MAKING AN IMPACT

Selected giving story

MAKING AN IMPACT

DCDS parent and board member gives back in countless ways

When something resonates with Danialle Karmanos, she digs in and gives back. With a keen interest in nurturing and investing in our youth, especially with resources that promote social-emotional wellness, Karmanos is committed to making a difference. 

Her impact is felt across Detroit Country Day School – from hands-on volunteering and providing financial support to serving as an ambassador for the school.

She and her husband Peter Karmanos, Jr. are the parents of four sons. An eight-time “room mom,” Karmanos cherishes the opportunities to connect within the community and help create experiences for our families.

“I try to bloom where I’m planted,” Karmanos says, describing her approach to philanthropy and life. “Pete and I are very driven by our instincts and, when we feel a meaningful connection, we lean in to support on multiple levels. We give with our time, energy, personal and professional networks, and resources.”

Karmanos is a dedicated member of the DCDS Board of Trustees, a position she has held since being elected in 2017. Currently, Karmanos chairs the board’s Advancement Committee, which provides strategic oversight to the school’s fundraising efforts. “As a trustee, we agree to a level of responsibility; leading with integrity and by example is vital,” she says. “We are demonstrating to our community that we are invested and willing to commit a high level of support.”  

In 2018, the Karmanos family pledged $1 million as part of the Vivid Capital Campaign, the most aspirational fundraising project in the school’s history. Their gift funded the Innovation Gallery, a state-of-the-art library and media center in the Lower School; the new space includes a wet lab, a tinker lab, group study rooms, and a dedicated STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) maker’s space.

“When I made the gift to VIVID, I was sitting on the floor shelving books in the library,” she recalls. “I think I may have even signed the contract in crayon.” Since they are all avid readers, Karmanos immediately thought of the Lower School library when asked to define the most meaningful space for their family. DCDS unveiled the $18 million renovation of its Lower School campus located at 3003 W. Maple Road in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 2019.

“Danialle and Peter’s extraordinary gift during the VIVID Campaign and ongoing contributions to our Annual Fund are a testament to their unwavering commitment to Country Day,” says Rich Dempsey, Head of School. “Their support enhances our ability to provide exceptional learning opportunities for current students and generations of students to come.”

Country Day’s emphasis on educating the whole child holds special meaning for Karmanos. She learned the importance of prioritizing and advocating for mental wellness at an early age. “My mom is a psychologist, so mental health and well-being is something we talked about frequently,” she explains. “Like other families talk about sports over dinner, we talked about the mind-body connection.” As a teenager, she attended conferences on social-emotional learning.

“At DCDS, we aspire to a sound mind in a sound body,” says Karmanos. “The mind-body connection has a tremendous cause and effect on the quality of our lives. When we intentionally invest in the tools to strengthen, soothe, and protect our minds, we see a measurable impact on how we feel and perform.” 

Karmanos understands that giving back, no matter how large or small the gesture, can make a real, lasting difference. As part of the school’s Honor A Teacher Campaign, Karmanos wrote more than 40 notes to her sons’ teachers, advisors, counselors, and coaches, each one accompanied by a monetary donation. “I have a large family of educators and recognize the important role teachers play in our lives,” she explains. “Every faculty member has made a huge positive impact on our family.”

Dempsey adds, “DCDS benefits greatly from Danialle’s generosity, enthusiasm, and leadership. When she sees an opportunity to help our school, she takes it. We are extremely grateful to Danialle for her continued support and community engagement in advancing Country Day's mission." 

 

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