University of Michigan Ross School of Business to receive $6 million for diversity initiative

Donation to support, attract, recruit students in underrepresented backgrounds

A live class in University of Michigan Ross School of Business' new online MBA program. (University of Michigan Ross School of Business)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan Ross School of Business is expected to receive a $6 million donation for its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative.

According to a press release, the donation is to support the Blau Initiative for Diversity in Real Estate and Infrastructure, set to attract, recruit, offer and support work experiences and learning for students in underrepresented backgrounds in real estate business and investing.

The $6 million donation is slated to come from U of M alumni Stephen M. Ross and Jeff T. Blau, who are also chairman and chief executive officer respectively of real estate firm Related Companies.

“I’ve been in real estate for more than 50 years and have a unique opportunity and obligation to foster more diversity in our industry,” Ross said in the release. “The Ross School is an ideal partner in this work.”

The Blau Initiative for Diversity in Real Estate and Infrastructure will address four components for supporting students in underrepresented groups:

Student interest in business and investing before attending the university, attract and recruit students to the Michigan Ross School of Business and make it more affordable, offer student learning in real estate and investment, and provide internships for careers in real estate and investing.

“I hope it proves useful in getting more students from diverse backgrounds interested and involved in the fields of real estate and infrastructure investing,” Blau said in the press release.

The Blau Initiative will also support the Related Scholars Fund, which will provide scholarships to support students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in business leadership. This will include students from low-income who are interested in a career in investing or real estate through the Michigan Ross School of Business.

In addition, the Blau Initiative will support other programs, such as a new Michigan Ross Investing Academy, the Blau Career Development Series and the Blau Internship Program.

The Blau Initiative will also integrate existing U of M and Michigan Ross School of Business initiatives.

“This summer I announced a Commitment to Action related to diversity, equity, and inclusion at Michigan Ross, and one of our commitments is to expand support for students from diverse backgrounds at the school,” Michigan Ross Dean Scott DeRue said.

“This new gift from Stephen Ross and Jeff Blau will help Michigan Ross create opportunities for students who are underrepresented in business leadership. I look forward to seeing the positive impact on diversity at Ross and in the business community for many years to come.”

About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.