GM makes $50 million commitment to Detroit for education, jobs, neighborhoods

DETROIT — General Motors has made a $50 million commitment to expand access to education and employment opportunities for Detroiters and strengthen the city’s neighborhoods.

In a statement Tuesday, GM said it is launching the initiative in collaboration with the city of Detroit.

GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan were set to announce the new commitment at an event in the city.

“As the home of our headquarters for more than a century, Detroit has always been a priority for General Motors,” Barra said in a news release.

“We’re invested in supporting a strong future for this community. Our new commitment will help break down barriers and promote growth through education and economic success.”

In its first round of funding as part of the larger commitment, GM has made $4 million in grants, including:

  • $1.25 million to support Human-I-T’s work connecting Detroiters to a comprehensive digital support system that includes Internet connectivity, devices, tech support and digital literacy skills to create greater access to education and employment
  • $1 million to the Detroit at Work People Plan and Community Health Corps to support a multifaceted approach to employment, health and well-being resources coordinated across the city with key agencies
  • $1 million to United Way’s Ride United, a mobility initiative that aims to address transportation barriers for workers through ongoing partnerships with on-demand ride services and United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s local social service agency partners
  • $750,000 to Beyond Basics to provide critical literacy education for students at Cody and Mumford high schools and support adults at the Family Literacy Center at Durfee Innovation Society

The new commitment to the city builds upon decades of support in Detroit, GM said. Last year, alone, it funded 57 projects in the city, efforts that were projected to impact over 250,000 individuals.

“We are honored and excited to work with nonprofit organizations that share our ambition to help Detroit thrive, especially through investments in education and workforce development opportunities for those who call it home,” said Terry Rhadigan, GM executive director of corporate giving, in the release.

GM is inviting nonprofits focused on providing access to education and employment opportunities for Detroiters and strengthening the city’s neighborhoods to apply for grant funding on its website. It is taking grant applications through September.

The $50 million commitment to the city follows GM’s 2020 announcement of a $2.2 billion investment to retool, upgrade and expand its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, known as Factory Zero, its single largest investment ever in a plant. Once operational, the plant will employ more than 2,200 and serve as the launchpad for the company’s multi-brand EV strategy, GM said.

And beginning Sept. 20, more than 450 GM employees will volunteer at nonprofits across the city as part of the 10th annual GM Cares Week.

The carmaker’s new, $50 million commitment “solidifies the company’s investment in the people of Detroit, ensuring Detroiters have the skills they need to access these kinds of opportunities for years to come,” Duggan said.

GM transitioned from a foundation-based model of giving, with grants made by the former GM Foundation, to a corporate giving model in 2016-17.

The GM Foundation had been making grants in the area of $30 million, with about 40 percent of that funding going to local charities, before the foundation was dissolved and GM granted out its remaining assets in 2017.

Beginning in 2018, GM began funding all of its charitable giving through the company.

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