Expect to see some more announcements about “Grand Bargain” money from additional donors, writes Daniel Howes in The Detroit News. The business columnist predicts that DTE Energy Co., Quicken Loans Inc., Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Roger Penske’s companies are all between a certainty and a likelihood to make donations.
The Grand Bargain funding — $366 million from 12 foundations, $100 million donated through the Detroit Institute of Arts, and $195 million of state money — will go to Detroit’s pension funds to help restore cuts to retiree benefits. But the funding is tied to a favorable vote from the city’s 32,000 pensioners on the Plan of Adjustment.
The city and a few unions and retiree groups are campaigning for “yes” votes, which are due July 11. Howes reminds his readers about how unique this whole situation is:
The campaign also illustrates the unprecedented nature of the grand bargain. It is an audacious effort to buy the DIA’s freedom from city ownership by bolstering underfunded city pensions with $660 million in cash raised from a dozen foundations, DIA donors, the state Legislature and a business community that understands how pitiless bankruptcy could be without a bargain to cushion the landing for retirees. …
It’s hard to overstate just how historic the effort is. Foundations are stretching their philanthropic missions well beyond their traditional bounds; a Republican-controlled Legislature and a Republican governor are engineering a state-funded rescue of a Democratic stronghold; corporations and well-heeled donors are responding quickly to appeals otherwise likely to have been made in a long-running endowment campaign; even a union is joining the fundraising.