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HAP forum will link companies and communities to help transform Detroit neighborhoods

Attendees of the 2015 HAP Wellness Forum included a mix of community and corporate representatives.

To have a healthy Detroit we need healthy companies. That doesn’t just mean just financially healthy. We need companies that are committed to the health of their employees and the health of the community.

That’s what millennials are looking for when they choose an employer. We want to attract them and keep them in Detroit companies and our region, but first we need to understand what motivates them. In their case, health is also defined as the opportunity to grow, learn and advance combined with the ability to make a difference in their community.

That’s what completes the picture of a healthy workplace.

We led off with millennials because they are the largest generation in the US today and every company, nonprofit and organization wants to add them to their ranks. They are the future of companies, cities and neighborhoods.

Oh, and guess what, it’s not only the millennials who want to make Detroit, and the world, a better place. The same goes for Gen X and Baby Boomers. Every generation in the workplace wants to make a difference, and, yes, retirees, too.

The challenge is coordinating their willingness to help with company and community programs.

Health Alliance Plan (HAP) hopes to help bridge that gap at its upcoming forum Beyond the Workplace: The Value of Corporate and Community Partnerships. The forum will provide ideas for collaboration and networking  opportunities that link corporate partners and community organizations so they can develop and support sustainable social programs, says Tom Spring, director of wellness and community at HAP.

“We are taking a spider web approach to link communities and companies,” he says, pointing out companies with robust social strategies that engage employees have better retention.

Tom Spring, director of wellness for HAP

Tom Spring, director of wellness for HAP

The forum is Wednesday, Sept. 28, from 7:45 to 11:45 a.m. at the University of Detroit Mercy in the Student Center Ballroom (second floor), 4001 W. McNichols Road. The cost is $30. Click here to register.

“This is a good opportunity to build on an opportunity that makes a difference,” Spring says. “We have a triangle of engagement this year.”

That triangle includes how to work on nonprofit boards, corporate and employee volunteering and financial support.

The end result will be “wellness, community engagement and stewardship,” he says.

That focus is an evolution of last year’s event when the emphasis was getting companies, healthcare professionals and community leaders working together to implement sustainable healthy practices in neighborhoods.

Justin Jacobs of ComePlayDetroit says he found several potential partners interested in his organization when he attended last year event. His group organizes and operates intramural sports leagues, hosts multicultural social events and partners with community development organizations to help attract and retain young adults in southeastern Michigan. The leagues and events give them the opportunity to interact with their community culturally, socially, professionally, and philanthropically.

“HAP has been very supportive of us,” Jacobs says. “Collaboration is what it is all about.”

Justin Jacobs (right) chats it up with other 2015 Wellness Forum attendees.

Justin Jacobs (right) chats it up with other 2015 Wellness Forum attendees.

This year’s program features a keynote by Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, public health director for the City of Detroit and executive director of the Detroit Health Department. A native of metro Detroit and graduate of the University of Michigan, he is a public health physician, epidemiologist and internationally recognized expert in population health policy, the social causes of health and health inequalities.

There is also a community engagement panel made up of Hector Hernandez, executive director for Southwest Economic Solutions, and Tia Marie Sanders, program coordinator for Feed the Need Novi. There will be plenty of time for networking.

The following community partners will exhibit at the forum:

The cost to attend is $30 (includes continental breakfast). You can register online at

– Photos by Kristi Gnyp

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One comment on “HAP forum will link companies and communities to help transform Detroit neighborhoods

  1. Whoa! This is impressive. I leaned back in my chair a bit and was just sitting here pondering everything you said. Really cool.

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