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 families rise out of poverty and become self-sufficient. With a passion directed at urban education, the Thompsons set out to create educational opportunities for Detroit youth to fulfill the goal of their foundation.
In 2000, Doug Ross, a former US Assistant Secretary of Labor and Michigan State Senator, founded the University Prep Schools to bring higher education standards and achieve much improved high school graduation and college enrollment rates for student families in the city of Detroit. Looking for a financial partner with an aligned vision, Ross reached out to the Thompsons for support to help fulfill the need for a high school for the University Prep Middle School scholars. Through their work together, the “Detroit 90/90 Promise” was born.
The Detroit 90/90 Promise was the first of its kind in the city and continues to serve as a benchmark for success; scholars achieve a 90-percent graduation rate and a 90-percent college admissions rate and are on a sure path for achieving success in life. Under this promise, the Thompson Foundation created the groundwork for what is now our University Prep family.
Today, University Prep is one of Detroit’s oldest and largest charter school systems, comprised of 3 districts, with 10 state-of-the-art schools that serves close to 5,000 students in grades K-12. Each building is proudly leased by the Thompson Foundation for just $1, allowing the schools to better serve the children through additional resources and programming to help prepare them for success in life.
The University Prep Schools are forever grateful to the Thompsons for their continued commitment and incredible generosity resulting in vibrant, high-achieving, college-ready youth who attend some of the top colleges and universities across the nation.
To read more about Bob and Ellen Thompson please visit www.thompsonfdn.org