Downtown Synagogue to begin renovations with grant money

William Davidson was as successful a businessman as he was a professional sports team owner. Davidson's Detroit Pistons won three NBA championships (earning him a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame), his Detroit Shock won three WNBA championships, and his Tampa Bay Lightning won one NHL championship. But in addition to being a team owner and businessmam, Davidson was also a philanthropist.

Though Davidson passed away in 2009, the William Davidson Foundation carries on in its mission to improve southeastern Michigan and support Jewish life in that region. That foundation has just awarded a $350,000 grant to the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue in downtown Detroit. Another $100,000 is on the table as a challenge grant. For every dollar the Synagogue can raise in 2015, the foundation will pledge two more dollars, up to $100,000.

The Synagogue was founded in Detroit in 1921 and has been at its current location at 1457 Griswold St. since the early 1960s. It is notable for being the only Synagogue in the city of Detroit.

According to the Downtown Synagogue, the funds will be used for building renovations, to support and improve programming, and to help in fundraising. Deeper relations among the board, staff, volunteers, and community will also be a focus.

"We are thrilled to receive the generous award from the Davidson Foundation," says Leor Barak, board president. "There's never been a more exciting time to get involved in crafting the future of Jewish Detroit."

That future is one filled with growth, assures the Synagogue. According to a release, over 1,000 first-time visitors have come to the Synagogue in the last three years. The Synagogue credits an energetic board of directors and talented director as key factors in their recent successes. The board is also planning to hire a new executive director soon.

Source: Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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