Stephen M. Ross and Jeff T. Blau have committed $6 million to help the Stephen M. Ross School of Business further its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

The gift supports a spectrum of initiatives designed to attract, recruit, support and offer innovative learning and work experiences for students from underrepresented backgrounds in real estate business and investing.

Ross is chairman and founder of Related Companies, for which Blau is the chief executive officer. Both men are U-M alumni and are highly engaged volunteers and donors for the Ross School and the university.

The Blau Initiative for Diversity in Real Estate and Infrastructure will have four components targeted at students from underrepresented backgrounds:

  • Sparking student interest in business and investing prior to attending U-M.
  • Attracting and recruiting students to U-M and Ross by making it more affordable.
  • Offering students learning experiences in real estate and investing.
  • Providing internships for experiences in real estate and investing.

The Related Scholars Fund will provide scholarships to attract and support students from diverse environments who are underrepresented in business leadership, including students from low-income backgrounds who are interested in pursuing careers in investing or real estate through the Ross School.

“I’ve been in real estate for more than 50 years and have a unique opportunity and obligation to foster more diversity in our industry,” Ross said. “The Ross School is an ideal partner in this work.”

Blau said he is “honored to make this commitment to Michigan Ross.”

“I hope it proves useful in getting more students from diverse backgrounds interested and involved in the fields of real estate and infrastructure investing,” he said.

The Blau Initiative will support the Related Scholars Fund and many other programs, including a new Michigan Ross Investing Academy, the Blau Career Development Series and the Blau Internship Program, which will support internship opportunities at Related Companies.

The Blau Career Development Series will include activities such as company visits, career mentorship opportunities and professional development workshops.

Scott DeRue, the Edward J. Frey Dean at the Ross School, said he believes the combined gifts will help the business school continue to make progress toward its diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

“This summer I announced a Commitment to Action related to diversity, equity and inclusion at Michigan Ross, and one of our commitments is to expand support for students from diverse backgrounds at the school,” he said.

“This new gift from Stephen Ross and Jeff Blau will help Michigan Ross create opportunities for students who are underrepresented in business leadership. I look forward to seeing the positive impact on diversity at Ross and in the business community for many years to come.”

The Blau Initiative for Diversity and the Related Scholars Fund will integrate with existing U-M and Ross outreach and access success programs, such as MREACH, Summer Business Academy, the Preparation Initiative and the business school’s Consortium membership.