One of America’s most philanthropic families has announced a $1 million gift to Detroit’s College for Creative Studies.
Danialle and Peter Karmanos, Jr., philanthropists and metro Detroit community leaders are donating one million dollars to the College for Creative Studies (CCS) to support an endowment for its growing Fashion Accessories Design (FAD) program and aid in student scholarships.
Danialle and Pete are also chairing the 36th Detroit International Wine Auction to benefit CCS and their gift is a match to sponsorship dollars raised for the event.
The couple has invested millions of dollars, along with their time and energy, supporting many causes specifically related to better health, better education and better living within the Detroit community— particularly amongst young people.
They are also active in numerous Greek American community projects, including both serving as board members of the New York City-based Greek America Foundation, where they recently announced an endowed scholarship for students to study abroad in Greece.
Danialle Karmanos, a CCS Trustee, and a philanthropist with an entrepreneurial spirit, is the founder of the groundbreaking Danialle Karmanos Work It Out. DKWIO uses a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) approach, including yoga and education about healthy eating, and has helped over 10,000 children reduce anxiety, prevent obesity and increase self-esteem. She also founded the Karmanos Center for Natural Childbirth at Beaumont Hospital, a one-of-a-kind center that combines the comfort of natural home birth with the security of a medical setting.
Peter Karmanos, Jr. is the son of Greek immigrants and believes strongly in education as a tool for success. He is the founder of Detroit-based Compuware, and served as CEO and executive chairman until his retirement in 2013. He is a visionary credited with sparking a downtown Detroit renaissance as the first CEO of a major corporation to move their headquarters downtown. Pete has been a major player in the comeback of Detroit as a world-class city.
His latest business venture is guiding and investing in businesses impacting metro Detroit’s economic landscape through his new enterprise, MadDog Technology as well as other investment vehicles. He also keeps his competitive juices flowing as owner of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes.
“Aki Choklat is a brilliant and creative innovator and CCS is lucky to have him,” said Danialle Karmanos. “The Fashion Accessories Design department is an exciting new addition to CCS. Aki’s work is what inspired Pete and I to chair the Wine Auction this year and to engage our fashion-minded friends in the Greek American community, like John Varvatos and Tom Kartsotis, who are partly responsible for the auction’s success this year. We are proud to offer this gift and are excited to see it put to use.”
“Our Fashion Accessories Design program is breaking ground in terms of preparing students to work in the global fashion industry. This generous gift will help us recruit and support the most talented students from around the country and the world, and educate them to be the next generation of great designers,” said Professor Aki Choklat, Chair of Fashion Accessories Design at CCS. “Detroit has a rich history of manufacturing and a brazen, creative spirit, and the Karmanos’ gift will help leverage that in new and exciting ways.”
The Fashion Accessories Design program was developed in collaboration with Shinola and is the first and only of its kind in the Midwest. The program educates students in the design and manufacture of products such as footwear, handbags, leather goods and accessories hardware. It links strong creative development to knowledge of manufacturing, trend forecasting, market research and merchandising for a comprehensive view of the industry. Fashion accessories design is a $51 billion business annually in the US alone.
The Detroit International Wine Auction is an annual event that raises money in support of undergraduate CCS student scholarships and free art programs for Detroit youth. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, October 21.