Haute 100 MIA: The Zell Family Foundation Donates $60M to the Stephen Ross School of Business

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Ross School of Business

Business magnet Sam Zell has denoted $60 million to his namesake institute at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

According to the University of Michigan, Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business has received a bankroll of $60 million from the Zell Family Foundation. 

The pledge will provide continued support to develop entrepreneurship programs for students as well as alumni. Also, $10 million of the $60 million will be devoted to funding new student business ventures.

Zell, who holds three degrees from the University of Michigan, said, “Our goal is to accelerate the learning curve and the opportunities for budding entrepreneurs, as well as to build a powerful alumni network. Entrepreneurs have always been a primary driver of growth for this country. I believe that fostering entrepreneurial education is an investment in the future.”

Touted as the world’s leading business school, the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business is no stranger to student-led venture funds. Having introduced the nation’s first entrepreneurial course, the university has continued to be a trailblazer since the 1920s.

Like the university, the Zell Lurie Institute has also become a force to be reckon with in the entrepreneurial market. It was one of the country’s first full programs dedicated to entrepreneurial education. Since being established in 1999, the institute has awarded more than $4 million through its programs such as Dare to Dream Grants, the Michigan Business Challenge business plan competition Marcel Gani Internships and scholarship awards.

“This gift generates tremendous opportunities for our students and is significant news in the world of entrepreneurial studies,” said Alison Davis-Blake, the Edward J. Frey Dean of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “The generosity of the Zell Family Foundation and its commitment to support hands-on learning opportunities will help create an exciting new fund for student business ventures and provide ongoing support for the impressive programs of the Zell Lurie Institute.”

In 2011, the Zell Foundation created the Zell Entrepreneurship and Law Program (ZEAL) at the university’s Law School, which includes a clinic to offer free legal advice to Michigan’s community of student entrepreneurs as well as educate law students to on how to assist entrepreneurial ventures.

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