Robert and Ellen Thompson

Robert (Bob) and Ellen Thompson have made a profound impact on Michigan and its largest city, Detroit.

Bob built his company, Thompson-McCully, into Michigan’s largest asphalt paving company. In his 40 years in the industry, he helped lead the paving business, serving as chairman of the National Asphalt Paving Foundation, president of the Michigan Road Builders Association and other leadership roles. He holds some of the industry’s highest honors, including Asphalt Institute Roll of Honor, NAPA Man of the Year, and Engineering News-Record Newsmaker of the Year.

Ellen began her career as an elementary school teacher and has had a passion for teaching and education all her life. In addition to raising their family and helping Bob build his business, Ellen played an active role in her community, including the development and evolution of the Thompson Foundation, and active engagement with the Salvation Army.

Bob and Ellen have led the Thompson Foundation to create nine nonprofit charter schools in Southeast Michigan reaching thousands of students, with continued support for them post-graduation. They have set up ongoing scholarships at several universities. They also initiated two scholarships at Grand Valley State University. The University Preparatory Academy Scholarship allows graduates from the academy, one of their Detroit nonprofit charter schools, to attend Grand Valley; while the Thompson Working Family Scholars Program is awarded to students from Michigan working families.

Bob and Ellen have accomplished incredible results in their effort to lift families from poverty through education. Their generosity of spirit will have a ripple effect for generations to come.