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$1M Gift to Help Detroit Families Facing Water Shutoffs

Detroit (Detroit Free Press)

The New York-based investment firm that helped guide Detroit through bankruptcy has donated $1 million to The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) to help residents facing water shutoffs, the Free Press has learned.

The gift from Miller Buckfire is the largest private nonutility donation in the charity’s history — it means THAW can create its own independent water assistance program to help keep families in their homes and keep children healthy, both vital for Detroit’s revitalization.

THAW is expanding its mission because the water issue — which drew international attention last year as criticism of the shutoffs came in from places as varied as the United Nations and Cher — is a health issue, said Saunteel Jenkins, the former Detroit City Councilwoman who became THAW CEO last October. The new water program is expected to launch June 1.

“If you are someone who believes that kids’ health should be a priority, if kids don’t have running water, preventable disease can spread,” she said. “If education is a priority, kids are missing school because they don’t have running water in their homes.”