COVID-19 Update: FCA Invests Nearly $700K in Detroit’s East Side Communities, Pandemic Analysis Shows Michigan’s GDP Down 12.5%, and More


Image courtesy of Bridge as of December 19

Here is a roundup of the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic, along with announcements from local, state, and federal governments and international broadcasters. To share a business or charitable story, please send us a message.

FCA is investing nearly $ 700,000 in Detroit’s East Side communities
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of Auburn Hills today announced two financial contributions designed to improve the quality of life for the people and neighborhoods on the east side of Detroit.

The FCA donates $ 400,000 to the Impact Neighborhood Fund for improvement projects in the Chandler Park, West End and Riverbend neighborhoods. With a $ 285,000 contribution to the Chandler Park Conservancy, the nonprofit can begin construction of Detroit’s first community environmental education center.

“The FCA’s commitment to Detroit extends beyond our facilities,” said Ron Stallworth, Wayne County’s director of external affairs at the FCA. “Our collective future will depend on how we work together to change our neighborhoods, and we’re just getting started.”

The $ 400,000 contribution to the Impact Neighborhood Fund is half of the $ 800,000 set out in the FCA Community Benefits Agreement with the City of Detroit. The second $ 400,000 will be made available in 2021. While Invest Detroit will act as trustee, community members will work with the Detroit Planning and Development Department to determine which revitalization projects will be funded.

“We all understand that a community that doesn’t invest in itself is a community in trouble,” said Jay Henderson, president of the Riverbend Association and president of the Detroit Police Department’s 5th Precinct Community Relations District Council. “This type of financial investment from FCA will help get the projects going. After years of economic neglect, this is the shot in the arm we need. “

The contribution of USD 285,000 was given to Chandler Park Conservancy at the future location of the education site next to the newly constructed marshland. The course provides K-12 students with an area where they can learn about green rainwater management, wildlife habitat and environmental protection.

“Together with the FCA, we are helping to resolve the inequalities in parking facilities between urban and suburban parks,” said Alex Allen, III, President and CEO of Chandler Park Conservancy. “The project supports our triple bottom line and offers Eastside residents social, environmental and economic benefits. The FCA enables us to realize our vision for this space. “

The FCA also donated 20,000 face masks to community leaders. It’s part of the automaker’s ongoing efforts to keep Detroiters safe and play a role in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to today’s announcement, the FCA has already made other significant investments in the east side of Detroit, including:

  • $ 4 million to build an education and career path for high school students and local residents with the creation of a Manufacturing Career Academy at Southeastern High School.
  • Government funding of $ 5.8 million for workforce development and training.
  • $ 1.8 million for the Home Repair Grant Program.
  • 1.4 million US dollars for various environmental projects all over the east side.

State-to-state pandemic analysis shows Michigan’s GDP has fallen 12.5%
A state analysis of the COVID-19 business pandemic shows Michigan’s gross domestic product fell 12.5 percent in December, with the arts, entertainment and hospitality industries hardest hit.

Analysis, conducted by, shows that the hardest hit segments of the Great Lakes state have declined 61.8 percent since pandemic security restrictions were introduced in March.

“In each state, the net effect was a decline in gross domestic product,” said Andrew Mosteller, author of the analysis. “But some states were hit harder than others. Now that we have numbers from the second quarter of 2020, we can begin to assess the economic impact of COVID-19 on individual states and industries compared to the numbers for the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019. “

Wyoming and Alaska saw the biggest GDP blow from COVID-19, down 18.5 percent and 16.5 percent, respectively. The District of Columbia and Utah saw the smallest change in GDP, falling only 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

As in Michigan, the arts, entertainment, and recreation were the hardest hit industries across the country. Thirty-one states reported severe declines in these industries, with New Hampshire, New York, and Washington topping the list.

In New Hampshire, arts, entertainment and recreation GDP fell 75.3 percent. New York fell 70.7 percent and Washington 70.1 percent in the same industries.

Mining also suffered a severe blow, with 18 states naming it the hardest hit industry.

“It’s surprising how big the gap is between the hardest-hit government GDP and the least-affected government GDP,” Mosteller says. “This loophole raises important questions. Were certain states better prepared for the pandemic? What have local governments and businesses done to mitigate GDP losses? What can governments and individuals learn from these less affected countries? “

To check the full state by state analysis, visit here.

Coalition of donors pushes expansion of WSU program for mobile tests, distribution of mobile vaccines planned
Wayne Health and Wayne State University are expanding their COVID-19 mobile testing program thanks to a donation from Oscar winner Stephen Soderbergh’s Ford Motor Co.-designed and equipped mobile health units and financial support from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services .

The program will expand to five vehicles – including two Ford mobile health units that Soderbergh purchased in recognition of Wayne Health’s COVID testing services that his crew and cast members did during the recent filming of his latest film, No Sudden Move Detroit secured.

The new vehicles are equipped for a range of health measures, including cold temperature controlled storage to distribute COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are available to the public.

“In close cooperation with Dr. Levy and the WSU / Wayne Health team, we designed and prototyped an upgraded Ford Transit that was originally designed for mobile COVID 19 testing and then iterated and enhanced for general public health care, ”says Kristin Welch, manager of strategy and operations at Ford X. “We believe the purchase of these mobile health units reflects the quality of our collaboration, the accuracy of the up-fit ​​design, and the benefit to their employees and the communities in which they are used.”

One of the new vehicles entered service on December 18 at a test event in the town of Warren. Another debut took place on December 19 at a testing session at Oak Grove AME Church in Detroit.

Wayne Health, Wayne State University, and Ford quickly developed and launched their free mobile testing program – the first of its kind in the nation – in April to conduct much-needed COVID-19 testing in community-based locations in metropolitan Detroit.

The state of Michigan outlined its plan to expand the Wayne Health and WSU-created mobile testing infrastructure in its interim report of the Racial Disparities Task Force, dated Dec. 3, describing Michigan’s success in protecting color communities from COVID-19.

Training videos for launching new mobile testing programs based on the Wayne Health / WSU model are being developed in Flint, Ingham County and Muskegon.

“It is gratifying to see that our test model is being endorsed, expanded and adopted by others to improve the health and safety of more people in communities across the state,” said Dr. Phillip Levy, director of the mobile COVID testing program for Wayne Health and WSU. “And it’s exciting to see our mobile model focus on delivering the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccines.”

Since the program started, Wayne Health / WSU / Ford mobile test vehicles have visited more than 200 locations and tested nearly 30,000 people. Testing is free and does not require a prescription or symptoms of COVID-19. Tests were conducted in schools, churches, nursing homes, and other urban centers across southeast Michigan.

In addition to the COVID-19 tests, participants in the mobile test events can receive flu vaccinations, blood pressure tests, HIV tests and on-site referrals for public services such as Medicaid and monetary aid, unemployment assistance, emergency food and emergency shelters. Such links are established through partnerships with ACCESS and the Detroit Parent Network.

More information on the mobile test units, including the site schedule, can be found here.

Sanctum House Launches $ 3 Capital Campaign in Support of Trafficking Survivors
Sanctum House, a Detroit-based safe home for human trafficking survivors, has launched a three-phase capital campaign worth $ 3 million to promote programs and double the capacity of the facilities.

“Tragically, the ubiquitous opioid crisis and COVID-19 pandemic created a perfect storm for human trafficking,” said Edee Franklin, founder of Sanctum House. “Women at risk here in our community and across the country are being persecuted and forced into human trafficking. The tremendous demand for our services far exceeds our current physical and financial capabilities. “

Sanctum House offers a two-year comprehensive residential program for women aged 18 and over. Since opening in February 2018, Sanctum House has helped more than 55 women keep them safe and free from traffickers, providing them with professional advice, addiction therapy, education, legal services, life skills, and job placement that they can return to in a healthy, productive way Life.

The first phase of the capital campaign is $ 1.4 million to purchase the building where the nonprofit currently operates. This second building will house 16 women participating in the two-year housing program and apartments for six residents on transition from the dormitory program to live independently.

Phase II totals $ 600,000 to renovate the three-acre campus, as well as interim operating costs and salaries for trained professionals, including case management, program management, and therapists.

Phase III of Sanctum House’s capital campaign is an ongoing operations fund of $ 1 million.

Further information and a contribution are available here or by calling 248-574-9373.


Dusty Kennedy