Detroit Arts Philanthropist Gretchen Carhartt Valade Dies at 97

DETROIT, January 4, 2023 ~ Detroit’s Gretchen Carhartt Valade, a local philanthropist and the heiress to Carhartt, died Friday while surrounded by family at her home in Grosse Pointe Farms. Gretchen was 97.

Known locally as the “Angel of Jazz,” Gretchen founded Mack Avenue Records in 1999, which has earned over 50 Grammy Award® nominations and 11 wins.

When the Detroit Jazz Festival lost its sponsor in 2006, Gretchen established a foundation to ensure the festival remained free for attendees. She also funded Wayne State’s Gretchen C. Valade Jazz Center, donating more than nine million dollars to jazz studies and performance at the university.


January 4, 2023 ~ The Parade Company President and CEO Tony Michaels talks to Paul W. about the life of Gretchen Carhartt Valade, who played a major role in funding and saving the Detroit Jazz Festival.

(CONTINUED) It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Gretchen C. Valade,” Carhartt wrote in a statement. “As chairman emeritus of Carhartt and granddaughter of Carhartt’s founder, Hamilton Carhartt, she was an innovator, philanthropist, pioneer, and visionary…she was a staple in Metro Detroit’s business landscape, the jazz community, and of course, at Carhartt.”