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Oakland University Pontiac Initiative

North Foundation Hall, Room 121
318 Meadow Brook Rd.
Rochester, MI 48309-4454
(location map)
(248) 370-4455
[email protected]

group photo of kids wearing medals and coaches, all holding up their index finger like the number one

Additional Initiatives

Community Impact Sponsorship Award

In December 2018, Oakland University and the City of Pontiac, through the OU - Pontiac Initiative, selected the first 14 Impact Sponsorship Award winners.

The OU-Pontiac Initiative Community Impact Sponsorship Awards provide funding in various amounts to groups requesting support for projects that will make a positive impact in the community. Top scoring grants demonstrated in-kind/matching funds to support their project plan.

The following community impact projects selected for funding fell under the core pillars of Arts and Culture, PK-16 Education, Health Care and Wellness, Civic Engagement and Building Capacity for Nonprofits and Neighborhoods. Those selected include: 

  • Pontiac Arts Commission’s Pontiac Arts Crawl event 
  • Pontiac Creative Arts Center’s Pontiac Pride event 
  • Soul Food musical event performance led by Pontiac Arts Commissioners 
  • Kids Standard mentorship project for youth: Past, Present, Future 
  • Creation of large-scale student Art Mural project for WHRC school 
  • Pontiac LEAD leadership development day for Pontiac High School students 
  • Creation of OUWB’s evidence-based Tutoring project webinar 
  • Development of a Culinary Medicine elective course for elementary students at the Pontiac Youth Recreation Center 
  • Classroom Connection health education and mentorship program 
  • Promotion and Maintenance of Health community experience program 
  • Development of Community Conversations/Speaker Series on public concerns and community engagement 
  • OUWB’s Passport to Medicine interactive classroom sessions with middle school students 
  • Hosting two Grant Writing workshops for small nonprofits serving the Pontiac Community 
  • Pontiac Middle School tutoring program for English and math
Pontiac Youth Recreation and Enrichment Center

The Pontiac Youth Recreation and Enrichment Center provides comprehensive, high quality programs and activities to serve the needs of area youth in its 57,000 square foot facility located at 825 Golf Drive, Pontiac, Michigan 48341. Community partners provide planned positive program carefully crafted to help young people develop the knowledge and skills to successfully transition into adulthood. Through the OU - Pontiac Initiative Community Impact Sponsorship Award, a new culinary medicine elective course, led by OU professors and students will be implemented at the center. The course will focus on healthy eating habits, good nutrition and improved overall well being for youth and their families. 

Additional recreation and enrichment programs include: 

  • Arts and music programs designed to foster creativity and provide outlets of self-expression. 
  • Sports leagues to help youth become responsible, more physically fit, reduce stress and promote a positive use of leisure time.
  • STEM enrichment activities to help youth become critical thinkers, problem solvers and gain self- confidence to do their best academically in science, technology, engineering and math courses. 
  • Summer camps are an added bonus as youth participate in activities that play a vital role in skill building, positive social norms and improved academic performance. 

Community Partners include: Oakland University, Charity Music, Cranbrook Institute of Science, Oakland County Sheriff’s Pontiac

Project Upward Bound

Project Upward Bound (PUB), a college preparatory program hosted by Oakland University (OU), dates back to the 1960s. A legacy arm of the OU-Pontiac Initiative, PUB has provided hundreds of low-income, first generation high school students the opportunity to achieve their full potential through exposure to OU campus life, increased academic proficiency, scholarships and cultural enrichment exposures to ensure success. Annually 133 students participate in the program and 72% earn a 2.5 GPA or better and enroll in post-secondary education.

Pre-College Programs and Scholarships

Oakland University’s Pre-college Programs provide high school students with enrichment opportunities to discover first-hand the skills and knowledge needed in order to prepare for successful entrance into college.

"Many students have put college on their radar but are in need of academic, social and financial support," said Teresa Rodges, Interim Director of Pre-College Programs.  

On March 16, 2019, 25 students from Pontiac High School and International Technology Academy were inducted into OU’s Wade McCree Scholars Program.

Oakland University’s Wade H. McCree Jr. scholarship is in recognition of the distinguished life and work of Justice McCree. The four-year academic scholarship is designed to challenge and motivate students to achieve their fullest potential during high school.

Full tuition scholarships are awarded annually to students who have a GPA of 3.0 and a SAT score of 1060 or higher.

This program continues to inspire students for post- secondary educational opportunities. Kayla Fike, former Pontiac High School student, Wade H. McCree scholar and OU graduate, received a full scholarship to University of Michigan and is currently completing her Ph.D. Fike was also the first African American to receive the Matilda Wilson award in 2015, an award given to one of three outstanding graduating seniors at Oakland University.

Pontiac Promise Zone Scholarships

Click here to view the Pontiac Promise Zone Mini Documentary.

The OU - Pontiac Initiative held its first Pontiac Promise Zone (PPZ) Scholarship  Awareness Dinner in April for college students and Pontiac High School graduates. The PPZ is a scholarship program that enables students living within the Pontiac School District (PSD) an opportunity to obtain financial assistance to attend any college or university in Michigan and earn a two or four-year degree. Since the inception of the Pontiac Promise Zone in 2011, more than $900,000 in tuition assistance and $43,000 in book reimbursement have been awarded to Pontiac School District students.

“My initial reaction to the Pontiac Promise Zone was joy as my brothers and sisters attend Oakland University and my tuition has been coming out of pocket. I work two jobs trying to support my family and pay for school so any money that I receive helps lift a bit of the load off my shoulders. Overall, the Pontiac Promise Zone has helped me finish this journey and I applaud the effort to help other students like myself,” said Jefferson Young. Young is a graduate from Pontiac High School and is on track to graduate from Oakland University in 2019 with a degree in Engineering.

Funding for the PPZ Scholarship Program is provided by the State of Michigan through tax revenues. In addition, the program is supported by community partnerships and donations from foundations and others. 

Contact Naovarath Skipper, [email protected] for more information.

Pontiac Day at OU Basketball Game

January 12, 2019, Oakland University Athletics welcomed the Pontiac community and its leaders with “Pontiac  Day” at the OU Golden Grizzlies men’s basketball game. Joining forces with the OU-Pontiac Initiative, OU Athletics offered free tickets to Pontiac students and a discounted ticket rate for Pontiac residents. The Golden Grizzlies welcomed hundreds of Pontiac residents as local singing artists DMK - Damoli Harris, Melanee Felton and Kourtney Lenton - to perform the National Anthem.

Mayor Deirdre Waterman, OU’s Kevin Corcoran and Teresa Rodges took center stage to welcome Pontiac residents and to recognize the partnership of the OU-Pontiac Initiative. Lead by Sangeya Wiggins, OU fraternities and sororities provided dynamic performances during half time. More than 300 students from Pontiac were in attendance.