DETROIT – More than 240 guests were taken back to school when they attended the Detroit Children’s Fund Inaugural Dinner on Saturday, October 14 at The Factory at Corktown in Detroit, MI. The raw venue was transformed with a school theme, complete with notebook-patterned table tops, giant pencils, and a school lunch inspired dinner menu. Thanks to the generous support of sponsors and attendees, the event raised more than $1.55 million. DCF board member Adam Levinson and his wife Brittany generously contributed $775,000 of the total raised in a matching gift challenge. All funds raised will support the Detroit Children’s Fund quality seat campaign to create 25,000 seats for K-12 students in strong Detroit schools by the year 2025.

DCF Inaugural Dinner Chairs Kelle Ilitch, Ashley Crain and Gretchen Davidson

The Inaugural Dinner Event Chairs were Ashley Crain, Gretchen Davidson and Kelle Ilitch. Davidson and Ilitch also serve on DCF’s board of directors alongside Tonya Allen, Pernilla Ammann, Phil Cooley, Tiffany Douglas, Bill Emerson, Carol Goss, Adam Levinson, Ryan Maibach, Jacques Panis, Arn Tellem, Jason Tinsely, and Board Chair KC Crain. 

“I think we can all agree that Detroit is coming back. Our economy is beginning to boom. But how will we ensure our city continues to rebound without ensuring that the next generation is educated and prepared to be tomorrow’s workers and leaders?,” posed KC Crain. “DCF is working to make good schools the norm in Detroit. It’s an imperative mission for our city and I’m proud to be part of it.”

In addition to the funds raised at the Inaugural Dinner, DCF’s Executive Director, Jack Elsey, announced a $2-million grant from General Motors. GM was also a presenting sponsor of the dinner, alongside Tom and Holly Gores.

“I’m grateful for the generosity and commitment of our board and supporters,” said Nick Karmanos, DCF’s chief advancement officer. “People understand the critical need for good schools. Belief that, together, we can make it happen is growing. Parents, educators, community members, stakeholders, and businesses are rallying together like never before.”

“DCF is dedicated to ensuring all Detroit children have access to a quality education,” said Elsey. “We’ll accomplish this by investing in great schools to serve more students and by bringing nationally celebrated schools here to serve children in Detroit. We are also investing in developing teams of current and future school leaders, all of whom will raise the bar for achievement in our city.”

“Detroit Children’s Fund has people at the helm that are as passionate about this cause as they are talented at the work they do,” said Tonya Allen, DCF board member and president & CEO of the Skillman Foundation. “They have the right ideas to create a tipping point, helping strong schools thrive and expand, and signaling to others that, without improvement, they will no longer be able to do business in Detroit.”

Inaugural Dinner Presenting Sponsors were General Motors, and Tom and Holly Gores. Hometown Match Sponsors were Brittany and Adam Levinson. Executive Sponsors were Linda and Ed Levy, Jr. Dinner sponsors included AVL Americas, Barton Malow Company, Crain Communications Inc, Gretchen and Ethan Davidson, The Detroit Pistons, Marlene and Bill Emerson, Gallagher-Kaiser Corporation, Ilitch Holdings, Kojaian, Lear Corporation, Quicken Loans, and Arn and Nancy Tellem. The event’s Media Sponsor was Crain’s Detroit Business.

Media Contact:
Natalie Fotias
(313) 393-1179; nfotias@skillman.org  

Event photos are available on DCF’s Facebook page.