‘America’s Got Talent’ Runner-Up Detroit Youth Choir Gets $1M Endowment From Businesses

Bruce Haring

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The Detroit Youth Choir may have finished second on this year’s edition of America’s Got Talent, but it will still get $1 million, matching the grand prize won by singer Kodi Lee.

The show wrapped its 14th season Wednesday on NBC, with Lee edging out the choir. But several Detroit businesses have decided to endow the hometown favorites anyway.

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“I was watching you guys and you and Kodi Lee are on that stage, and my heart’s in my throat,” said Mayor Mike Duggan, who welcomed the group home.. “When they announced it was Kodi Lee, I was a little disappointed for a second. But I was like, ‘He deserves a million dollars; he was great.’ The only thing I thought was unfair was there should’ve been two first prizes.”

Duggan said he worked with Wendy Lewis Jackson, the Detroit Program managing director for the Kresge Foundation, and Tonya Allen, president & CEO of the Skillman Foundation, to create the endowment.

“We are incredibly proud of what the Detroit Youth Choir achieved during their time on ‘America’s Got Talent’ and we look forward to what’s next for them,” said Allen. “This fund is a way for Detroiters to celebrate and grow the genius of our children.”

Those contributing to the Detroit Youth Choir endowment include:

  • Skillman Foundation
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • W. K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Ballmer Group
  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
  • DTE Energy Foundation
  • Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation
  • Bank of America
  • Huntington Bank
  • Dakkota Integrated Systems

Kodi Lee, who is blind and autistic, beat out the choir, comedian Ryan Niemiller, and acrobatic dance group V. He wins the $1 million and gets to headline an “AGT” show in Las Vegas.

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