PuLSE Institute receives surprise donation from prominent entrepreneur

DETROIT, MI, USA Jan. 13, 2019— The Institute for Public Leadership and Social Equity, The PuLSE Institute, a Detroit-based non-partisan and independent think tank devoted to fighting poverty in the city, received a surprise donation last month to support one of its initiatives, The Douglass Project, named after consequential 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The project is one of the core programs in the Research Department of The PuLSE Institute, producing evidence-based analysis, policy initiatives and proposals that are strategically aligned with the principal pillars of race, equity, and democracy. The goal of the project is for the successful implementation of solutions to inequality that will be useful to present and future generations.

Larry S. Brinker Sr., chairman and CEO of the Brinker Group, a multifaceted construction company headquartered in Detroit, made the donation Dec. 19 to the Institute as a Douglass donor, while touting its work as important in an age where poverty is holding hostage the lives of many people.

Brinker, a 40-year veteran of the construction industry and one of the nation’s leading African American entrepreneurs, who was inducted in 2011 into the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame, preferred the amount not be disclosed. He vowed to continue to support the Institute, which he has been following since its inception.

Downtown Detroit

“It is my honor to financially support The PuLSE Institute. I truly believe in its altruistic mission to address poverty in Detroit.  I am so thankful for my overflow of blessings, my cup runneth over,” Brinker said. “To donate funds on behalf of the least of these to The PuLSE Institute should be a part of every corporation’s mantra. L. S. Brinker is humbled to play an integral role in rebuilding our great city. But, we cannot stop there. We must have a zeal to help those who yearn for the simple things that we take for granted.”

He added, “Poverty is real in Detroit and America.  We cannot ignore it any longer. I applaud The PuLSE Institute for shining the light on poverty. You can count on me to stand with you.”

Launched in July of last year, The PuLSE Institute, which has become an independent platform that highlights the issues of inequities, was inspired by the writings of prominent journalist and author Bankole Thompson, whose work has elevated the discourse around poverty and inequality in Detroit, and represents an urgent call for difference-making action. Thompson, has been an influential voice on the question of economic inequality through his insightful, impactful and impassioned Detroit News columns and community forums that drive conversations toward equitable solutions to the issues.

The Institute’s president and director of research, Tina M. Patterson, an attorney and Detroit native, applauded Brinker’s surprise contribution.

“Since its inception in less than a year, The PuLSE Institute has focused its energy on hosting rare and substantive forums, publishing thought provoking columns and reports on inequality by a diverse range of voices across the spectrum, and conducting research cemented with our amicus brief in support of the right to literacy before the United States Court of Appeals. Our team has been dedicated and relentless in pursuit of our mission to drive Detroit to a more inclusive and equitable community,” Patterson said. “Now, with the generous donation from Mr. Larry Brinker, we understand just how appreciated our work is as a vital necessity to the recovery of Detroit that remains elusive to the masses in poverty. We are grateful for his generosity and will continue to do the work necessary to justify our mission.”

C. Paschal Eze, The PuLSE Institute board chair further underscored the significance of the donation.

“Because the poor have neither big contracts nor juicy political appointments to dispense, they often lack friends with resplendent power, authority and influence. That’s why it always takes quintessential compassion and courage to support any effort that addresses the plight of the poor,” Eze said. “Thus, by supporting The PuLSE Institute in its daring and dependable efforts, Larry Brinker has shown he cares beyond the ordinary, and deserves commendation.”

Last October, the Institute announced a groundbreaking initiative called Business Leaders Against Poverty (https://thepulseinstitute.org/business-leaders-initiative/), which brings together select CEOs and industry captains in Detroit committed to championing poverty alleviation and social inclusion. It is the first of its kind in Detroit, where many are beset by poverty.

The Institute also boasts a brain trust, the National Advisory Panel. The members are:

Dr. Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and a voice for global justice.

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, and leader of the “Nuns on the Bus” campaign.

Herb Boyd, best-selling author and historian.

Janis F. Kearney, former presidential diarist under Bill Clinton.

Robert S. Weiner, former White House spokesman.

Dr. Bernard Lafayette, former top assistant to Martin Luther King Jr., and coordinator of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.

Rev Lawrence T. Foster, Harvard-trained theologian and Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church in Detroit.

Luba Lukova, Internationally renowned visual artist and social justice campaigner.

Cecilie Palmer, former anti-apartheid activist who worked with Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela.

Joan Blaney, British author and international inclusion advocate, who was honored with the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the Queen.

For more information contact info@thepulseinstitute.org

Black and Gold with CM GC DB


  1. Thank you Larry S. Brinker for supporting the PuLSE Institute and The Douglass Project. In a city whose residents are literally forced-fed the ‘good news’ of Detroit’s alleged ‘renaissance,’ it is humbling to recognize and witness individuals like yourself who have pledged resources to help uplift those Detroiters who need it the most.

    You are awesome!

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