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May 23, 2013 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-05-23

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The ribbon

is cut on the

new Grand\

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Valley State IF




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Former home of Federation is now Grand Valley State outreach center.

Harry Kirsbaum
Contributing Writer


or Grand Valley State University
educators, it was a look forward.
For Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit staff members, it was
a reminiscence.
For both, it was a magnificent day.
GVSU officials, Federation officers and
charter school students wielding plenty
of scissors cut the ribbon on May 8 and
opened a new outreach center, which was
once home to the Federation and 10 other
Jewish communal organizations.
Built in 1907, the three-story structure
at 163 Madison Ave. was known as the
Home Telephone Building. In 1923, it was
home to insurance companies, until the
Jewish Welfare Federation of Detroit pur-
chased it in 1951 and renamed it the Fred
M. Butzel Memorial Building, after the
lawyer and philanthropist who dedicated
his life to improving Detroit, and whose
name graces Federation's highest honor, the
Butzel Award for Distinguished Community
"We're thrilled: said GVSU president
Tom Haas. "The legacy of a building like
this is important to preserve; legacy is even
more than history. The Federation was here
for 40 years, primarily in terms of service,
and that's what Grand Valley is about, too:'
With 25,000 students, GVSU's main
campus is in Allendale on Michigan's west
side. It also runs 52 charter schools in the
state for 28,000 K-12 students, including 31
schools in the greater Detroit Metro area,
he said. Other GVSU outreach centers are
located in Traverse City, Muskegon, Grand
Haven, Holland and Grand Rapids.
"The Detroit center will also provide
career services, connections with the busi-
ness community with our internship pro-
gram, significant investment in the health
arena; our College of Education will hold
classes for charter school teachers as well as
some of our administrators: he said.
With the help of Jewish News publisher
and executive editor Arthur Horwitz, Dan
Hurwitz, GVSU senior director of commu-


May 23 • 2013

nity development, linked the Jewish history
of the Fred M. Butzel Memorial Building to
the current occupants.
"We realized that we had to protect what
was a gem in the philanthropic endeavor:
said Hurwitz, who is also past president
of the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids.
"Federation's Butzel Award — [Butzel's]
connection to education and the city of
Detroit — it was important to link that
back because as we go forward — the
history of the building and what it stood
for — what GVSU is doing in the future is
really making Michigan a much stronger
Bob Aronson, former Federation chief
executive officer and now senior devel-
opment adviser, walked through his old
office and thought back.
"They kept the fireplace and the wood
paneling, but everything else is updated
and they just did a magnificent job: he
said. "I'm really pleased with how this
place looks, and how much of our time
and energy went into the Jewish commu-
nity from this place, and how beautiful it
is to see it now under a new incarnation,
and I'm just thrilled to pieces:
He remembers when Federation took
the vote to move from Detroit and build
the Max M. Fisher Building in Bloomfield
Township in 1991.
"It passed by one vote, and that's what
enabled us to relocate, which I've never
looked back on: he said. "I thought it was
a great decision, but to come back and see
this place, especially among a revitalized
Detroit, is just wonderful:'
Arthur Horwitz agreed.
"It's wonderful to see what GVSU has
done with the building, not just physi-
cally, but in coming here and staking their
position in the city of Detroit, that they
are also respectful of the history of this
particular building and of the Jewish com-
munity's unique place in this building:
he said. "This is not just a celebration for
Grand Valley, and it's not just a beautiful
renovation; it's done in a way that's both
forward-looking and respectful of the

el ■l k i


Left: Barbara and Douglas Bloom of Birmingham. Right: Douglas Bloom is
recognized by Thomas J. Haas, president of Grand Valley State University.

Rozanne Sedler, of Southfield, of Jewish Family Service and Sharon Alterman of West
Bloomfield look at a plaque dedicated to the building as it once was.








Left: Rashid Faisal, principal of the Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative
Studies. Right: Thomas J. Haas, GVSU president, and Steve Arwood, director, State
of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.


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