The success of the fundraiser last year saw the nonprofit Racquet Up Detroit mark a new building
Racquet Up had raised about $ 5 million before the pandemic, he said, including $ 1.2 million from current and former board members, $ 450,000 from the McGregor Fund for capital expenditures and programming and a donation of $ 500,000 to name the college and career center of AA Van Elslander. Foundation, which is just starting to provide new grants as it spends its assets.
“Since the McGregor Fund first provided start-up support in 2010, Racquet Up Detroit has grown into a peerless youth development organization,” Kate Levin Markel, president of the McGregor Fund, said in an email.
“Derek and his extraordinary team develop deep bonds with and among participants, open doors to high quality educational and enrichment opportunities, and endow graduates with academic skills, strength of character and confidence. in themselves necessary to be successful. They also make full use of the advantages of a highly dedicated board of directors and a proven national model. “
After Racquet Up made a decision last year to continue pushing to raise the remaining dollars it needed to innovate in the center, it began approaching individuals, businesses and other foundations, a declared Aguirre.
“We stumbled into dead ends as donors adjusted their giving strategies to meet the needs of the community during the pandemic,” he said.
“But we’ve had a really productive time during the pandemic (with) a few surprises.”
The nonprofit has garnered significant relationship-focused support from undisclosed individuals, he said.
George Haggarty, retired real estate executive, has chaired its board of directors for nine years. Other board members include Paul Flanagan, partner of Plante Moran, Nathan Marsden, vice president of Merrill Lynch, Linda Forte, retired senior vice president of Comerica and Gary Van Elslander.
Racquet Up has also gained good visibility with private foundations like the Wayne and Joan Webber Foundation, the Elaine Stern Foundation and the A. Alfred Taubman Foundation, who each contributed $ 250,000 last year to name the classrooms of the new building, said Aguirre.
“The foundations, naturally, have moved on to more emergency funding related to COVID… (but) I think it’s temporary,” he said.
“Fortunately, our strategy since the start of the fundraising campaign has been to have a lot of irons in the fire.”
So far, 75 individuals, foundations and businesses have contributed to the fundraising campaign, with just $ 500,000 to raise, Aguirre said.
A long list of foundations also provide operational and programmatic support for the nonprofit, which operates on a budget of $ 1.1 million. They include: Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, DeRoy Testamentary Foundation, Jamie and Denise Jacob Family Foundation, Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation, SVS Vision, Bank of America and LoVasco Consulting Group.
With new facilities, Racquet Up will have more educational space and squash courts which will allow us to serve over 200 students and 50 other graduates who will continue to be supported by the organization. Aguirre said it could be completed as early as late November or early December.
“Our goal is to be a long-term support system for our students and, where possible, for their families,” he said.
Most Racquet Up kids are in high school; most go to college, and most are on track to graduate, Aguirre said. Six play in their varsity squash teams.
Over the past decade, the nonprofit has also strived to forge more extensive relationships with its neighbors in the community, he said. He’s already looking for ways to partner with his new neighbors, Westminster Church, Hartford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Sinai Grace Guild CDC and surrounding schools. The church, for example, provided scholarships to the elders of Racquet Up, and the youth in the program began to bond with older people in Hartford through homemade cards with encouraging feelings for the residents. .
“My vision is that when we are truly neighbors, we will visit (the residents of Hartford); they will visit us, and it will be a real relationship, ”Aguirre said.
“We see value in intergenerational relationships.”
Editor’s Note: The name of Racquet Up Detroit board member Paul Flanagan was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. This version is correct.