The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan announced Tuesday they had received a $5 million gift from Joan and Sanford Weill to create educational and professional opportunities for underrepresented youth in Detroit. 

The donation comes from the Weill Family Foundation. The University reported the Weills have donated approximately $1 billion to various educational and cultural institutions, including the building the Ford School occupies, since the inception of their foundation. 

The $5 million gift will be awarded in two parts. The first half will be used to support a Youth Fund, which provides opportunities for underprivileged youth in the Detroit area, and the second half will establish the Weill Scholars Fund, which will offer tuition support and stipends to graduate students at the Public Policy School from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Recipients will be known as Weill Scholars. 

Public Policy Dean Michael Barr expressed gratitude for the Weills’ gift, explaining it would allow for a more inclusive academic community. 

“We’re so grateful to Joan and Sandy Weill for their generosity and vision, and we are very excited about the opportunity this gift provides us to increase access to higher education and good jobs,” Barr wrote in an email interview with The Daily.

Programs implemented with the donation will be established in conjunction with the national education non-profit NAF, which aims to enhance public high school education and provide disadvantaged youth academic opportunities.

In a joint statement, Joan and Sanford Weill said they were looking forward to the prospect of uniting two institutions they care deeply about — the University of Michigan and NAF.

“We are excited that this agreement brings together one of the most prominent public institutions in the country with one of the most innovative leaders in public high school education — U-M and NAF — to tackle an important public policy issue of our time: educating and preparing the underrepresented to fill the jobs available in today’s new economy,” the Weills said.


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