General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson today helped launch Habitat for Humanity Detroit’s “Leaders to ReBuild Detroit” initiative by personally giving $1 million as a cornerstone donation for the three-year, $25-million effort to engage Detroit’s corporate leaders in revitalizing the city.
The Akerson’s personal gift will help pay for house rehabilitation, construction and repairs in partnership with 20 families and weatherization projects in partnership with 12 families in Detroit’s Morningside Commons neighborhood.
“A strong America is built on strong communities, and building them starts with one hammer, one nail and one person who cares — from there, it’s contagious,” GM’s Akerson said. “My wife, Karin, and I want to see this effort to rebuild Detroit catch on, spread out and draw scores more volunteers and millions more in contributions.”
Akerson not surprisingly defended the auto bailouts at the event. “As I said earlier,” Akerson said, “it was a combination of two administrations not diametrically opposed philosophically, but the practicality of the situation and the importance of the auto industry and the basic manufacturing infrastructure in this country was at stake. And you can debate this forever, and I’m sure it will be for a long time, but facts are facts, it worked. For the first time in many, many years, decades, all three of the auto manufacturers are profitable, they’re hiring, they’re building, they’re investing in America.
The “Leaders to ReBuild Detroit” initiative will serve at least 500 families by 2014 through house construction, rehabilitation, critical repairs, and energy-efficiency upgrades and weatherization projects. Additionally, these families will participate in financial literacy training, home ownership workshops and community security initiatives provided by partnering organizations.