February 21, 2017, Dearborn, Mich. — The Eugene Applebaum Family Foundation (Applebaum Foundation) recently provided a six figure gift to the Henry Ford College (HFC) Foundation for the Detroit Promise Scholarship. With this funding, a campus coach has been installed on the main campus of HFC.
“The Applebaum Foundation has been a great community partner in southeastern Michigan for many years and we are grateful for this meaningful contribution on behalf of our students. I am honored and humbled for their support and the difference it will make in the lives of so many young people from Detroit,” said HFC Vice President of Development A. Reginald Best, Jr.
The Detroit Promise Scholarship (formerly known as the Detroit Scholarship Fund) was founded in 2013 and is administered by the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation. Since its inception, the Detroit Promise has awarded more than 2,000 Detroit high school graduates the opportunity to attend higher education institutions across the state of Michigan, including HFC, tuition-free.
“Providing education advancement opportunities has always been a high priority of the Applebaum Foundation. Through our discussions with the Michigan Educational Excellence Foundation (MEEF) and the DRCF, we wanted to focus our funding in an area that would make an impact and would embrace a cohort of students. They presented the idea that the engagement of a campus coach is a very effective way to proactively and personally connect with students to help them with the transition to college and to help ensure the overall retention and success rate,” said Andrew Echt, director of the Applebaum Foundation.
The campus coach at HFC is Mark Yancy, who is in his second semester in this role. His office is B-202 on the second floor of the Eshleman Library (Building B on the main campus). Previously, he was an adviser and worked as an adjunct faculty member. He has been employed at the College for three years. A two-time alumnus of Marygrove College in Detroit, Yancy earned his undergraduate degree in English and his graduate degree in Education.
“It ties into all the work I’ve been doing: positively impacting young people, mentoring, empowerment – it’s a natural fit,” said Yancy.
“Studies showed that a campus coach in parallel with a structured engagement format doubled graduation rates among low-income, first-generation students and that the best college to serve as a model to succeed would be HFC. That resonated with us because we hope this can serve as a prototype for all the other community colleges in the state to emulate. In addition, it is an opportunity for a young person to really sharpen and augment his or her professional development by becoming a campus coach, enhancing their leadership skills and serving as a model for others to follow,” said Echt.
He went on to say that this effort will provide students with assistance from a holistic framework, helping with academic, financial and personal/family issues students are confronted with during the course of their education.
“The campus coach program will help students bridge the gap from not being successful to being successful, from being good to being great. This effort can change the trajectory of their lives. We feel our partnership with HFC and Detroit Promise can make a transformative impact of these students. The first opportunity can be the most important opportunity,” said Pamela Applebaum, president of the Applebaum Foundation.
Another reason why the Applebaum Foundation chose HFC is because it’s located in Dearborn, where Eugene Applebaum opened his very first drugstore in 1963 called Civic Drugs. From there, he created the Arbor Drugs chain of drugstores, which was sold to CVS Health in 1998.
“It certainly made additional sense to Mr. Applebaum because that’s where he started his business. If we could in some way or some measure help advance the lives and the education of students at HFC, it is a way – to a certain degree – of coming full circle,” said Echt.