8 August 2008
This is our monthly email discussing news relating to The Detroit College Promise. To subscribe or unsubscribe, email NatPernick@hotmail.com indicating “subscribe / unsubscribe to DCP news.”
Status: We are seeking pledges of financial support. Our immediate goal is to raise $500,000, at which point we will announce the scholarship program publicly (we currently have pledges totaling $35,000). We also want to have 1000 donors of $10 or more, which will help convince the business and non-profit community that we have widespread support. We want to start the scholarships for the high school graduating class of 2009, which means we have to start getting pledges now. We could wait, but unfortunately, the problems of the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) and City of Detroit are not waiting. Our program, as demonstrated in Kalamazoo, has a proven track record of generating widespread hope and excitement, immediately increasing public school enrollment and motivating people to move into the city. To our knowledge, no other program in Detroit is likely to have a similar impact.
If you have not already done so, please email your pledge to NatPernick@Hotmail.com (“I pledge $___ to The Detroit College Promise”, and indicate your name) or click here for a pledge form. Please also ask friends, colleagues or businesses to make a pledge, so we can start this program ASAP. We do not plan to seek payment of the pledges until December 2008.
Corporate: We have filed the Articles of Incorporation for Detroit College Promise, filed an assume name of The Detroit College Promise, and filed restated Articles adding provisions that are necessary to get tax-exempt status. You can review any Michigan corporate documents by visiting www.Michigan.gov, then click on the button on the left side - Business and Economic Growth, then click on the link on the right side that says Michigan Business Entity Search, or just click here. We filed for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service last week. We hope to get a favorable ruling within 90 days, and will then start accepting actual contributions and not just pledges. We will also be filing documents with the Michigan Attorney General that allow us to solicit contributions.
Partners: Current partners include the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and Communities in Schools. The Chamber has contributed Brooke Franklin, an energetic member of our Board of Directors who is helping us make connections with other agencies. We also hope to use the Chamber’s expertise to negotiate discounted tuition with colleges and universities, particularly in our early years, as the Chamber has done with the Detroit Compact. We also plan to work with Communities in Schools, who will help high school students with college preparedness. We have set up a meeting with the Detroit Public Schools to discuss graduation statistics and how they can help promote the program. We hope to set up partnerships with other organizations as well.
Website: Our website at www.DetroitCollegePromise.org is fully functional. It contains general information about the scholarship (Home Page), a Contribute page with information about making pledges (and on-line contributions in the future), our short scholarship application and scholarship acceptance Documents, a list of all known Detroit Scholarships, a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page and information for Parents. We will soon add lists of award winning Books for K-12 children, with links to Amazon.com. Buying books or anything else from Amazon, by navigating through our website, will generate revenue for us, without costing you anything, as Amazon contributes part of its profits to us. Half of these proceeds will be used for the scholarship, and half will be used for organizational expenses (however, these purchases cannot be considered tax deductible contributions).
Board of Directors: Current members of our Board include:
● Brooke Franklin - Project Director, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce
● Alvin Levett - retired, former Budget Director of Eastern Michigan University
● Margo Pernick - Executive Director, The Jewish Fund; former Grant Officer, the Kresge Foundation
● David Sabbath - Director of Finance, Garen Lucow Miller, P.C., a Detroit law firm
● Lora Weingarden - Assistant Prosecutor, Wayne County (child abuse section)
We are looking for additional directors with extensive Detroit community involvement, and who can assist with fund raising.
Scholarship costs: The total cost of the program is contingent on several factors. We have been told that there were an estimated 4000 DPS high school graduates in 2008, with one third (1300) going to college. Of these, perhaps 1000 would attend Michigan public colleges and universities. According to The Kalamazoo Promise, the average cost for tuition and fees is $5000, because most scholarship recipients attend community colleges. Based on the status quo, the estimated cost for scholarships for the first year would be 1000 x $5000 or $5 million. However, we plan to negotiate discounts with the colleges and universities, which should sharply reduce this amount. We also have to fund 4 years of college, which would eventually cost $20 million a year (without discounts). An endowment would need $500 million in assets, based on a 4% payout, to generate $20 million annually.
Over time, we anticipate that, due to The Detroit College Promise: (a) the number of high school graduates will double due to a reduction in the dropout rate, (b) the percentage of high school graduates going to college will increase to 80-90%, (c) more students will move into the Detroit Public Schools from private schools, charter schools or home schooling, (d) more students will move into the City of Detroit and into the Detroit Public Schools, (e) students will choose to attend more expensive universities than community colleges, (f) college costs will increase more than inflation, as in the past. Thus, our fund raising efforts will need to continue. On the other hand, the experience with the Kalamazoo Promise and similar programs is that they generate immediate excitement, and once announced, financial support should be easier to obtain. Detroit has a generous business, non-profit and philanthropic community, and we anticipate that financial support will grow as the program grows.
Scholarship details: The scholarship is very simple, with a one page application that can be completed in 5 minutes or less. The only requirements are: (a) graduation from a DPS high school, (b) continuous enrollment in DPS for at least 4 years prior to graduation, (c) continuous Detroit residency for at least 4 years prior to graduation, (d) transcripts or report cards are required to prove enrollment and residency. That’s it! There are no financial aid requirements and no academic requirements. Of course, the student has to be accepted to a public college or university. Click here to view the application.
Financial standards: We plan to adhere to the highest standards of financial accountability. Our board has two financial experts. In addition, we will have annual audits. However, as a practical matter, our finances are simple. All contributions will go to our current fund or endowment. Funds from the current fund will be sent directly to the colleges or universities, and any refunds will return to the current fund. No money will be paid to parents, students, DPS or any other entity. In addition, 100% of funds contributed will go to the scholarships. All organization expenses (salaries, rent, utilities, postage, stationery, fund raising expenses, other office expenses) will be paid by Dr. Pernick’s business, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc., at least for the time being. We may also have in kind contributions from other businesses.
Media: A Letter to the Editor from Dr. Pernick was published on 15 July 2008 (click here), in response to a Detroit Free Press editorial (click here). We anticipate extensive future coverage once our program is announced.
Thanks for your support. Please contact me with any questions or suggestions.
Nat Pernick, M.D.
The Detroit College Promise
30100 Telegraph Road, Suite 404
Bingham Farms, MI 48025