Alcoa Foundation and U-M students connect on social impact

February 8, 2012
Bernie DeGroat

…today’s MBA students have a passion to do well by doing good…”

ANN ARBOR—University of Michigan students interested in helping transform Detroit and urban transportation will benefit from two Alcoa Foundation grants totaling $65,000, the university announced today.

“Reaching out to the next generation of business leaders and engineers is a priority for Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation,” said Paula Davis, president of the Alcoa Foundation. “Knowing that today’s MBA students have a passion to do well by doing good, we are excited that their business skills will be fully utilized in Detroit’s revitalization and in promoting sustainable transportation businesses globally.”

A $15,000 grant to U-M’s Revitalization and Business Initiative, which promotes Detroit’s assets and engages students with important issues shaping the city’s future, will support consulting projects matching about 40 MBA students at the Michigan Ross School of Business each year with up to eight Detroit businesses and nonprofit organizations.

The grant also will help fund the R&B Initiative’s 2013 conference, which showcases business opportunities and initiatives with Detroit’s business leaders, decision makers, entrepreneurs and innovators.

The Alcoa Foundation also will provide a $50,000 grant to expand U-M’s SMART (Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility Research and Transformation) Program to encourage U-M students and faculty to identify and develop new business models, case studies and related research geared at accelerating development and tech transfer of new mobility solutions in Detroit, as well as in Beijing.

SMART, a university-wide initiative housed at the U-M Transportation Research Institute and Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, develops and applies integrated and practical solutions to the challenges of sustainable transportation in an increasingly complex and urbanizing world. SMART is part of the Alcoa Foundation’s $4 million Advancing Sustainability Research: Innovative Partnerships for Actionable Solutions initiative that funds 10 global sustainability research projects in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Russia and the United States.



M planet blue: the sustainable differenceU-M Sustainability fosters a more sustainable world through collaborations across campus and beyond aimed at educating students, generating new knowledge, and minimizing our environmental footprint. Learn more at



Related Links: