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Knight Foundation

Grant Joins Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Stephen Henderson and Marygrove College

Detroit, MI – November 10, 2015 – Today Marygrove College announced the official launch of The Tuxedo Project, which coincides with a $150,000 grant recently awarded to the college by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The grant, which will be awarded over two years, will enable the college to transform 7124 Tuxedo, the now-abandoned and blighted childhood home of Detroit Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson, into a writer's residence and literary center.

In tandem with the restoration project at 7124 Tuxedo, the college’s English and Modern Languages department will begin a national search for the project’s first fellow who, in addition to teaching at Marygrove College, will also live in the restored house, run the literary center there, and provide outreach and resources to the community. “The Tuxedo Project provides a tangible way to link our discipline, our students, and the larger community in collaborative revitalization,” said Darcy L. Brandel, Associate Professor of English and Chair of English and Modern Languages at Marygrove College. “We are honored to share what we know about reading, writing, and storytelling in ways the neighborhood residents find most useful. We are very excited to move forward.”

Marygrove College was chosen from over 1,000 applicants and 70 finalists, and receives this grant as a part of the Knight Arts Challenge, a $9 million initiative to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals seeking to engage and enrich the community through the arts.

“The grant awarded to us by the Knight Foundation allows Marygrove to truly set an example for what needs to happen if we are serious about revitalizing the entire city of Detroit,” said Marygrove Interim President James F. Birge. “The area near Grand River and Livernois is not one of the neighborhoods currently attracting investment or experiencing growth. The residents in this area, like the 5,000 residents in the area just outside our campus gates¬—some of whom are students at our institution—are looking for local leaders and anchor institutions like ours to do their part in revitalizing the community.”

Henderson, who is partnering with the college on the Tuxedo Project, has noted that Marygrove’s commitment to the city and to fostering urban leadership were what initially drew him to the institution. "Marygrove was a natural pick for the project, not just because it's close by, but because of the interest the college has already shown in Detroit neighborhoods, artistic and literary excellence, and revitalization. And the excitement of the administrators and faculty about the Tuxedo Project only confirmed that Marygrove was the right fit. I couldn't ask for a better partner."

Like the college’s 2012 Building Our Leadership in Detroit (BOLD) initiative which, with the help of a $1.5 million grant awarded by the W. K. Kellogg foundation, allowed the college to restructure its entire academic curriculum and develop urban leadership and revitalization programs, The Tuxedo Project:

  • Encourages programs that promote the common good by fostering respect for human dignity
  • Promotes earth-care and sustainable communities
  • Seeks social justice for people and communities who suffer from the actions of more powerful groups
Renovation efforts of the Tuxedo Project not only include transforming the former home of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson into a writer's residence and literary center for children and adults in the neighborhood but also demolishing and reclaiming blighted property adjacent to 7124 Tuxedo.

 

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ABOUT MARYGROVE COLLEGE

Founded by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in 1905, Marygrove College is an independent liberal arts college and a Catholic institution of higher learning. The College’s commitment to the city of Detroit comprises an institutional mission and vision for developing urban leaders. The main campus is situated on 53 wooded acres in northwest Detroit.
8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221
www.marygrove.edu



ABOUT THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. Since 1950, the foundation has invested more than $841 million in civic innovators who help cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity, and create a culture of engagement.



ABOUT STEPHEN HENDERSON

A native of Detroit, Pulitzer Price-winning journalist Stephen Henderson is a graduate of University of Detroit High School and the University of Michigan. In addition to hosting two talk shows, “Detroit Today” on WDET and “American Black Journal” on Detroit Public Television, Henderson co-hosts the news show "MiWeek" on Detroit Public Television, and is a correspondent for WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) in Detroit. He is also the Detroit Free Press Editorial Page Editor. In 2014 he won both the Pulitzer Prize for commentary and the National Association of Black Journalists’ Journalist of the Year Award for his writing on Detroit's financial crisis.