Akerson is among those scheduled to speak at J.E. Clark Preparatory Academy during an announcement for the “Leaders to Rebuild Detroit” initiative, a three-year, multimillion-dollar campaign to revitalize the city.
The program will focus on the Morningside Commons neighborhood and will serve at least 500 families in the next three years in areas such as home construction, rehabilitation, repairs, energy-efficiency upgrades and weatherization projects, according to a statement.
In addition, another 200 families would receive training on financial literacy, homeownership and community security initiatives provided through partners.
Philanthropy is not new to Akerson. Since becoming GM CEO, he has quietly supported groups with personal checks — in one case walking in to a local soup kitchen to leave a five-figure check.
But his $1 million gift to the Habitat initiative ranks among the largest personal — and public — gifts of any Detroit auto CEO in memory.
He also personally matched the joint GM-United Auto Workers gift of $25,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project; helped sponsor the Chuck Davey Boxing Classic in 2010 and ’11; underwrote a “Meaning of Excellence” essay contest for local high school seniors; gave $10,000 to the Detroit Public Schools athletic programs in fall 2010; and chaired the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute annual gala.
During his days at the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm in Washington, he and his wife, Karin, were prominent sponsors of “So Others Might Eat,” a nonprofit founded in 1970 to feed and offer shelter to the homeless in Washington, D.C. In 2010, the organization gave Akerson its McKenna Humanitarian Award for making possible Marguerite’s Place, a new community center.
Under Akerson, GM is refocusing its corporate philanthropy on education and nonprofit organizations operating in Detroit and other plant cities. Last year, the GM Foundation donated $27.1 million to the “Networks of Excellence” initiative managed by the United Way of Southeastern Michigan. And the foundation donated $75,000 to 15 Flint-area groups serving the hungry and the homeless.
Akerson, who became CEO of GM on Sept. 1, 2010, and bought a condo in downtown Detroit, received a pay package worth $2.53 million for his work that year. He received $566,667 in salary, plus $1.76 million in stock awards for four months of work.
His 2011 compensation has not yet been reported by GM.
Late last year, Mike Duggan, president and CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, announced he and his wife Lori Maher plan to donate Duggan’s 82,000 shares in stock options he’s set to receive through 2019 from DMC owner Vanguard Health Systems Inc. Duggan wants to dole out the options — which were valued at $770,000 in late December — into college scholarships for DMC employees’ children.
“Leaders to Rebuild Detroit” is part of a $225 million statewide Habitat affordable housing campaign called Rebuild Michigan.