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Ilitch Charities Honored With 'Outstanding Foundation Award' For Art in The District Detroit

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Nearly a year after partnering with Olympia Development of Michigan to commit $800,000 towards student-led public art in The District Detroit, Ilitch Charities received high honors for its goodwill from the local fundraising community.  

During its 26th annual National Philanthropy Day event Thursday, Nov. 9, the Greater Detroit Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) awarded the nonprofit organization with its 2017 Outstanding Foundation Award.

AFP presents the honor annually to private and public foundations that demonstrate outstanding commitment through financial support and “encouragement and motivation of others to take leadership roles in philanthropy and community involvement.”

Recognizing the Ilitch organization’s impact, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) earlier this year nominated the charity for the prestigious Plante Moran CRESA-sponsored honor.

In January, Ilitch Charities and Olympia Development of Michigan announced a partnership with CCS that would offer students unique, hands-on learning experiences in The District Detroit.

During his acceptance speech, Ilitch Charities board president Michael Healy credited the visionary leadership of Christopher Ilitch and thanked the organization’s founders, Mike and Marian Ilitch, who established the charity in 2000 as Ilitch Charities for Children with the simple goal of impacting lives.

Since the inception of the Detroit Red Wings Foundation and Detroit Tigers Foundation only 12 years ago, Ilitch Charities, Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch and affiliate charities have surpassed $75 million in total grants and giving.

“Mr. and Mrs. I’s historic love of Detroit, focus on family and passion for empowering the community has transcended through so much of their work,” Healy said. “At its core, Ilitch Charities supports the community with kindness. As Mr. I once said, ‘Some people say that kindness is a sign of weakness. Don’t listen to them. Kindness is the greatest strength we have.’”

The honor was one of eight award categories that sought to recognize local charities, corporations and professional fundraisers that make Southeastern Michigan a stronger community.

Since the January partnership announcement, several art initiatives have begun or taken place, including the Comerica interactive arch project at Little Caesars Arena, the forthcoming Movement of Champions sculpture installation on Woodward Avenue and an enriching summer art program mostly involving students at the nearby Cass Tech High School.

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