Michigan’s Ross business school gets $1M gift for sustainability, poverty alleviation

ANN ARBOR–The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan has received more than $1 million as a result of a gift from the Applebaum Family Philanthropy to support its Business+Impact initiative, which focuses on multidisciplinary, action-based learning in social impact, sustainability, poverty alleviation, and related policy.

The gift will establish the Applebaum Family Business+Impact Experiences and Innovation Program at Michigan Ross. This new program will allow the school to enhance and expand its impact and design offerings, including the creation of a permanent endowment fund for need-based internships and scholarships to Business+Impact students.

Additionally, the program will provide Business+Impact with funding for a range of impact and design activities, such as a new Applebaum Innovator-in-Residence, prototype development for models of social impact, community outreach, research, and more.

“We are incredibly grateful to Applebaum Family Philanthropy for supporting our Business+Impact initiative and +Impact Studio,” said Scott DeRue, Edward J. Frey Dean at Michigan Ross. “Their support will help us create new and innovative opportunities for our students who aspire to build a better world through business. This generous gift will enable students and faculty to partner directly with the business community to be catalysts for positive impact at Ross and beyond.”

Business+Impact student support

Students participating in B+I programming who are awarded need-based scholarships and internships through the Applebaum Family Business+Impact Experiences and Innovation Program will be known as Applebaum Impact Design Fellows and Interns. Approximately 20 graduate and undergraduate students are expected to receive support through the new program each year.

“Advancing the next generation of entrepreneurs by providing opportunity for collaborative inspiration has long been an essential priority for my family,” said Pamela Applebaum. “Bridging business acumen and entrepreneurship to help lead community improvement–especially here in Southeast Michigan–is the next important step in this progression. That is why we are so pleased to partner with the Ross School of Business and the Business+Impact program in this effort. Together, we are confident that leveraging business innovation with social good will ultimately lead to transformative change.”

The B+I initiative at Ross was launched in 2018 with the vision of elevating the purpose and power of business to be a force for good in the world. The initiative has created and curated a wide range of impact-related programs, activities, and events. In 2019, the +Impact Studio opened to provide an innovative space for students and faculty from across UM to develop business solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, including access to safe water, financial inclusion, and economic and social resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michigan Ross students chosen to be Applebaum Impact Design Fellows will develop and test ideas from the award-winning +Impact Studio course and support student social innovators in the +Impact Studio Founders Program. Students selected to be Applebaum Impact Design Interns will engage in summer internships in connection with the +Impact Studio.

Applebaum Family’s legacy of support for student innovation and entrepreneurship

Beyond the new gift to support the B+I initiative, Applebaum Family Philanthropy has recently augmented its commitment to Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Michigan Ross to advance student innovation and entrepreneurship.

Further support was provided to the Eugene Applebaum Dare to Dream Fund, which has supported over 1,300 students over the last 16 years. Funding also will allow for the continuation of the Eugene Applebaum Family Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards, which annually recognize students who excel academically and demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit. Additionally, a recent commitment led to the creation of the Eugene Applebaum Family Dare to Dream Internship Fund, which provides support for two self-directed internships per year to students who have participated in the Dare to Dream Program at ZLI.

The late Eugene Applebaum was a longtime supporter of leadership, entrepreneurship, and mentorship at Michigan Ross and U-M. In 1998, Eugene established the first chair in entrepreneurship at the business school, and he helped to pioneer and fund the first-ever student-led venture fund in the country, the Wolverine Venture Fund.

Eugene’s daughter, Pamela Applebaum, continues the commitment of leadership serving on the Zell Lurie Institute Advisory Board and championing her family’s philanthropic support.


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