Robert and Ellen Thompson formed the Thompson Foundation in 1999 with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Thompson-McCully Company, Michigan’s largest asphalt paving company. The mission of the foundation is to help low-income people rise out of poverty and become self-sufficient. With a passion directed at urban education, the Thompson’s set out to create educational opportunities for Detroit youth.
Since the first University Prep school opened in 2000, the Thompsons have funded eight state-of-the-art charter schools within downtown Detroit seven of which are a part of U Prep School System.
U Prep Schools is grateful to the Thompson Foundation for so much, including leasing the buildings for only $1 a year on the promise that the schools maintain at least a 90-percent graduation rate and a 90-percent college admissions rate. This powerful campaign to produce vibrant, high-achieving, college-ready youth across metro Detroit has since been referred to as the “90/90 Movement,” a standard now in urban education.