About us

The Detroit Free Press has a rich history of supporting the community.

The Free Press and its philanthropic arm, Free Press Charities, have contributed tens of millions of dollars to help children’s causes, support local education and literacy programs, recognize community heroes and organize signature community events. And the Free Press partners with community organizations to raise millions more in a variety of outreach programs. These programs are often done in conjunction with Detroit Media Partnership.

We are currently operating one major program, Gift of Reading, which works to put new books in the hands of disadvantaged children who may not have the luxury of a home library. We do this by working closing with Head Start programs, shelters and social service agencies, and Detroit Public Schools.

In addition, the Free Press and Detroit Media Partnership focus on many other initiatives and programs benefiting the metro Detroit Community. Here are a few:

Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon
Annually on the third Sunday of October, the Free Press puts on one of Detroit’s signature events. The Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon, one of the fastest-growing in the country, offers what no other marathon does: two international border crossings and an underwater mile through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. The event started in 1978 with 1,942 marathoners. The event now boasts more than 27,000 runners in the marathon, international half-marathon, US only half marathon, team relay and 5K races. Our 24 Charity Partners raised more than $3 million through the Marathon in 2013, for causes such as cancer research and clean water in impoverished countries. The Free Press annually organizes 3,000 volunteers from across metro Detroit to help stage the race, with funding from our title sponsor, Talmer Bank, and several others.

The Shining Light Regional Cooperation Awards
The Detroit Free Press and the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition created the Shining Light Regional Cooperation Awards in 2007 to honor those who make important contributions to progress across Metro Detroit. Named for late Free Press Publisher Neal Shine, who promoted his love for Detroit and his vision for ties among all metro communities, the awards honor people who further regional cooperation and encourage others to follow. The program offers three awards annually: the Neal Shine Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership, the Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award, and the Dave Bing Future Leader Award.

All-State High School Football Banquet
The Free Press and high school sports beat reporter Hal Schram created Michigan’s first all-state football team in the 1950s. Each December, the Free Press honors 23 all-state players at a banquet in Detroit in partnership with the Michigan chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.

Free Press High School Journalism Program
It was created in 1985 by Neal Shine, who was concerned that budget cuts were undermining journalism programs in Detroit high schools. With underwriting from the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Free Press staff offers mentoring to journalism classes from 15 Detroit high schools and works with them to publish school newspapers and websites, and to publish their work on www.freephigh.com. Many former students have gone on to be successful journalists. The Ford Fund gives an annual $24,000 journalism scholarship to the top student.

Free Press Apprentice Program
Each summer, 10 outstanding Metro Detroit high school students participate in the six-week program, earning wages and working 20 hours per week in the newsroom with mentors to write articles for the Free Press – including Page 1A and other section-front pages – and freep.com. Many apprentices have returned years later as full-time Free Press employees or work as journalists around the country.
For more information about Detroit Free Press Charities, contact:

Debora Scola
Vice President / Secretary
615 W. Lafayette Blvd.
Detroit, Michigan 48226
dscola@dnps.com | 313-222-6895 | fax 313-496-4878