Thursday, August 12, 2010

Send Us Your Cash - MIchigan Corps

Michigan Expats - Commentary - See All Commentary

By Doctor

Apparently we were not the only ones with the idea to unite the Michigan community outside of the mitten as Michigan Corps also made their official launch last week and apparently stole all of the media coverage on the subject. The Wall Street JournalChicago Tribune, and various Michigan newspapers covered the official launch of the philanthropic non-profit while we were limited to emails and Facebook postings to friends and families (BTW - we love you and please continue to spread the word).

Like Michigan Expats, Michigan Corps recognizes that Michiganders remain passionate about Michigan and claim that "Michigan Corps is the premier vehicle for converting this loyalty into meaningful impact." Donations through Michigan Corps will fund grants for small businesses and entrepreneurial training in Michigan focused on economic transformation and wealth creation.

While the website explicitly references and channels JFK's, "ask not" inaugural speech, here at Expats we first thought of George W. Bush in the Rose Garden this winter calling upon Americans to help with the Haiti relief:

Certainly Michigan needs more small business investment and to do a better job harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit of Michiganders. Michigan Corps is a unique way to spur innovation and growth while also trying to keep Michigan expats engaged and involved from across the country. Maybe it will even result in some of them moving back home.

That being said, the long-term wealth creation that Michigan needs and Michigan Corps aims to help achieve will also require structural and institutional changes in Michigan. Michigan Corps may be able to successfully funnel investment funds from New York to San Francisco, but those businesses and entrepreneurs need additional help from Lansing to help enable continued success.


  1. The founding corps members are interesting: Dick Enberg (Sportscaster), Eric Schmidt (Google), Larry Brilliant (Skoll Global Threats Fund), Sanjay Gupta (Medical Correspondent on CNN), Jay Adelson (Rev3 and Digg), and Jeffrey Eugenides (author).

    A lot of great talent comes out of Michigan.

  2. The Founding Corps members are an impressive list. Michigan certainly produces a lot of talented and successful people. The problem is that too many generate that success outside of Michigan. It's always reassuring to see most of them still maintain a connection with Michigan.

  3. Something tells me that another round of picking the winners in some sort of pseudo capitalistic enterprise isn't going to get Michigan going again. How about instead of turning Michigan into a charity case, they just lower the taxes and streamline government.

    "Sheisters show up and take advantage of people's good will and generosity" -GW Bush

  4. It's a bunch of googlers! Eric Schmit, of course.. Larry Brilliant used to be in charge of, the founder, Rishi Jaitly, must have worked with Larry Brilliant since he was an ex-googler in the same area. Maybe after a bit, these guys will start to get creative. With the lineup of talent, I would expect a little more of a model than "donate to our venture-capital-esque philanthropic fund just because you love Michigan." That being said, these guys are pretty busy with their day jobs. It's a start.

  5. Buy Michigan stuff! Choose Pioneer or Big Chief sugar from Michigan sugar beets instead of cane sugar from Florida. Ask for Michigan wines (very good, by the way) at your wine stores. Eat lots of Michigan-grown cherries. And ask for Koegel's hot dogs, of course. Joe always says that money talks.

  6. I agree with Aaron. One program alone cannot save the state. Specific measures meant to promote specific goals cannot save the state. We need to realize that we cannot engineer societies as engineered solutions always fail. Only when we stop trying to engineer improvements, will we see improvements.

    That being said, it's good to see people with interest and a willingness to put some effort into improving the state.