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GM Foundation Unveils Education-Themed Float for America's Thanksgiving Parade

Float's theme - Education Fuels Tomorrow's Innovators - symbolizes commitment to invest in future of youth

DETROIT, Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The General Motors Foundation today unveiled a new float it is sponsoring during America's Thanksgiving Parade®, An 86 Year Tradition, on Thursday, Nov. 22. With a theme of "Education Fuels Tomorrow's Innovators," the float showcases the Foundation's commitment to investing in America's youth – the next generation of innovators.

(Photo: )

"Our new float is a celebration of the GM Foundation's many educational partnerships and our commitment to encourage more students to pursue studies of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) - areas critical to the future success of our nation," said Selim Bingol, GM vice president, Global Communications and Public Policy and the new chairman of the GM Foundation.

The float, designed and built by The Parade Company, is also a celebration of education in Detroit, specifically the United Way "Network of Excellence," created by the GM Foundation's $27.1 million commitment to seven Detroit-area high schools and administered in conjunction with United Way for Southeastern Michigan. The goal of the effort is to raise graduation rates by 30 percent over five years while supporting the leaders and innovators of tomorrow.

Representatives from the "Network of Excellence" high schools participated in the float unveiling, and members of the East Detroit Marching Band accompanied the float on its maiden journey along Atwater Street.

"This float is GM Foundation demonstrating its commitment to the youth and families of our community," said Michael J. Brennan, United Way for Southeastern Michigan president and CEO.  "We are delighted by the forward-looking view of the work we are doing now to transform high schools throughout the tri-county region."

The float offers a futuristic scene with two students leaving high school and embarking on their futures. Arriving at a crossroads, the students find themselves presented with educational roads to take: Science Way, Math Lane, Engineering Road and Technology Drive. Each road provides examples of the opportunities that await them as STEM majors.

The float is 17 feet tall and 60 feet long. An animated robot controls the action on board and features a pneumatically powered head and mouth that move. The float also incorporates hydrogen and electric charging stations.

"We are delighted that the GM Foundation has chosen such an inspiring theme for their new float," said Tony Michaels, president and CEO, The Parade Company. "We are certain that parade goers will be entertained by both its theme and the intricate design."

The 86th America's Thanksgiving Parade®, one of the country's oldest and most-celebrated parades produced by The Parade Company, will step-off at Woodward Avenue and Mack on Thanksgiving Day and will end at Woodward Avenue and Congress in downtown Detroit. Congressman John Dingell and Debbie Dingell will serve as co-grand marshals for the two-hour parade.

About the GM Foundation
Since its inception in 1976, the GM Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American charities, educational organizations and to disaster relief efforts worldwide. The GM Foundation focuses on supporting Education, Health and Human Services, Environment and Energy and Community Development initiatives, mainly in the communities where GM operates.  Funding of the GM Foundation comes solely from GM.  The last contribution to the GM Foundation was made in 2001. For more information, visit

About United Way for Southeastern Michigan
United Way for Southeastern Michigan mobilizes the caring power of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to improve lives in measurable and lasting ways throughout the region. The organization is led by a diverse group of volunteers from business, labor, government, human services, education and the community. United Way provides opportunities to invest in the metropolitan Detroit community through its annual Campaign and is a leader in convening partners to impact local residents each year by increasing economic self-sufficiency, protecting children and youth at risk, strengthening families, empowering neighborhoods and communities, and promoting health and wellness. Additional information is available at

About The Parade Company
Founded in 1984, The Parade Company is a not-for-profit organization governed by the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation whose board of directors is comprised of key civic and corporate leaders in the greater Detroit region. The Parade Company is celebrating 86 years of Parade tradition in Detroit, which is broadcasted to over 140 markets and cities nationwide. The mission is to fund, create and execute the best family events in metro Detroit. The Parade Company staff, the board of directors and thousands of parade volunteers work year-round to bring a wide variety of magnificent events to the City of Detroit, each year, including the Target Fireworks, Fifth Third Turkey Trot and America's Thanksgiving Parade®. Visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE General Motors Foundation

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