Detroit Children’s Fund Annual Dinner raises more than $2.17 million for Detroit Schools

On September 29, Detroit Children’s Fund hosted its 2nd Annual Dinner, supporting the improvement of K-12 public education in the city of Detroit. The event, chaired by Kim and Mark Reuss, Executive Vice President and President, Global Product Group and Cadillac, General Motors Company, raised a record $2.17 million through generous sponsorships and donations. Included in this total was a $1 million match from DCF board member Adam Levinson and his wife, Brittany.

The Annual Dinner was held at the Detroit Public Library and had a sold out crowd of nearly 300 supporters. Guests enjoyed a strolling cocktail reception in the center of the library before heading upstairs to the library’s historic Strohm Hall for a formal dinner, program and live auction.

The program was emceed by Morning News Anchor WDIV Local 4 News Detroit, Rhonda Walker, and included several notable speakers – DCF executive director, Jack Elsey; President and COO of Crain Communications, and Chairman of Detroit Children’s Fund board of directors, KC Crain; DCF Board Member and President and CEO of The Skillman Foundation, Tonya Allen; and event chair and GM executive, Mark Reuss.

A live auction closed out the program and included five VIP experience packages for events like the Indy 500, ESPYS Awards Show, and the Rocket Mortgage classic. Combined, the auction items raised $121,000 for Detroit Children’s Fund, which contributed to the overall event total.

Following the program, guests made their way to the after party in the library’s arts & literature room, where they enjoyed live entertainment by DJ John Arnold with percussionist Dan Austin; LED dancers from The Dancing Fire; custom cocktails and late night snacks.

Major event supporters included: Host Sponsor, General Motors; Presenting Sponsor, Tom and Holly Gores with Platinum Equity; Hometown Match Sponsor, Brittany and Adam Levinson; Executive Sponsors, Barton Malow, Crain Communications Inc, Ilitch companies, Kojaian, Lear Corporatation, Edward C. & Linda Dresner Levy Foundation, and Magna; Platinum Sponsors, AVL Americas, Mary Kay & Keith Crain, Gretchen & Ethan Davidson, DTE Energy Foundation, Marlene & Bill Emerson, Fata Automation, FleishmanHillard, Gallagher Kaiser, Ghafari, Kenwal Steel Corp. and the Eisenberg Family, Quicken Loans Community Fund, The Suburban Collection; and Media Sponsor, Crain’s Detroit Business.

For more information about the Annual Dinner, a full list of sponsors, and for the latest updates about the 2019 event, please visit

A Letter from Our Executive Director

Dear Partners, Friends and Supporters of the Detroit Children’s Fund,

As we approach our 2nd Annual Dinner, I’ve been reflecting on the past year and taking stock of the incredible progress we’ve made. The usual thing to do is say that we’re humbled and proud of the work we’ve done – and while we are – I’m also truly encouraged by what we and our partners have accomplished in just 12 short months. More importantly, while we acknowledge the mountain of work ahead of us, I am deeply hopeful about what the future holds for Detroit’s children and know that if we stay the course, we can continue to build on this year’s impact to dramatically improve the lives of Detroit’s children. Read More

Detroit Schools to Benefit from Detroit Children’s Fund Golf Outing

On Monday, June 25, Detroit Children’s Fund hosted its 2nd Annual Golf Outing – The Graduate Cup. Through generous sponsorships and donations, nearly $240,000 was raised to benefit Detroit schoolchildren.

Detroit Children’s Fund (DCF) is a nonprofit organization that makes high-potential investments to expand successful schools, greatly improve lower performing schools and discover and develop talented educators so that one day every child in Detroit has the opportunity to receive an excellent education.

Proceeds from the event will specifically support DCF’s investment in the Harvard Strategic Data Fellows Program with Detroit Public Schools Community District. This integral program will hire a team to create and implement a new data collection and reporting system for the district.

“We know that every top-performing school, not only in Detroit but across the country, relies on strong and clear data to improve student outcomes. Superintendent Vitti and his team at Detroit Public Schools Community District have made improving their data systems a priority and we are thrilled to be able to partner with them to support in this effort.” said DCF executive director, Jack Elsey. “For the first time ever, the district will have the data they need to improve schools and student success.  We’re proud to support this effort as they build a more effective operation.”

Nearly 100 participants attended the golf outing, chaired by Arn Tellem, vice chairman of the Detroit Pistons. Attendees enjoyed an 18-hole scramble at the newly renovated Bloomfield Hills Country Club, a barbeque lunch and awards dinner. Golfers participated in contests throughout the course, including four chances to win brand-new Cadillacs, and one chance to win a Lincoln Navigator. The winning team — Rich Dolph, Ehren Gonzales, Nicholas Morrow, and Jeff Smith – was presented with The Graduate Cup.

“We are tremendously grateful to all of our sponsors and board members for their support of the golf outing. A special thank you to event chair, Arn Tellem, for his leadership, and to our chairman of the board, KC Crain, for making the event such a success.” said Nick Karmanos, DCF’s chief advancement officer. “The level of support we have seen from our community is incredible. It is the right time to make big improvements in the quality of education in Detroit.”

Sponsors for the event included: Title Sponsor, General Motors; Eagle Sponsors, Crain Communications Inc. and Detroit Pistons; Birdie Sponsors, AlixPartners, Gretchen and Ethan Davidson, Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation, Christopher and Kelle Ilitch, Kojaian, Lear Corporation, The Lincoln Motor Company, Nelson Ventures, Mona and Matt Simoncini, syncreon, Systems Technology Group, Inc. (STG), and Toyota; and Hole In One Sponsor, Cadillac.

Click here for a link to the photo gallery.

Visit for more information about DCF and upcoming events.


Women Ambassadors Discuss Detroit Children’s Fund’s Strategy to Improve Detroit Education

On May 22, the Detroit Children’s Fund Women’s Ambassador Luncheon was held at Chartreuse Kitchen in Detroit. The event, hosted by Ashley Crain, Gretchen Davidson and Kelle Ilitch, brought together 50 influential women in the metro Detroit community, including philanthropists and community leaders, to learn about and discuss the work being done to improve Detroit education and how DCF is leading the way.

Jack Elsey, DCF’s executive director, and Tonya Allen, founding board member of DCF and president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation, set the content of the conversation, discussing DCF’s mission to make high-potential investments to expand successful schools, greatly improve lower performing schools, and discover and develop talented educators so that every child in Detroit has the opportunity to receive an excellent education.

The event encouraged attendees to become Ambassadors of DCF’s work. It was also an opportunity for guests to ask pressing questions about Detroit Children’s Fund and the status of education in Detroit. Many frequently asked questions were discussed and asked during the lunch, including:

  • Why do we need to recruit/grow schools in Detroit when we already have too many?
    • Detroit is in desperate need of more quality schools. The city does have more capacity than it needs, but it does not yet have nearly enough quality schools to ensure every student has access to a quality education.
  • Why is educator talent so important?
    • As in any industry, high-performing educators get the best results. Study after study has shown that the single most important factor in a student’s learning is a quality teacher in their classroom every day. Strong school leaders develop and retain high-performing teachers, creating schools that have few, if any, gaps in instruction, ensuring that students can have a quality teacher every year without fail.
  • Will DCF support after school programs, athletics, and other programs not directly related to academic outcomes or school quality?
    • There are a significant number of organizations in the city, state and nationally that support these kinds of essential programs for schools and students. DCF’s mission is to dramatically increase the number of quality schools in Detroit and, while we believe that children should be engaged in a variety of ways outside the classroom, our investments will focus on opportunities that get at the heart of improving academic opportunity and outcomes—school improvement and expansion, educator development and recruitment and system-wide enabling conditions.

For more information about DCF and ways to give, visit Upcoming Detroit Children’s Fund fundraising events include:

StockX & Shinola Partner to Launch World’s First Watch IPO Featuring the ‘Lake Erie Monster’ – Proceeds to Benefit DCF and Other Charities

This is the third consumer goods Initial Product Offering (IPO) on the StockX platform and funds from the IPO will benefit the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Project ACT, The Empowerment Plan and Detroit Children’s Fund


The Shinola Lake Erie Monster celebrates the long history of discovery in the Great Lakes.

[DETROIT] – Detroit-based StockX, the world’s first online ‘stock market of things’ for high-demand consumer products, today announced a historic offering in conjunction with Shinola to IPO the brand’s first mechanical watch – the Lake Erie Monster – directly onto the StockX platform.  Shinola’s first serialized dive and self-winding timepiece is limited to just 500 individually numbered pieces. The StockX IPO is for five unnumbered ‘000/500’ Lake Erie Monsters, with a five-of-a-kind Lake Erie Monster Tech Portfolio and a special authenticity card, and is not otherwise available to the public or to be purchased at retail.

“StockX has been built, in every way, to replicate the functionality of the worlds’ stock markets” said Josh Luber, CEO and Co-Founder of StockX. “That functionality, on one hand, provides a more efficient secondary market, but it also facilitates a better way to release products into the market – i.e., the ‘IPO’ of consumer goods. For our first watch IPO, the opportunity to work with Shinola, another Detroit company, on their first mechanical watch was a perfect fit.”

Shinola, the six-year old brand which has only ever produced quartz-movement watches, is taking a huge leap forward with its first-ever timepiece to utilize a fully automatic movement.  The Lake Erie Monster, named after an unidentified creature first spotted in 1783, celebrates the Great Lakes as well as the explorers, sailors, pioneers and divers who have spent centuries discovering the wonders of the nation’s largest fresh water lakes. The watch is machined from 316L stainless steel and the 43mm case is inspired by the elegant lines of classic sailing ships and is rated for depths of up to 1,000ft (30ATM). It is powered by the Argomatic R-150 automatic movement, which features 25 jewels and a 40-hour power reserve.

“We are thrilled to partner with StockX on their first watch IPO,” said Jacques Panis, President of Shinola.  “It is a great way to celebrate our first automatic timepiece by honoring the cities that were born on the shores of Lake Erie and raising money for three important charities in Detroit and Cleveland – The Empowerment Plan, Detroit Children’s Fund and Project ACT.”

“We are very excited to be a part of Shinola’s entry into the world of mechanical watches,” said Reg Brack, GM, Watches at StockX. “The Lake Erie Monster combines a classic dive watch aesthetic with a unique enamel dial and automatic movement resulting in something truly special.”

This is the third IPO of limited-edition consumer product for StockX. The first IPO took place in August 2016, when the company partnered with Roc-A-Fella records to launch limited-edition merchandise to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Jay-Z’s first album, Reasonable Doubt. In January 2017, StockX partnered with Nike and the Cleveland Cavaliers on its second IPO, a package including LeBron James’ first retro sneakers, a commemorative sneaker box made from the Cavalier’s championship court, and a 2016 NBA championship ring.


How the Shinola IPO Works

Benefitting Detroit charities include The Empowerment Plan and Detroit Children’s Fund, and Project ACT from Cleveland

The Shinola IPO allows buyers to place bids on the Lake Erie Monster at Bidding starts at $2,250.00 (the watch retail price) and runs from November 7, 2017 at 10am EST to November 12, 2017 at 10pm EST. Once the bidding period has ended, the watch will be sold to the five highest bidders who can either take possession of the watch, or choose to resell on the StockX platform where trading can continue, uninterrupted. Funds raised from the bids will benefit charities in both Detroit and Cleveland who are tirelessly working to provide educational support, workforce development and emergency shelter for local families. Benefitting Detroit charities include The Empowerment Plan and Detroit Children’s Fund, and Project ACT from Cleveland.

The StockX process helps to establish the true market value of the product, and like the New York Stock Exchange, facilitates immediate secondary market trading after its initial release.


Each Shinola IPO Package Includes

  • “000” Prototype Mechanical Watch: One of just five prototype and serialized ‘000/500’ Shinola Lake Erie Monster automatic watches. With this limited-edition automatic timepiece, Shinola honors the natural beauty of the Great Lakes and confirms its commitment to quality, craftsmanship, design and innovation.
  • Bespoke Tech Portfolio: A commemorative ‘five of a kind’ leather tech portfolio featuring a hand cut Lake Erie Monster design that is cut and sewn in Shinola’s Detroit leather factory.   The Tech Portfolio is the perfect complement to watch as it features both functionality and timeless design.
  • Metal Watch Case: A metal watch case that includes a Princeton Tech diver’s flashlight, diver’s map of the Great Lakes, a stainless steel three-link bracelet, a black rubber dive strap and black fabric strap – all easily interchangeable with included tools.


Key Dates

  • Bidding will run from Nov 7-12, 2017

    Pre-IPO: Bidding opens Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. EST.

  • IPO Date: Bidding ends Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 10:00 p.m. EST. Winning bidders will be notified shortly thereafter.
  • Post IPO: Once all IPO purchases are confirmed, buyers will have the opportunity to resell their Shinola IPO Package on the StockX platform.

StockX, which was founded by Luber, StockX COO Greg Schwartz, and Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and majority owner of the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers, has many high profile investors including Eminem, Mark Wahlberg, Ted Leonsis, Tim Armstrong, Scooter Braun and Ron Conway. Coincidentally, StockX Co-Founder Dan Gilbert is the owner of the Cleveland Monsters, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, which up until its previous season was known as the Lake Eerie Monsters. The business launched in February of 2016, currently has more than 90 full time team members, and is expected to pass $200 million in GMV run rate by the end of 2017.

For more information, visit:


About StockX

Detroit-based StockX launched in February 2016 and is the world’s first “Stock Market of Things.” StockX enables the buying and selling of high-demand consumer products, including sneakers, watches, handbags and streetwear. StockX connects buyers and sellers using similar protocols to the world’s stock markets – allowing anonymity and providing real-time market pricing. StockX participants can buy or sell with the full knowledge and transparency of a credible stock market.  In addition, all products bought and sold on the StockX platform are physically inspected and verified for authenticity by StockX. The StockX exchange also supplies in-depth market analysis, individual portfolio tracking, historical sales and volume metrics. StockX has achieved various milestones since its founding. In January of 2017, Nike released LeBron James’ first retro sneaker directly onto StockX, ahead of retail channels. StockX TV, the company’s ‘Mad Money for sneakers’ web series, began airing in April of 2017.  In September of 2017 StockX teamed with Eminem to raise almost $440K for hurricane relief.


About Shinola

Shinola was founded on the belief that products should be well-made and built to last. Across a growing number of categories, Shinola stands for skill at scale, the preservation of craft, and the beauty of industry.

Of all the things we make, the return of manufacturing jobs might just be the thing we’re most proud of.


About The Empowerment Plan

The Empowerment Plan (TEP) is a Detroit based nonprofit organization focused on permanently elevating families from the generational cycles of homelessness and poverty through employment. TEP hires single parents from local shelters and provides them with training and full-time employment as seamstresses so that they can earn a stable income, find secure housing, and regain their independence. The individuals hired manufacture a coat designed to meet the needs of those in the homeless community. The durable EMPWR Coat can transform into a sleeping bag at night or an over-the-shoulder bag when not in use. Since 2012, the organization has provided employment to 45 homeless individuals—all of whom have now secured permanent housing for themselves and their families —and distributed over 25,000 coats to those in need across the world. For more information, visit:


About the Detroit Children’s Fund

Detroit Children’s Fund (DCF) is dedicated to dramatically increasing quality school options for families across Detroit. DCF raises philanthropic funds to support the replication of successful Detroit schools, the recruitment of proven school networks not currently in Detroit, and the development of Detroit’s teachers and school leaders. DCF’s coherent, coordinated strategy will create 25,000 quality school seats – spots in life-changing schools – or more by 2025. We know this is a bold goal, but DCF believes that if we approach this work with ambition, urgency, strategy, community, and resources then we can achieve great results for our children and our city. Visit ‪ for more information.

About Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Project ACT

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Project ACT provides direct support services to Cleveland’s children suffering from loss of housing. A comprehensive approach is taken to deliver instructional and support services necessary to facilitate the homeless child’s transition into school, and to ensure the child’s continued success within the educational system. Support services include everything necessary to accomplish the goal of meeting students’ physical, social and emotional needs. All qualifying resources from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District are used to achieve this goal. For more information, visit: