Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan President, Mariam Noland, Announces Plans to Retire

In Press Release

Mariam C. Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, has announced plans to retire at the end of 2021, concluding her 36th year with the organization.

Noland is the founding president of the Community Foundation. Under her leadership, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $1.2 billion in grants to nonprofit organizations primarily throughout southeast Michigan, spearheaded some of the region’s most transformational initiatives, and accumulated assets of more than $1 billion. 2020 marked a record year of annual giving for the Foundation with grants totaling $104 million.

“Mariam Noland’s leadership in this community cannot be overstated,” said James B. Nicholson, Chair of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Board of Trustees. “Her career has been dedicated to building our region’s charitable infrastructure. Along the way, she became a hero in the effort to preserve retiree pensions and cultural assets during Detroit’s bankruptcy. She has helped the community during crises and provided leadership to improve life for all in our region. We owe her so much gratitude. At the same time, we are happy for Mariam and her spouse, Jim. They deserve to catch their breath and enjoy the next chapter in their lives.”

During Noland’s tenure, the Community Foundation grew into one of the 20 largest Community Foundations in the country, creating a culture of giving and endowment building that had been lacking in southeast Michigan. Noland personally launched and raised hundreds of millions of dollars in support of transformational community projects, including the regional Detroit GreenWays Initiative, Arts and Cultural Participation Fund, HOPE Fund, the New Economy Initiative and challenges to help more than 200 charitable organizations build endowment.

“The generosity and caring nature of this region are extraordinary,” Noland said. “I have been so fortunate to work with many others to help our region and its residents thrive. Seeing the Community Foundation’s positive impacts grow over the years is thrilling.”

She currently serves on the boards of trustees of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Downtown Detroit Partnership Inc., and the Bipartisan Policy Center (Washington, D.C.). She previously served as the vice chair, board of trustees, Henry Ford Health System, and served on the board of trustees of Independent Sector and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Noland also chaired the board of trustees for the Council of Michigan Foundations and served as vice chair of the Council of Foundations’ board of trustees.

In 2020, Noland received the Special Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Philanthropy from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Detroit Chapter. She was named 2015 Michiganian of the Year by The Detroit News and received the Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award. Noland was also honored with the 2010 Women and Leadership in the Workplace Award and the “Others” Award of the Salvation Army. In 2009, the Community Foundation Board of Trustees established the Mariam C. Noland Award for Nonprofit Leadership. It recognizes a nonprofit president or CEO in southeast Michigan whose service exemplifies the importance of leadership in his or her organization and the broader nonprofit community.

The Community Foundation will begin a national search for its second president in the near future.

About the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $1.2 billion through more than 80,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties. For more information, visit

For more information, contact Sherrie Arb, at

Read Board of Trustees Chair’s Reflection on Mariam’s Tenure