The Blackstone Charitable Foundation invests $50 million to support entrepreneurship globally
Partners with New Economy Initiative and the University of Miami in making first major grant to bring \"Blackstone LaunchPad\" to Metro Detroit Colleges
April 30, 2010
DETROIT, April 30, 2010 - The Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced today a five-year,
$50 million commitment to foster entrepreneurship and economic recovery in communities hardest
hit by the global economic crisis. The Blackstone Entrepreneurship Initiative will support
innovative programs and ideas with potential for fostering entrepreneurship and, in turn, the highgrowth
businesses and industries that are most known to spark economic growth.
In partnership with the New Economy Initiative (NEI) for Southeast Michigan, the University of
Miami, Wayne State University and Walsh College, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is making
its first major grant to establish "Blackstone LaunchPad," a program it hopes will become a national
model for fostering entrepreneurship through higher education.
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation's $2 million grant will bring Blackstone LaunchPad to the
campuses of Wayne State University and Walsh College in Southeast Michigan. Blackstone
LaunchPad advances the mission and successful methodology designed by the University of Miami.
Founded in 2008, the University of Miami program promotes entrepreneurial thinking and activity
among undergraduate, graduate students and new alumni. In its first two years, "The Launch Pad"
at the University of Miami attracted more than 1000 students and young alumni who received
support enabling them to create 45 new businesses and 102 new jobs.
Blackstone LaunchPad will help aspiring entrepreneurs transform untested ideas into vital businesses
that lead to economic revitalization by providing practical skills, seasoned advice and professional
contacts. As partners in implementing Blackstone LaunchPad, the University of Miami will work
with Wayne State University and Walsh College in building a local network of entrepreneur
Blackstone's Chairman and CEO, Stephen A. Schwarzman said: "A sustained period of job growth
depends on the creativity, innovation and ultimate success of entrepreneurs in creating new
businesses. That's why The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is unleashing its capital and the firm's
expertise to help foster the next generation of entrepreneurs."
NEI, a collaboration of 10 local and national foundations committed to moving Southeast Michigan
toward becoming a stronger innovation-based economy, intends to make its own grant of $800,000
to provide central coordination services and an evaluation tool to measure the success of the project.
Detroit Congressman John Conyers, Jr. said: "We are thrilled at the investment that the Blackstone
Charitable Foundation will be making in our community. Job creation in the Detroit region is
spurred by new businesses and technology grown here at home. This grant to Wayne State
University reflects the strength of its TechTown initiative and the commitment of its faculty. With
the opportunity that LaunchPad provides, our area residents are ready to show their talents and
industry as entrepreneurs poised to lead the region's economic revival."
NEI Executive Director Dave Egner said: "Entrepreneurial activity is often the catalyst in growing
of successful businesses, industries and communities. The Blackstone LaunchPad program at
Wayne State University and Walsh College will help support the need in our region to foster
entrepreneurship through a higher education setting. This is an important new approach to
educating the next generation of entrepreneurs who are so critical to growing the region's
University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala said: "The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has
made a visionary educational grant. It will enable students at Wayne State University and Walsh
College to discover new careers in entrepreneurship and thereby to apply their talents and learning
to help Detroit thrive. It is meaningful to the University of Miami that the model and programs
developed at The Launch Pad on our campus can contribute to this exciting and novel project. We
thank The Blackstone Charitable Foundation for inviting us to participate and are eager to begin this
new educational collaboration."
Wayne State University President Jay Noren said: "The training of new entrepreneurs is one of the
primary foundations of Michigan's return to economic prosperity. Through Blackstone LaunchPad
we have an opportunity to groom students and provide them opportunities to build entrepreneurial
skills and explore their ideas in a supportive environment. The university has created a lively
entrepreneurial culture among our research faculty and at TechTown, our business incubator, and
we are a logical and accommodating environment in which Blackstone LaunchPad may thrive. This
is an important and timely program, and we look forward to collaborating with NEI, The
Blackstone Charitable Foundation, University of Miami and Walsh College to make it successful."
Walsh College President and CEO Stephanie Bergeron said: "Blackstone's vision for
entrepreneurship and higher education is a model to drive economic growth in the toughest-hit
areas, and is inspirational. With the largest graduate business school in Michigan, innovative
academic and community outreach programs, and survey results that show students asking for
entrepreneurial support, Walsh College is committed to a powerful collaboration with The
Blackstone Charitable Foundation, NEI, Wayne State University, and the University of Miami,
which will bring the Blackstone LaunchPad to our students, the community and Michigan."
About The Blackstone Charitable Foundation
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of The Blackstone Group's Initial Public
Offering in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm's employees. Influenced by the enterprising
heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and
applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas hardest hit by the global
economic crisis. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone
has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial
activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities. For
more information, please visit: www.www.blackstone.com/CharitableFoundation.htm
About the New Economy Initiative
The New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan (NEI) is an innovative philanthropic effort to accelerate
the transition of metro Detroit to an innovation-based economy that expands opportunity for all. Ten
national, regional and local foundations have committed $100 million to this unprecedented eight-year
initiative, including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (Detroit), the Max M. and Marjorie S.
Fisher Foundation (Southfield, Michigan), the Ford Foundation (New York), the Hudson-Webber
Foundation (Detroit), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (Battle Creek, Michigan), the John S. and James L.
Knight Foundation (Miami), The Kresge Foundation (Troy, Michigan), the McGregor Fund (Detroit), the
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (Flint, Michigan), and the Skillman Foundation (Detroit). The participating
foundations are leading the implementation and governance of the Initiative. The Community Foundation for
Southeast Michigan, which initiated the collaborative, is serving as its administrative home. For more
information, please visit www.neweconomyinitiative.org.
About the University Of Miami
The University of Miami's mission is to educate and nurture students, create knowledge, and to provide
service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of our diversity of our University
family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world. For more information visit www.miami.edu
About Wayne State University
Wayne State University is one of the nation's pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting.
Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with
government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve
the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information on
research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.
About Walsh College
Walsh College (www.walshcollege.edu) is a private, independent, all-business college in southeast Michigan where
application and theory are integrated to prepare graduates for successful careers. The College offers upperdivision
business and technology degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Walsh College is
accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
(www.ncahlc.org) and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE, www.iacbe.org)
and is a member of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB, www.aacsb.edu).
Contact: Blackstone Public
Contact: Francine Wunder