Stories indexed with the term ‘donation’

Rotary Pledges $250K for Gallup Park Playground

The Rotary Club of Ann Arbor is making a $250,000 contribution to the city of Ann Arbor for a major new “universal access” playground at Gallup Park, to celebrate the club’s centennial anniversary in 2016. A presentation about the project was made at the Jan. 28, 2014 meeting of the Ann Arbor park advisory committee meeting.

Colin Smith, the city’s parks & recreation manager, described a universal access playground as one that exceeds the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It aims to create environments that can be used by all people. There are about 80 playgrounds in Ann Arbor, but none are universally accessible, he said, calling it a “huge shortcoming” for the parks system. In part … [Full Story]

UM: Donation

Helen Zell, a University of Michigan graduate and wife of real estate magnate Sam Zell, is donating $50 million to UM’s graduate creative writing program. The gift comes via the Zell Family Foundation, which Helen Zell leads as executive director. The two-year program is being renamed the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. [Associated Press report] [UM press release]

Couple Gives $50,000 for Ann Arbor Park

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (June 21, 2011): Park commissioners heard some unusual and welcome news at their June meeting – two long-time Ann Arbor residents, Leslie and Michael Morris, are donating $50,000 to the city in support of South University Park.

Michael Morris, Leslie Morris, Colin Smith

From left: Michael Morris and Leslie Morris, who are donating $50,000 to rehab South University Park, and Colin Smith, the city's parks and recreation manager.

In brief remarks to commissioners, Leslie Morris – a former Ward 2 city councilmember – explained how she and her husband had played a role decades ago in creating the park, which is located at South University Avenue and Walnut. They hope their donation will help develop the park based on current needs of the neighborhood, she said.

Michael Morris noted that before they became involved in forming that neighborhood park, their civic engagement primarily had been limited to voting. But getting involved in that project ultimately led to much deeper engagement, culminating in the service of Leslie Morris on council. ”It’s been a rewarding time for us,” he said, “and I’m pleased we’re able to do more to continue the life of that park.”

Later in the meeting, commissioners got updates on the Ann Arbor senior center and Mack pool. Both facilities rely on general fund support and had been at risk of closing, when city officials were looking to cut costs in 2009. Residents rallied, and the city formed two task forces to develop strategies – both for raising revenues and cutting expenses – to keep both facilities open.

The reports given at PAC’s June 21 meeting were updates for the first fiscal year that these strategies took effect. Neither facility completely hit its target budget goals, but each took steps toward closing the gap between revenues and expenses.

Commissioners also got a quarterly update on capital improvements in the park system, including plans to renovate the Island Park Greek Revival shelter and the pergola at West Park, and to replace a path at Leslie Science & Nature Center – a project that might use recycled crushed glass as a porous surface. PAC members voted to recommend approval for funding of two specific projects: renovation of locker rooms at Veterans Memorial Park, and of tennis courts at West Park.

At the end of the meeting, Steve Thorp spoke during public commentary, urging the city to give West Park a new name – Central Park West – and to possibly put a dog park there. [Full Story]

Al Taubman Gives $56 Million Gift to UM

Al Taubman, a major donor to the University of Michigan over the years, has committed another $56 million to fund medical research at UM – completing a gift of $100 million to the university for that purpose. This gift will support work at the Taubman Medical Research Institute. UM president Mary Sue Coleman announced the news at the April 21, 2011 regents meeting. Regents later approved the renaming of the biomedical science research building in honor of Taubman.

Coleman described the research – including work on ALS (known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and other diseases – as high risk but high reward, saying Taubman’s gift would make a tremendous difference in finding cures for those diseases. Taubman also spoke at the meeting, describing some of his experiences with the university, particularly in support of stem cell research. The research holds great promise for finding cures, he said. “That’s what today’s announcement is all about.”

The gift brings the total of Taubman’s donations to UM to $141 million – he is the largest single donor to the university. His other gifts have supported the Taubman College for Architecture & Urban Planning, the UM Museum of Art, and the office of financial aid, among others.

This brief was filed from the regents boardroom at the Fleming administration building in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

A Place for Petanque in Ann Arbor?

“Oooh, shiny!” exclaimed Howard Ando and Jane Wilkinson when we unveiled our set of six petanque boules, scarcely used over a decade since they were purchased.


Petanque boules (shiny metal) bracket the cochonnet, or jack, on Howard Ando and Jane Wilkinson's court.

The couple’s own set of metal boules were dull with the wear of frequent play on the gravel surface typical for petanque. Over the last two years, much of that play has come on the rectangle of gravel in the side yard of the couple’s Ypsilanti home, just west of the Eastern Michigan University campus.

After seeing the game played during their visits to France, they developed a passion for it that led them to have their own court constructed. And now they’d like to invest in petanque for the public – they’ve offered to pony up the cash for a facility in Burns Park. A public meeting to discuss the potential facility will be held on Monday, Nov. 17 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Senior Center at Burns Park. [Full Story]