The James H. Cole Legacy Foundation, in collaboration with James H. Cole Home for Funerals, decided to shine a light on our Detroit, Michigan community by honoring the heroes, particularly frontline and vital workers, whose relentless efforts kept the city safe throughout the pandemic. As a response, we created Love Thy Neighbor, an effort that recognizes and honors our Heroes’ incredible accomplishments.
We decided to develop an annual calendar – which has become something of an annual tradition for James H. Cole Home for Funerals – that honors the people in our community who have gone above and beyond to aid others.
Creating the Heroes Calendar
Choosing who to put on the calendar was a difficult task in and of itself, especially given the large number of people to consider. Our internal staff compiled a list of individual’s and information to present their stories. Our photographer, Annistique Photography, met with each person in a private location of their choice to take the best photographs possible while maintaining personal comfort and following state safety regulations.
Honoring Our Heroes
The James H. Cole Legacy Foundation intends to keep this calendar tradition going to recognize people across Detroit who work persistently to make everyone’s lives a little bit simpler. We have no words to express our gratitude to these unsung warriors.
Want to see what’s on the inside? The list of our 2022 heroes is below. We sincerely appreciate your service and the genuinely extraordinary things you accomplish.
Rochelle Riley – Director, Arts and Culture, City of Detroit Author, Public Speaker
Mike Dorsey- Chairman of the Board of Directors, Esteemed We/Detroit Possible Elder, The Open-Door Church of God in Christ – Detroit
Natasha Lee Maxwell- Founder, Make Your Dreams Come True (MYDCT) and Being That Girl (That Girl)
Alison Vaughn – President and CEO, Jackets for Jobs
Kori C. Fields- Founder, High School Glam Suite, and Product Development Manager for The Lip Bar, Inc.
Paul Riser, Jr.- Platoon Leader, B.O.M.B. Squad Detroit
Jerry Ann Hebron- Executive Director, Northend Christian CDC, and Oakland Avenue Urban Farm
Jedonna Dinges – Member Grosse Pointe Park Citizen Advisory Board for the Grosse Pointe Police Department
Marvin Skipper – CEO Youth Are Bigger Than Life
Karen Buscemi- President and CEO Detroit Sewn, Inc.
Michael Williams- President and CEO Orchards Children’s Services
Kenneth Donaldson- CEO, Black United Fund of Michigan
Looking for a Heroes Calendar?
Would you like to have one of our 2022 Heroes Calendars? Come visit us at either of our two locations to pick yours up (while supplies last). A digital PDF version of the calendar is also available and can be downloaded here. The calendar is absolutely free, our gift to the community. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on our future James H. Cole Legacy Foundation efforts.
James H. Cole Home for Funerals established the James H. Cole Legacy Foundation in 2019 as a way to celebrate the family-owned business’ 100-year anniversary, and to thank the community for its continued support. Since it’s creation, the Foundation has grown significantly, embedding itself into Detroit, Michigan community and helping to serve our neighbors in a multitude of ways. As a result, we determined that there was a need for a separate Foundation website to be developed with custom content, images, events, blogs, news reports, and much more.
Previously, the Foundation was represented by a single page on the James H. Cole Home for Funerals website, which could no longer house the amount of information available.
“We hope this new website will serve as a powerful tool to help spread the word about our Foundation, and the positive impact that it is already having in the Detroit community. By having the ability to highlight other non-profit organizations that parallel our efforts, we can also provide much needed exposure to these groups; and through our volunteer sign-up page, we can aid our partner organizations by helping to expand their capacity through high valued volunteer leads.”
-Antonio Green, James H. Cole Legacy Foundation President
New Website Homepage and Highlights
Our new website has custom designs throughout; a completely unique look and feel that is still reflective of the main funeral home website’s layout and branding. In this way, we were able to simultaneously create a completely standalone website with its own unique style that is still recognizable in its relationship to the funeral home website.
The homepage provides content on a wide variety of our initiatives, services, and the website’s own functionality. We wanted to place a particular emphasis on our programs, as these are at the core of what we do, which is why this is the first content block listed on the website. Users can learn more about some of our biggest programs as well as donating to these causes by selecting “Support Our Mission.”
Past and upcoming events are also available on the website, so users can see what is coming up on the calendar – whether it’s fundraising events, volunteer opportunities, community celebration events, or important program dates to keep in mind. Selecting the “More Opportunities” call-to-action button takes the user to our Programs page, which outlines all upcoming programs users might want to be involved with.
We’re very active on social media, which is often where our followers will first be informed of news, upcoming events, or notifications for volunteer opportunities. Because of this, we wanted to make sure our social media platforms were also represented on the homepage so users can easily reach out, follow, and chat with us using our socials as well as the site.
The Faces Behind the Legacy Foundation
In addition to the programs, we also knew that we wanted to highlight the people behind the Foundation, including providing roles, titles, and short biographies. You’ll see some familiar faces on our Executive Board – Karla Cole, Antonio Green, and Brice Green – who are all members of the Founding James H. Cole family. Due to restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been unable to determine the full size of the Advisory Board, though we are hoping to do so in the near future.
Other Legacy Foundation Features to Spotlight
In addition to the initiatives highlighted on our new website’s homepage, there is a considerable amount of additional content, which you can discover using the main navigation.
One of our most popular annual programs is the Heroes Calendar, which highlights individuals throughout Metro Detroit – from essential workers to small business owners – who have gone above and beyond to give back to the community and the city of Detroit as a whole. Of the heroes nominated, 12 people are chosen (one person for each month). Each month/hero page has a custom photo – taken by our photographer at a setting of the nominee’s choosing – and a short biography highlighting who the person is, what they do, and why they were chosen.
Physical calendars are available at the Legacy Foundation headquarters until supplies run out, but a PDF version is available on our Heroes Calendar page for download. The 2021 Calendar is currently available.
Other site spotlights include our Donate and Volunteer pages, which make it incredibly easy for those who want to get involved with our organization and give back to their community. These items are located in the meta navigation and take you to the proper content and forms to learn more our organization and your options when it comes to donating money and volunteering for our programs.
Users can also learn more about our official sponsors by navigating to the Our Sponsors page.
Learn More – Blog and News Content
In an effort to bring the most relevant content to our site visitors, we decided to incorporate separate News and Blog sections on the Legacy Foundation site. The News page lists the latest news articles in which the Legacy Foundation was mentioned, as well as press releases and other official organization information located in the local (or national) press. In comparison, you can visit our Blog for more in-depth information about our programs, community outreach tips, past events, and more.
If you’re interested in staying up-to-date on our latest blogs or simply staying in-the-know about the most recent goings-on at the James H. Cole Legacy Foundation, each page also includes a Newsletter Sign-Up, where you can input your email address for live updates.
Helpful Resources are also located on most pages to provide quick access to relevant links, similar topics, and our contact information.
We are thrilled to be able to provide a new website experience for the James H. Cole Legacy Foundation. Created from a need to thank the community for its unending support, we are so excited to see the Legacy Foundation grow and continue to give back to the Detroit community we know and love. For more information or to ask questions about our new website, programs, and/or how you can get involved, contact us today!
After the year that was 2020, the James H. Cole Legacy Foundation – in partnership with James H. Cole Home for Funerals – decided to bring some light to our Detroit, Michigan community by celebrating the heroes, particularly frontline and essential workers, whose tireless endeavors kept the community safe throughout the pandemic. As a result, we founded Love Thy Neighbor, an initiative that thanks our Heroes by celebrating their amazing contributions.
We decided to create an annual calendar – something that has been somewhat of an annual tradition for James H. Cole Home for Funerals – that focuses on the people in our community who have made large strides toward helping others. We have a video you can watch to learn more.
Developing the Heroes Calendar
Choosing who to highlight in the calendar was a difficult feat in itself – with so many individuals to spotlight, narrowing down the scope was rather challenging. Our internal team developed a list of names and each individuals’ information to tell their stories. We arranged for our photographer, Annistique Photography, to meet with each individual in a private setting of their choice in order to best safely capture images while adhering to personal comfort and state safety guidelines.
Where Can You Find A Heroes Calendar?
Interested in acquiring one of our 2021 Heroes Calendars? You can pick one up from either one of the James H. Cole Home for Funerals locations (while supplies last). A Digital PDF version of the calendar is also available.
And the best part is, you don’t pay a thing! The calendar is completely free – meant to celebrate and inspire individuals throughout Southeast Michigan.
Thanking Our Heroes
It is our hope at the James H. Cole Legacy Foundation to continue this calendar tradition moving forward in order to highlight people throughout the Detroit community who work day-and-night to make daily life a little bit easier for everybody else. We cannot thank these heroes enough.
Want a sneak peak of what’s inside? Here is a list of our heroes. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your service and the truly amazing things you do.
Brandon Smith – CEO and President, Star Factory
Byna Elliot – Senior Vice President and Chief Community and Economic Development Officer, Fifth Third Bank
Deborah Foster – Founder, Bethlehem House
Dr.Eleanor Walker – Oncologist, Henry Ford Cancer Institute and Center for Integrative Medicine
Father Norman Thomas – Pastor, Sacred Heart and St. Elizabeth Catholic Church
Gail Perry Mason – Founder, Money Matters Camp
James Harris – Lieutenant, Detroit Fire Department
Jay Marks – Diversity and Equity Consultant, Oakland County Schools
Kwame Simmons – Founder, The Simmons Advantage
Omar Mitchell – Chef and Restaurateur
Sherelle Hogan – CEO and Founder, Pure Heart Foundation
Tresa Galloway – CEO, Love Laces
To learn more about our efforts, check out other James H. Cole Legacy Foundation blog articles.
James H. Cole Home for Funerals, our sister organization, celebrated its 100-year anniversary as a family-owned and operated business in Detroit, Michigan. James H. Cole has been assisted families in need of support, guidance, and funeral services during some of the most difficult moments in their lives.
Over the past 100 years and four generations James H. Cole Home for Funerals has become a Detroit city fixture, and for this reason, James H. Cole decided to spend 2019 celebrating this milestone achievement and giving back to the community, which ultimately led to the creation of the James H. Cole Legacy Foundation.
The Foundation was established to help individuals and organizations throughout our Southeast Michigan community to learn and grow into powerful leaders. James H. Cole Home for Funerals and the Legacy Foundation support the upward mobility of people who want to create better lives for themselves, their families, and their community. We assist with everything from financial literacy to job procurement, and more. Together with James H. Cole Home for Funerals, it is our hope that our teachings help inspire potential entrepreneurs and business leaders to achieve their goals.
Kicking Off the Celebrations with the Legacy Breakfast
In April, the year-long celebrations commenced with the Legacy Breakfast, hosted by Fifth-Third Bank at the Northwest Activities Center. Friends, family, and staff celebrated the start of James H. Cole’s 100th year alongside the Detroit City Council and other supporting vendors.
The event included speeches from Randi Myles, the Mistress of Ceremonies, as well as a delicious breakfast buffet and remarks from sponsors.
The Cole 100 Summer Family Festival
As a family-owned business for more than 100 years, James H. Cole Home for Funerals knew that at least one of the year’s celebratory activities needed to be all about family. As a result, the #Cole100 Family Festival was created.
The event was sponsored by NAACP, and included a festival full of games for children and adults, with face painting, a petting zoo, booths selling local goods, carnival games, food trucks, pony rides, live music and more. Grammy-nominated Soul singer Dwele, Showtime at the Apollo winner Cam Anthony, and contestant from The Voice Beth Griffith-Manley were among those who performed.
A 100-Year Grand Gala
The final even of the year was the James H. Cole Home for Funerals Centennial Grand Gala. A black-tie even hosted at the Roostertail along the Detroit riverfront, the gala included speeches from Karla M. Cole – President of James H. Cole – and her two sons, Antonio and Brice Green. Other key speeches were made by Detroit Police Chief James Craig as well as Mistress of Ceremonies Maurielle Lue from Fox 2 News Detroit.
Grammy-nominated Dwele headlined the Afterglow events, which opened up a dance floor to allow attendees to dance and celebrate. It was a beautiful cap on an already memorable year.
James H. Cole President Karla M. Cole says it best: “It’s hard to believe that a century has passed since my grandfather first opened the doors of James H. Cole Home for Funerals. Our world has seen much change in the 10 decades since. One thing has remained constant through, and that is sour commitment to compassionate service.”
To learn more about our efforts, check out other James H. Cole Legacy Foundation articles or James H. Cole Home for Funerals blogs and discover how we’re putting our Detroit community first.