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Neal Shine Award for Media Commitment to Philanthropy

Debora Scola

Deb Scola Headshot


Deb Scola has been with the Detroit Free Press and in various capacities since 1982, including handling the office functions of publishers Heath Meriwether, Carole Leigh Hutton and Dave Hunke. In 2007, she was appointed Community Affairs Director. 

Deb has long been involved in community service projects that have raised millions of dollars and helped improve tens of thousands of lives in Metro Detroit.  She has directed programs such as the Detroit Free Press Summer Dreams program, a project in partnership with the Skillman Foundation that raised more than $18 million in its 19-year history to help fund summer camp programs for underprivileged and sick children, and the Detroit Free Press Gift of Reading program, which has distributed more than 750,000 books to children in need.

Deb also oversees many other efforts on behalf of, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News – including the Gannett Foundation Community Fund, the Detroit Newspapers in Education program and the Detroit Free Press Marathon Charity program.  She also helps manage the Shining Light Regional Cooperation Awards, presented annually by the Detroit Free Press and the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition.  Under Deb’s direction in 2015 alone, helped provide $3.7 million for charitable causes, and employees worked 2,000 volunteer hours in the community. 

Deb goes beyond her job description to be a true partner with the nonprofit community.  She is always looking for opportunities to promote nonprofit work and accomplishments in the communications.  She attends dozens of fundraising events each year, and is generous to offer free seats to nonprofits for events they sponsor.   She is always looking for ways to strengthen the community, and it’s not unusual to get a call from Deb about someone she just met who might be interested in your mission.  It’s rare to speak with someone doing nonprofit work in metro Detroit who has not somehow worked with Deb Scola.

Deb Scola is a founding member of the board of directors of Reading Works, a nonprofit dedicated to improving adult literacy in metro Detroit where she continues to serve as Secretary of the Board.  She also volunteers with several organizations across metro Detroit, including Forgotten Harvest and Crossroads of Michigan, and serves as a Stephen Minister at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Trenton.

Scola lives in Trenton with her husband Jack Scola and son Louis.