Pamela Moore recognized as Women’s History Month Game Changers honoree

Detroit Tigers

Pamela Moore knows firsthand how a quality education opens doors to the world.

A native Detroiter and Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) alumna, Moore earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance and an MBA from Wayne State University. After finishing her education, she spent several years serving each of Detroit’s last three mayors, specifically working to improve various public workforce programs and services.

In March 2016, Moore became the president and CEO of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, a Michigan nonprofit dedicated to creating and enhancing educational opportunities for the young minds of the state’s largest public-school district.

Since Moore started her role at DPSF, she’s overseen continuous transformation across the district.

“What has changed? The answer is everything,” Moore said. “We’ve updated the outdated curriculum. We made teachers whole by working to fix their cut salaries and fill vacancies. We’ve restored music, art and physical education in every school in which they had been stripped.”

Reflecting on her experiences in politics and public education, Moore said her current position is rewarding.

“I’ve seen the devastation to public education and the hardship to families,” Moore said. “I’ve seen the increase in poverty, crime and lack of opportunities for our young people. So to be part of that work has been really worthwhile.”

As part of Women’s History Month, Moore is being celebrated for the Detroit Red Wings’ and Detroit Tigers’ Game Changers series, presented by Comerica Bank, for her dedication to providing a positive future for students in the classroom and community.

“Having experienced firsthand the work Pamela and her team accomplish at Detroit Public Schools Foundation, I’m beyond thrilled to celebrate her as a Game Changers honoree,” said Kevin Brown, director of community impact for Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “Under her leadership, Pamela continues to champion the delivery of educational opportunities and life-changing tools every day for thousands of Detroit’s young minds to succeed and achieve their goals.”

Led by a group of dedicated community leaders, DPSF works to raise money to support Detroit Public Schools Community District students.

It’s an extensive scope, one that goes beyond the classroom.

“I know that every day, I’ve either helped a child of DPSCD, a family of those children or an educator,” Moore said. “That’s all in our mission statement. We’re here to create and enhance educational opportunities for all of those people.”

But these improvements are not possible without fundraising. So every day, the DPSF team raises money from a variety of sources, including grants, sponsorships and cash donations from individuals and businesses alike.

And by working closely with DPSCD to identify student needs and support programs, Moore said the foundation can better focus on a student’s needs as a whole.

“We go beyond the in-classroom kinds of needs,” Moore said. “The whole child is taken care of when they’re in school. When they’re not in school, we want to know they’re OK.”

This desire to provide the next generation with the best possible upbringing means a lot to Moore.

“It’s very personal. When I came through DPS, resources were plentiful,” Moore said. “No one ever talked about what we didn’t have. The way public schools are funded now and the fact that roughly 17 percent of our children are considered to have some type of disability, you need resources to address how those children learn.”

Over the last four years, DPSF awarded an average of $2.5 million to $3 million in grants. According to Moore, these contributions addressed a variety of different needs.

“When we found lead and copper in the water fountains, we helped those fundraising efforts by putting $3 million to get water hydration stations in every school,” Moore said. “Then when COVID-19 hit, and when we knew the schools were going to close, we started having conversations about how we were going to get our children tablets and helping them overcome bad Internet.”

With children removed from the classroom and as some families struggled financially, the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for the organization to fulfill its mission. Despite the obstacles, DPSF’s effort persevered.

“COVID-19 almost wiped out every improvement we had made,” Moore said. “But our team of great leaders was committed, and we stayed in lockstep with the district because we are always there to serve.”

DPSF has six full-time staff members. Considering the organization raised approximately $23 million to provide students with tablets, better Internet and technical support to combat the challenges of remote learning, its recurring achievements are impressive.

“These kinds of accomplishments were never seen before,” Moore said. “We have a strong partnership with the district, an alignment with the district and are taking on some really big challenges as we work to find that external funding.”

As DPSCD continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, Moore wants to spread the word about the opportunities and challenges students experience every day.

“Some of these young people are doing fantastic things,” Moore said. “They all have potential, but they need resources. The plan for the future is to get back to normal and get back on track in terms of student performance and look for how we can create new partnerships.”

Aside from the students, prioritizing the well-being of teachers is at the top of Moore’s to-do list.

“Teachers are so great. They’re on the front lines and aren’t paid enough,” Moore said. “They have to do so much more than teach a lesson. We’re finding professional development opportunities for them, too.”

Connecting schools and programs to supporters is a functional pillar of the foundation. With a vast DPSCD alumni network, Moore sees an opportunity to bring the community even closer together.

“There are hundreds of thousands of alumni still walking the earth. I want them to know what these young people need,” Moore said. “I want them to know all the accomplishments of these young people, how smart they are and what their hopes and dreams are so they can be supported.”

To learn more about how to donate or support DPSF, visit dpsfdn.org.

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