders have made a firm commitment to preparing all young children to succeed when they enter school, based on the clear findings that investment in young children today pays off in success for those individuals in the future. AAACF will collaborate with Washtenaw Success by 6, A Great Start Initiative, to bolster the community’s commitment to this top priority.

I’d like to personally thank Cheryl Elliott, President & CEO of the AACF, Debbie Beuche, Chair of the AAACF Board of Trustees, and everyone else from the organization that has shown an interest in our community thus far. Having been in a few meetings with them, discussing the unique challenges that our commuity faces, I can tell you that they genuinely want to see Ypsilanti succeed, not just economically, but culturally. I occasionally beat up on Ann Arbor here on my site, but I have to tell you that there are some damned fine people over there that think very highly of our quirky little community, and want to see us live up to our potential… And extra special thanks are owed to Bill Kinley, who first suggested that I talk with Cheryl and Debbie about our beloved, old Freighthouse. If we ever decide to bestow the title of Honorary Ypsilantian, Bill’s the first person that I’d think to nominate.

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One Comment

  1. Oliva
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    All this great news, very uplifting–the grant and acknowledgment of the mighty efforts of neighborhood groups and people, Springsteen playing for deserving EMU students,* McCain giving up here . . . but Obama staying, the VG Kids banners . . .

    It’s like an article (so much for citation) said a few weeks back, drawing upon a study re. success. Accomplishment has more to do with patience and perseverance than intelligence. Ah, whoops–not to discount all the genius around–just nice to see what perseverance can achieve. And will (goodwill and otherwise).

    *I had the enormous pleasure of meeting one EMU student and Obama volunteer named Brandy–we decorated together for the Countdown to Change event at Obama headquarters earlier this week (great turnout and food and camaraderie–and decorations!). What a glorious young woman. May she go far (yet remain in Ypsilanti after she graduates, as she hopes to do and we should be so lucky). Together we’re trying to think how we can keep the Obama office open as a spot for community organizing and many possibilities. Such a good location and place with good feeling–could help warm that part of town more, as it’s doing now, and contribute to things getting better and better here–

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