Davenport launches $35M campaign to address Michigan’s talent gap

Davenport launches $35M campaign to address Michigan’s talent gap
Davenport University President Richard Pappas <strong> Courtesy Davenport University </strong>

A local university started a fundraising campaign to support a diverse talent pool in Michigan. 

Davenport University on Wednesday, Dec. 14, unveiled Elevate, a new $35 million fundraising campaign asking Michigan to invest in its students and programs to boost the workforce statewide. 

The campaign, which already raised $22.9 million of its goal, includes support for underrepresented students such as first-generation and Latino students and also focuses on boosting K-12 urban educators to help fulfill Michigan’s need for teachers. 

“This campaign aligns with the goals of Davenport’s vision, Vision 2025, that is pushing our university to set the bar in higher education by removing situational, social and financial barriers so that all students have the opportunity to become the leaders Michigan’s economy and communities need to elevate and thrive,” said Richard Pappas, Davenport University president. “Our ability to solve these issues and expand access for students will enable our university to nurture and grow the diverse talent needed to address Michigan’s growing talent gap.”

In a statement, Davenport University said Elevate campaign funding will support the following:

Urban education 

Davenport is recruiting and preparing teachers at the undergraduate level to address the talent gap in STEM education in urban districts nationally. The new undergraduate program utilizes the College of Urban Education’s approach of a day-one coaching/mentoring model, data analytics in the classroom and culturally responsive teaching embedded in every course.

First generation students 

The university has launched custom programming and activities designed to support first-generation students by addressing academic, emotional and financial obstacles to ensure Davenport students thrive in their first year in college and ultimately reach graduation.   

Casa Latina program

With a new approach to higher education, Davenport will support the Latino/a/x community by providing dual language degrees leading to high-demand careers. This program will grow the number of bilingual professionals, equally fluent in English and Spanish, needed to strengthen Michigan’s workforce in business, health care, education, technology and the sciences.

Mental health 

A focus on mental health will see the university expand academic programming to develop future professionals in these high-demand careers and additional on-site support and mental health services for students on its campuses.


Davenport has offered online classes to students for more than 20 years. Its recent Global Campus expansion to offer Online+ — extending its class offerings to include livestream, on-demand, flex and blended options — allows students to learn in the format most beneficial to their needs.


The university is developing additional scholarships to allow more Davenport students to graduate with degrees in rewarding careers and the lowest student debt possible.

This story can be found in the Dec. 26 issue of the Grand Rapids Business Journal. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here.

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