Monday, February 03, 2020

GM announces $6 million donation to support Detroit schools

General Motor headquarters | File photo
Earlier this morning, General Motors announced a $6 million donation to Beyond Basics to support the Be the Solution literacy campaign. This investment will provide nearly 500 Detroit high schoolers the opportunity to participate in the nonprofit’s literacy program. It is also the largest single contribution ever to this program.

“Beyond Basics delivers outstanding results that are real, measurable and impactful,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors president. “At General Motors, we believe investing in Detroit’s children and families is an investment in the future – for them, and for all of us residing in southeast Michigan. Our team is proud to support Beyond Basics’ ambitious mission, and we encourage other companies to do the same as we work together to revitalize the city.”

General Motors’ donation is the largest single investment to Beyond Basics’ Be the Solution literacy campaign, to date, and marks the half-way point of this year’s $11 million goal. The $33 million, three-year campaign launched last summer with the endorsement of the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

This donation also comes on the heels of the $2.2 billion investment in Detroit and Hamtramck that GM announced last month.

Beyond Basics works closely with DPSCD and has already achieved tremendous success with 50 tutors at schools across the city — including Mumford High School, where today’s grant announcement was held. The number of trained, certified tutors is expected to jump to 300 over the next three years.

“This is not about throwing money at another problem. Beyond Basics gets at the heart of the challenges linked to reading below grade level and delivers a strategy that is coherent, comprehensive and truly research-based,” explained Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District. “With the support and leadership of General Motors and Beyond Basics, we will begin to address, at scale, high school literacy challenges so students can be on a college or career path. Due to the legacy of emergency management, too many of our high school students are behind.”

Today’s donation continues General Motors’ support of Beyond Basics’ results-driven work. In 2018, General Motors helped establish Beyond Basics’ first bricks-and-mortar space in Detroit at the Durfee Innovation Society in Detroit. The Beyond Basics Family Literacy Center provides literacy and workforce development services, including GED and SAT prep, with a large focus on reaching an adult population.

“Most Detroit public high school students are reading below grade level,” said Pamela Good, co-founder and CEO of Beyond Basics. “When students fall behind in literacy, they fall behind in every subject because curriculums assume children can read. With this generous $1 million donation from General Motors, Beyond Basics can pair even more trained tutors with struggling students who are eager to learn and need that extra boost.”

Providing a child with the tool of reading can change the trajectory of their life. It opens a world of possibilities that can give them opportunities that would be impossible without literacy. For over twenty years Pamela Good and the Beyond Basics team have been committed to giving children the chance to read and see the potential they have to succeed in the world. It is a mission that has helped thousands, but there are many more in need of help.

Update at 12:38 pm - An earlier version of this story listed GM's donation as $1 million when it's actually $6 million. This story has been corrected to reflect this.

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