Local and national corporations collectively contribute more than $175,000 to DPS Parade, Rally and Education and Enrollment Expo

Detroit-area businesses are contributing more than $175,000 in cash and in-kind support of the Detroit Public Schools 2011 I’m In Enrollment Campaign, an unprecedented level of business involvement in the district’s efforts to recruit and retain students.

Business community support of Detroit Public Schools has increased exponentially over the last eight months, since the district launched the DPS Volunteer Business Corps school partnership program and put in place an office to facilitate business partnerships.

Contributors including Mr. Alan’s Shoes and Sportswear, Office Depot, Forman Mills, Sodexo, Radio One, McDonald’s, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Comcast are providing direct support to the DPS Parade, Rally and Education and Enrollment Expo that will take place on Saturday August 27, 2011.

This is the first time DPS has had sponsorship opportunities for the business community, and many have stepped in with not only financial and in-kind resources but by committing staff volunteers to the event.

“As a Michigan company we have a vested interest in the city of Detroit and its community,” said Roger Karnow, CEO of presenting sponsor Mr. Alan’s, which has eight locations throughout Michigan.  “We believe that one key way for city of Detroit to prosper is for children to have access to, and receive a quality education. We are extremely enthusiastic about continuing to partner with DPS for many years to come.”

Business support for the campaign includes:

Mr. Alan’s Shoes and Sportswear is providing both cash and in-kind support, including giveaways of more than $25,000 in school uniforms at the expo, along with backpacks, wallets, crayons, pens and more.

Sodexo, a food and facilities management services firm, will serve 4,000 free hot dogs, as well as chips and drinks to guests during the expo

Office Depot is donating 6,000 backpacks containing school supplies, valued at $78,000. Among the backpack giveaways are 600 that will be donated to the company’s Volunteer Business Corps partner Burns Elementary.

Clothing retailer Forman Mills, in collaboration with Longstreet Apparel, will provide school uniform vouchers for 525 DPS students, including 325 during the parade and 100 to each of the two schools the company will adopt this fall as part of the Volunteer Business Corps. The company will also give away school uniform polos, water bottles and school uniform coupons.

In addition to a cash contribution, Comcast will staff a booth to share information on their new Internet Essentials program, which seeks to bridge the digital divide in low-income communities.

Book publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is sponsoring Curious George’s appearance in the parade and at the rally, and will hand out books, pencils, bookmarks and other items to children along the parade route. 

ABC Student Transportation, First Student and Safeway Transportation will provide free transportation to student groups participating in the parade and rally.

About the Parade, Rally and Expo:
DPS Education and Enrollment Expo and Parade and Rally: Detroit Public Schools’ high-energy Back-to-School Parade and Rally are back for the third year in a row, with a brand new Education and Enrollment Expo that will offer parents a one-stop opportunity to enroll in DPS and get their children ready for school. On-site immunizations, giveaways, and information from all 130 schools will be featured.  

Gospel artist Vickie Winans will host the rally and serve as grand marshal for the parade, which will include Curious George, the return of the All City Marching Band and classic parade floats. 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday August 27 at Hart Plaza. Parade step-off is 11 a.m. at Grand Circus Park.

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