The dearly departed Donald Foss made many charitable donations throughout his life. His work ethic and drive to achieve gave him the funds to bestow financial security on his family and give generous donations to charities and philanthropic efforts. One such gift was to Challenge Detroit.
In 2012, Challenge Detroit, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization helping diverse, innovative, and community-minded local initiatives move Detroit forward, received a whopping $500,000 from none other than Donald Foss himself.
$500,000 Accounted for Half the Charity’s Funding for Two Years
Foss, known to those who loved him as Don, made over one billion dollars by founding various companies, the most notable being Credit Acceptance Corporation. He was the chief executive officer for many years and gave half a million dollars to Challenge Detroit during that time.
At the time (late February 2012), the nonprofit was completing the details with a local partner that would allow the organization to launch its talent attraction grant program in the summer.
Deirdre Greene Groves, the director of The Collaborative Group, which organized the Challenge Detroit program, told Model D Media that they needed a large donor to launch the initiative. And Mr. Foss gave them exactly what they needed.
How His Donation Helped Challenge Detroit Come into Fruition
The generous lump sum gave the nonprofit organization half the funding it required for two years.
According to news reports from 2012, Challenge Detroit offered 30 grants to the community’s young people, covering living expenses ($500 per month), social experience (in the form of organized activities in the neighborhoods the grant recipients resided), giving back opportunities (through monthly challenges), and employment (a role within a local company).
The initiative aimed to invite more of the dynamic younger generation into the area who will live, work, play, and volunteer their time in the greater downtown region.
Those who wanted a piece of this grant-based pie began a three-phase application process by March 16, 2012. Candidates had to submit a written and video application, with the top 100 semi-finalists appearing on Challenge Detroit’s website for the public to advocate for their favorites.
Upon whittling the list to the top 50 hopeful individuals, they were interviewed for the 30 grants, which were awarded in the summer.
To attract a wide range of young people, the requirements were manageable. Applicants did need to hold a bachelor’s degree, but they weren’t expected to be fresh graduates. Instead, Challenge Detroit, with Donald Foss’s contribution, was able to offer the 30 grants to those with tenancy, entrepreneurial ambitions, and innovative ideas to transform the city.
His Legacy Lives on in Challenge Detroit
If it wasn’t for the big-hearted, generous donation from Donald Foss, Challenge Detroit might not have become what it is today — a successful fellowship program with members who work together with nonprofit partners to address the city’s greatest opportunities and needs. Or, at the very least, the charity would’ve had a much slower, harder journey.
Foss may be gone, but his legacy certainly shines through in Challenge Detroit.