Karmanoses Donate $1 Million to Detroit School

Peter Karmanos, Jr. Photo: by Gregg Forwerck/Carolina Hurricanes

DETROIT – Greek-American Peter Karmanos Jr. and his wife Danialle, philanthropists and metro Detroit community leaders, are donating $1 million for the Fashion Accessories Design (FAD) program and student scholarships at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit. The school made the announcement on August 16, as Crain’s Detroit Business reported.

The donation is a match to sponsorship dollars raised for the 36th Detroit International Wine Auction, chaired by the Karamanoses. The annual event, which takes place on October 21, raises money in support of undergraduate CCS student scholarships and free art programs for Detroit youth. Nina Holden, vice president of institutional advancement at CCS, said last year’s event raised $3.4 million, as Crain’s reported.

According to the school’s press release, “The Fashion Accessories Design program was developed in collaboration with Shinola and is the first and only of its kind in the Midwest. The program educates students in the design and manufacture of products such as footwear, handbags, leather goods and accessories hardware. It links strong creative development to knowledge of manufacturing, trend forecasting, market research and merchandising for a comprehensive view of the industry. Fashion accessories design is a $51 billion business annually in the US alone.”

The Karmanoses “have invested millions of dollars, along with their time and energy, supporting many causes specifically related to better health, better education, and better living within the Detroit community,” the release noted.

Shinola/Detroit LLC supports the FAD program with donations of leather and other materials, Holden said, as reported by Crain’s. The A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education building in New Center is the home of both Shinola and CCS.

“Peter Karmanos, Jr. is the son of Greek immigrants and believes strongly in education as a tool for success. He is the founder of Detroit-based Compuware, and served as CEO and executive chairman until his retirement in 2013. He is a visionary credited with sparking a downtown Detroit renaissance as the first CEO of a major corporation to move their headquarters downtown. Pete has been a major player in the comeback of Detroit as a world-class city. His latest business venture is guiding and investing in businesses impacting metro Detroit’s economic landscape through his new enterprise, MadDog Technology as well as other investment vehicles. He also keeps his competitive juices flowing as owner of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes,” the press release stated.

“Our Fashion Accessories Design program is breaking ground in terms of preparing students to work in the global fashion industry. This generous gift will help us recruit and support the most talented students from around the country and the world, and educate them to be the next generation of great designers,” Aki Choklat, professor and chair of the fashion program, said in the statement announcing the donation.

“Aki Choklat is a brilliant and creative innovator and CCS is lucky to have him,” Danialle Karmanos said in the statement. She continued, “Aki’s work is what inspired Pete and I to chair the Wine Auction this year and to engage our fashion-minded friends in the Greek American community, like John Varvatos and Tom Kartsotis, who are partly responsible for the auction’s success this year.”

Danialle Karmanos, a CCS trustee, founded Danialle Karmanos’ Work It Out which has helped over 10,000 children reduce their anxiety through yoga and education concerning healthy eating. She and her husband also donated $5 million to create the Karmanos Center for Natural Childbirth at Beaumont Hospital, a one-of-a-kind center that combines the comfort of natural home birth with the security of a medical setting.