Supporting Detroit on a Large and Small Scale

Aug 12, 2012

Last week, we posted about two newsworthy fundraising efforts: a millage to benefit the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), and 9-year-old Joshua Smith raising money for the upkeep of city parks. Though each was vastly different on a financial level, both efforts were equally impressive and speak volumes about the persevering spirit of the people of Detroit.

Small scale

There is an old proverb that says “the smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention.” This is certainly true in Smith’s case. In only five days, this incredible boy raised more than $3,000 for Detroit’s parks.

His story inspired many in Detroit to get involved. Councilwoman JoAnn Watson presented Smith with a Spirit of Detroit award. Members of the University of Michigan men’s basketball team presented Smith with signed t-shirts and hats. And sailors from a local recruiting office stopped by to present him with $250, as well as a t-shirt, commander’s coin and water bottle.

After hearing on the news about Smith’s lemonade stand fundraiser, Mayor Dave Bing called Smith to express his gratitude.

Though Bing encouraged Smith to keep the money and save it for college, Smith chose to donate the proceeds to the city. Both he and his family felt that it would be misleading to keep the money. Smith’s family also noted that they are already saving for his college education.

But they will have some help. Thanks to his philanthropic efforts, Smith has already been awarded a $2,000 scholarship through the Rosa Parks Scholarship Foundation. All he needs to do is graduate high school with a 2.5 grade point average.

Large scale

Exterior of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)
The exterior of the Detroit Institute of Arts.
(Photo courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts.)

On Tuesday, August 7, voters hit the polls to voice their opinion on a millage that would add an average of $15 annually to a homeowner’s personal property taxes and, if passed, would generate $23 million annually for the DIA. In exchange, the museum would grant free admission to residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

The majority of voters elected to approve the millage and help fund the DIA—a landmark in the city’s Cultural Center Historic District.

From one young boy’s lemonade stand to an entire community’s majority vote, the people of Detroit are taking action and standing behind their city.

Are you inspired by this overwhelming community response? Are you doing something to help the city of Detroit? Leave your thoughts in the comments section. We are all ears!

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