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Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (PVM) Foundation has received a $5 million grant from the Edward N. and Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee to name and complete the expansion of the Rivertown Neighborhood. The Edward N. and Della L. Thome Rivertown Neighborhood in Detroit is an innovative senior living community that delivers a full spectrum of health and wellness services and affordable housing options for low-income seniors on one campus. The grant is the largest, single philanthropic gift received in the nearly 70-year history of PVM.

“The Thomes would be proud to have their family legacy connected to enhanced housing with a services and community outreach model like this one, especially in their home state of Michigan,” said George Thorn, trustee for the Thome Foundation, and market philanthropic director for Bank of America.

Rivertown Neighborhood

The Thome family hailed from Owosso, Michigan, just west of Flint. Robert P. Thome, the son of a shoe store owner, attended the University of Michigan. He worked briefly for General Motors in Flint before moving to Washington, D.C. in 1937, where he became a comptroller for The Washington Post. Thome, who never married or had children, died in 2007 at his home in Maryland. His sister, Helen, preceded him in death and left him the majority of her estate. Several years prior to Robert Thome’s death, in 2002, he established the Edward N. and Della L. Thome Memorial Foundation to honor the memory of his parents. The Thome Foundation supports organizations in Maryland and Michigan that provide direct services addressing the most critical issues facing seniors today, including health care, housing, family services, neighborhood involvement, workforce opportunities and aging with dignity at home.

“The Thome Rivertown Neighborhood will have a profound impact on the quality of life,” said PVM Foundation president Paul Miller. “It’s a unique community that provides solutions to reduce isolation and poverty while fundamentally contributing to the improved well-being and health for low-income seniors living in Detroit.”

Of the $5 million grant, $3.5 million will allow PVM to complete the final development phase that includes the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Green Houses®, which will provide 24-hour care in apartments for the frailest of seniors; a community center/café to serve as the heart of the neighborhood with a community space providing food, fellowship, programming, learning, life enrichment and engagement for all ages; and the RiverGarden, adjacent to the building, as a community park for residents, their families and community members to enjoy.

Phase I of the Thome Rivertown Neighborhood opened in early 2013 and includes Detroit’s first affordable assisted living apartments, which is in partnership with United Methodist Retirement Communities, Inc. (UMRC); the Center for Senior Independence (CSI) Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a nationally recognized, comprehensive adult daycare and health services program, which is in partnership with Henry Ford Health System; and 50 affordable independent apartments that opened August 2014, also in partnership with UMRC.

The remaining $1.5 million will provide an endowment that will ensure the Thome Rivertown Neighborhood can continue to deliver innovative health care and other important services for seniors, and provide truly affordable housing options.

“We deeply appreciate the support and confidence of the Thome Foundation in what we are doing,” said PVM president and CEO, Roger L. Myers. “This major investment in the Rivertown Neighborhood will make a significant, long term impact for thousands of individuals and for the surrounding community. This announcement is just the beginning of our sharing the great Thome story and the legacy that is being evidenced through the Thome Rivertown Neighborhood.”

The Thome Rivertown Neighborhood is located at 250 McDougall Avenue in Detroit. For a full list of services and more information, visit pvm.org/locations/rivertown/.