At the Ilitch Companies, gratitude underscores all that we do – we are thankful for our colleagues, our customers, our partners, and the global communities in which we serve. This holiday season, as we close out a year of gratitude – from celebrating the career of the legendary Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera to providing meals through the Little Caesars Love Kitchen and shining the spotlight on the athletic and artistic talents of youth, plus so much more – we thank all those who have been part of the journey.
Appreciating our community partners as we build opportunity
- The evolution of Columbia Street continued as Detroit’s “Restaurant Row” as Olympia Development welcomed two new locally-owned destinations to the pedestrian-only thoroughfare – Sahara Restaurant & Grill and Good Cakes and Bakes. The area was further activated throughout the year with family-friendly activities including Lions tailgates in partnership with Little Caesars, a celebration of European soccer, a Miggy pop-up experience featuring El Rey de las Arepas, Fall Fest, Winter Wonderland and more.
- Building on last year’s inaugural program, both Little Caesars Arena and Comerica Park welcomed Detroit-based food vendors to the venues, creating opportunity for small businesses while enhancing the experience for fans. Among the local entrepreneurs were The Kitchen by Cooking by Que, Bert’s Marketplace, The Lobster Food Truck, Breadless and others.
- Leveraging their partnership with the NFL, Little Caesars Love Kitchen served nearly 70,000 meals to those in need in 2023, including stops at the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl, cities impacted by natural disasters, as well as 5,500 pizzas in the company’s hometown of Detroit.
- Ilitch Companies CEO Chris Ilitch served as the 2023 Senior Corporate Chair of the Detroit Branch NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner, billed as the largest sit-down dinner in the world. This year also marked the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Freedom Walk. The commemorative walk was supported by all Ilitch Companies businesses, and colleagues who marched, volunteered and provided water to participants.
- Working with partners across a wide array of backgrounds, this year marked the opening of The District Detroit’s Opportunity Center. The center serves as a centralized location for residents of Detroit to find resources for housing and jobs, while providing opportunities to engage with employers, contractors and other community members.
Supporting kids on the field, in the classroom and on the stage
- Students from Detroit Public Schools Community District returned to the stage at the Fox Theatre for the annual Evening of Fine Arts, in partnership with Olympia Development, Ilitch Sports + Entertainment, 313 Presents and Comerica Bank. Featuring visual art on display in the theatre’s Grand Lobby and a variety of performances by musicians, actors and dancers on stage, the event showcased the immense talents of Detroit’s students.
- The Detroit Red Wings Learn, Play, Score program was expanded this year to include street hockey within the P.E. curriculum for more than 34,000 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Launched in 2020, Learn, Play, Score breaks down systemic barriers by providing access to all forms of hockey for thousands of children in the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
- At a community celebration in August, llitch Charities expressed its gratitude to three community organizations, including the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. The donation of $100,000 supports career and technical educational programs that train students to join the workforce. Other honorees were Detroit’s Eastern Market Partnership and Hatch Detroit by TechTown, an initiative of Wayne State University.
- As Miguel Cabrera’s final season came to an end, the Detroit Tigers Foundation hosted its Keeping Kids in the Game fundraising event at Comerica Park, benefitting Make-A-Wish, providing positive life-changing experiences to critically ill youth, and the Miguel Cabrera Foundation, which, among other things, promotes recreational baseball and softball to children between 6 and 10 years of age.
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