Detroit Pistons Partner with City Year to Enhance Learning Opportunities for Detroit Public School Students

Philanthropic Donation and Partnership Initiative to Provide Academic Support for Students of Osborn High School and Grow City Year Detroit’s Expansion Efforts

The Detroit Pistons and City Year today revealed plans for a long-term partnership that will help grow the non-profit’s reach throughout Detroit Public Schools over the next three years and directly impact students at Osborn High School and surrounding middle schools.

 Financial commitments provided by Pistons owner Tom Gores, PS&E Vice Chairman Arn Tellem and the Detroit Pistons Foundation will support a team of City Year “AmeriCorps members” working each day with students at Osborn High School, as well as surrounding elementary and middle schools to lend academic, social and emotional support to students.  Additional funding will be directed towards City Year Detroit’s growth objectives over the next three years.  Tellem recently accepted a leadership role with the non-profit as a member of the Board of Directors, while newly acquired forward Tobias Harris has signed on to be an honorary City Year “AmeriCorp member.”  The partnership will also include school visits and academic engagement support from Pistons players, executives and staffers. 

 “Education is a powerful tool that can transform people’s lives and help revitalize communities,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores.  “We want to inspire these kids, give them a reason to dream and then provide the resources they need to make those dreams come true.”

 Nearly a third of Detroit Public School students are at risk to drop out.  Helping to reduce that risk, City Year Detroit leverages the power of young people by placing 71 AmeriCorp members – all 18-25 years old and from diverse backgrounds – into the highest need schools in the city.  The AmeriCorp members work all day, every day, as tutors, mentors and role models to nearly 5,000 students, providing critical support to improve student attendance, behavior and course performance in math and English.

 “We’re pleased to partner with City Year to assist Detroit Public School students and help grow the reach of their successful program,” said PS&E Vice Chairman Arn Tellem.  “Tom and I believe in the power of education.  City Year Detroit’s successes with public school kids will augment and underscore the rebirth of the city and region.”

 Schools that partner with City Year are two-to-three times more likely to improve English Language Arts and math proficiency rates than schools which do not participate in the program.  Similarly, schools that partner with City Year gain about one month of additional learning in English Language Arts and math compared to schools that do not participate. 

 “We currently have three to four applicants to City Year for every one we are able to accept,” said Andrew Stein, Executive Director for City Year Detroit.  “This shows me that young people want to be a part of the solution in Detroit schools.”

 City Year Detroit’s goal over the next three years is to expand into four high schools, as well as the nine elementary schools and middle schools that feed into these high schools.  This strategy will allow City Year to provide a continuum of support for students throughout their academic careers.  Achieving this goal requires City Year Detroit to double in size from 71 to 139 AmeriCorp members.  At that size, City Year estimates it will be able to support 10,000 students every day in Detroit schools.

 “We are incredibly grateful for the strategic investment by Mr. Gores, Mr. Tellem, the Detroit Pistons Foundation and PS&E and the Detroit Pistons,” said Stein.  “It is a game-changer for us and sets us up to scale our work of keeping Detroit students in school and on track.”

Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E) is one of the premier sports/entertainment companies in the world that hosts, produces, and manages premier sporting and entertainment events in Michigan.  Assets include the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, The Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre.  PS&E also operates the Meadow Brook Music Festival, Freedom Hill Amphitheatre and manages the basketball operations for the NBA Development League’s new Grand Rapids affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive.   Palace Sports & Entertainment utilizes The Palace of Auburn Hills, the Detroit Pistons, DTE Energy Music Theatre, Meadow Brook Music Festival and Freedom Hill as a community asset to host over 250 events and 2.5 million fans annually.  The company delivers world-class entertainment in state-of-the-art facilities that provide premium hospitality and flawless operational execution.  The Detroit Pistons are one of the most storied franchises in the NBA. With over 2,300 regular-season and playoff victories, the club has celebrated three NBA Championships (1989, 1990, 2004), five NBA Finals appearances (1988, 1989, 1990, 2004, 2005) and 11 Eastern Conference Finals appearances.  The Palace recently won the Michigan AIA 25-year Award for architectural prowess and has been voted Arena of the Year by Performance Magazine eight times in its history, twice by Pollstar magazine and is listed annually among North America’s top-grossing arenas.  DTE, Meadow Brook and Freedom Hill are consistently ranked as three of the top summer concert venues and praised by world-class musical artists for acoustics, operational functionality and fan experience.  Following its purchase by owner Tom Gores in 2011, PS&E’s venues, hospitality spaces and operations have been transformed to reflect a culture of innovation and industry-leading thought.

City Year is dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. City Year partners with public schools in 27 urban, high-poverty communities across the U.S.  Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members serve full-time in high-poverty urban schools, providing high-impact student, classroom, and school-wide support to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is made possible by support from the Corporation for National and Community Service, school district partnerships, and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals. Learn more at