Philanthropist challenges donors to invest in Detroit youth


A new gift to the University of Michigan School of Education focused on serving Detroit youth and their teachers will fuel the teaching and learning already underway at a recently launched K-12 public school in northwest Detroit.

The School at Marygrove, housed on the grounds of the former Marygrove College, is part of the Detroit P-20 Partnership, a cradle-to-career educational collaboration among U-M, the Detroit Public Schools Community District and others.

Philanthropist Waltraud “Wally” Prechter is offering to match up to $1 million in gifts that support the School of Education’s work on the partnership. Qualifying donations will support teacher education, students with scholarships and training in Detroit; advance curriculum development, implementation and evaluation; and further the professional growth of Detroit educators.

Photo of Waltraud Prechter
Waltraud “Wally” Prechter is offering to match up to $1 million in gifts that support the School of Education’s work on the partnership in Detroit. (Photo by Tony Barchock)

“Investing in innovative and forward-looking approaches to education is crucial,” Prechter said. “I hope our matching gift will act as a catalyst for others to support this groundbreaking educational partnership.”

Elizabeth Birr Moje, dean of the School of Education, emphasized the potential of gifts like Prechter’s to bring about the kind of change that many have called for.

“We frequently hear people say that they want education to be better,” she said. “Mrs. Prechter is challenging all of us to make significant strides together, right here in Detroit, and she’s committed to raising the resources needed for us to be successful.”

Moje is particularly focused on how Prechter’s gift will lead to the development of high-quality materials and practices that enable Detroit teachers and students to do their very best work.

“Mrs. Prechter’s gift will allow the university and DPSCD to commit the very best minds, hearts and efforts toward teaching and learning for social justice,” Moje said, referencing The School at Marygrove’s commitment to empower Detroit youth to challenge inequity, engage with their communities and become adept problem-solvers.


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