GOOD

After Winning The Lottery, This Entrepreneur Is Investing In A Historically Black Community

He’s using his winnings to revive Fort Lauderdale’s Sistrunk Boulevard.

Miguel Pilgram is a lucky man.

In his late 20s, he broke up a robbery outside a blues club and was shot. He lived. Decades later in 2010, he purchased a quick-pick Florida Lotto ticket at a Shell gas station and won the $52 million jackpot. Pilgram accepted his winnings as a $29 million lump-sum and launched his own real estate development company, The Pilgram Group, which focuses on property acquisition, renovation, and management in the Fort Lauderdale area.


Now, 48-year-old Pilgram is putting his money and energy to work to revitalize the heart of one of Fort Lauderdale’s once-thriving black neighborhoods — Sistrunk Boulevard.

Photo via The Pilgram Group/Facebook.

Sistrunk Boulevard is named for Dr. James Sistrunk, a black doctor who, in 1938, helped create the first black hospital in Broward County. The corridor runs east to west and is divided by a set of railroad tracks. During segregation, blacks lived west of the tracks and could not be east after sundown. As such, west of the tracks was home to many black-owned businesses and community leaders. When segregation ended, the once-thriving neighborhood was lost to crime and drugs. Businesses left and buildings fell into disrepair. Instead of community pride and strength, Sistrunk Boulevard became synonymous with urban blight.

In 2012, Fort Lauderdale’s Community Redevelopment Agency invested $15 million in sidewalk, landscaping, street lighting, and roadway improvements, hoping to draw developers and businesses back to the area. However, the response was tepid at best. In the summer of 2016, an entrepreneur and developer announced they had purchased 25 properties with the intention of building a millennial hotspot, with small, affordable apartments above retail stores and restaurants. However, the project appears to be at a standstill.

That’s why Pilgram’s renewed interest is turning heads.

The Navy veteran-turned entrepreneur purchased a few buildings in the neighborhood. He intends to build a restaurant with a blues club above it on one side of the street and retail storefronts with a performing arts center above on the other. The real estate is just down the block from a new city-funded YMCA complex that’s also in the works.

“Do you know how impactful that is for a child from any of these areas, who is like me, to come out and see people actually painting in the window, or performing on a saxophone?” Pilgram told the Sun Sentinel. “That creates a fire under most children. Now they say, wow, anything out there that’s creative, I can be. Whatever artist I want to be, I can be.”

Photo via The Pilgram Group/Facebook.

Though Pilgram grew up in Memphis and now lives in Coral Springs, he feels a close connection to this historic black community.

“I was raised in a similar environment,” he told the Sun Sentinel.There is a need, and in my mind, an obligation, to invest there.”

It remains to be seen if these efforts will be the turnaround Sistrunk Boulevard needs. But this time, with Pilgram at the helm, they certainly have luck on their side.

Money

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.



It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less

McDonalds sells a lot of coffee. Over a billion cups a year, to be exact. All that coffee leads to a lot of productive mornings, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Each year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff (the skin of the coffee beans that comes off during roasting) ends up getting turned into mulch. Some coffee chaff just gets burned, leading to an increase in CO2.

Now, that chaff is going to get turned into car parts. Ford is incorporating coffee chaff from McDonalds coffee into the headlamps of some cars. Ford has been using plastic and talc to make its headlamps, but this new process will reduce the reliance on talc, a non-renewable mineral. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives. The bioplastic can then be formed into shapes.

Keep Reading Show less
via Wikimedia Commons

Nike has made a name for itself creating shoes for playing basketball, tennis, and running. But, let's be honest, how many people who wear Air Jordans or Lebrons actually play basketball versus watching it on television?

Now, Nike is releasing a new pair of shoes created for everyday heroes that make a bigger difference in all of our lives than Michael Jordan or Lebron James, medical professionals — nurses, doctors, and home healthcare workers.

Nike designed the shoe after researching medical professionals at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Oregon to create the perfect one for their needs.

Keep Reading Show less
Health