Fall 2022 Message from the President
During my first six months as president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, I’ve been struck by the generosity of our donors and the incredible work our staff and partners do in the region.
It also has been interesting the number of times friends and family have said to me, “Gee, I didn’t realize the Community Foundation does X,” fill in the blank. We clearly have more work to do when it comes to telling this story, yet a few things stick out.
Did you know there are 800 community foundations throughout the country and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan ranks in the top 25 in terms of assets? More than size, it comes down to positive impact for all residents. You can read about some of these stories in this fall report. In addition to general grantmaking, we manage 16 major initiatives in areas ranging from public spaces and trails to entrepreneurs and small businesses to health and justice.
An exciting development this year is the growth of our New Economy Initiative. NEI is a national model that removes barriers and creates opportunities for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and microbusinesses in southeast Michigan, with a special focus on Wayne County. In this report, you will read how NEI is working to expand services to underserved Wayne County communities to encourage inclusive small business growth.
The Community Foundation also manages agency endowment funds that can help small nonprofits create financial stability to weather the ups and downs of the market. For example, the Co-Ette Club – an organization that encourages the next generation of Black, female philanthropists and community leaders – recently established a fund with us to secure its legacy. We manage 230 of these agency endowments for small nonprofits throughout southeast Michigan.
All that is to say: As we close out the year, we find ourselves in a good position to honor our past and chart the course for our collective future. One of my goals is to be a conscientious steward of our resources, embracing operational excellence with the future needs of our residents and donors in mind. This includes the next generation of philanthropists who will continue our work to make southeast Michigan a desirable place to live, work and play.
You are a key piece of the puzzle. You can teach friends and family members about the importance of philanthropy. We, too, are educating young people about how they can work with us to create permanent, positive change in our region. Our Legal Financial Network recently convened a meeting of young professional advisors to share how the Community Foundation can partner with them as they advise clients. And our Youth Advisory Committee initiated a special round of grantmaking in response to the Oxford High School shooting. The opportunity taught young people throughout our region how to engage with philanthropy to develop solutions to challenges facing their communities.
Our world can be a grim place, and we face many challenges. But we aren’t powerless. Our region is resilient, and we have a history of proactively working for solutions. In the context of these challenges, our work together means more now than ever. We are thankful for your continued support and look forward to 2023 with determination and hope.
Richard L. DeVore
This message first appeared in the Fall 2022 REPORT Newsletter.