Dan, Jennifer Gilbert give $30M to Detroit-area art academy

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert and his wife, Jennifer, have given $30 million to a private graduate art school in suburban Detroit to help it accelerate its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

The funding also will help with long-term fiscal sustainability, the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills announced Tuesday.

Twenty full-tuition fellowships for students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups will be funded through the newly established Gilbert Fellows program. A permanent endowment to fund the fellowships also will be established.

Tuition relief and general support for the academy’s existing scholarships and visiting faculty artists over the next five years, with a focus on artists of colour , will receive funding.

Cranbrook Art Museum also will receive funding to continue public engagement projects by diverse artists in both the Detroit area and on Cranbrook’s campus, the school said.

“We listened to a broad community of stakeholders and understand that there’s a lot of work to be done,” said Jennifer Gilbert, chair of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum board. “Our ultimate goal is to drive lasting financial stability while creating a more diverse and equitable community. We need a purposeful commitment to welcome underrepresented voices into these studios and conversations.”

Cranbrook Academy of Art focuses on graduate education in fine art, architecture, craft, and design.

“It is our belief that by investing in underrepresented change makers, we will position creatives at the forefront of helping to solve the problems of our increasingly complex world,” said Dominic DiMarco, president of Cranbrook Educational Community.

Dan Gilbert, a Detroit native, started Quicken Loans, now known as Rocket Mortgage. He also founded the Rock family of companies and owns the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Last month, he and his wife announced a $500 million fund to improve Detroit neighbourhoods .

The Associated Press