New year, new Community Foundation 

In General

It’s the new year, and a lot of us are making changes to improve ourselves. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is no different.

We’re in the final phase of creating a new strategic vision, which will be publicly shared later in 2024 as we celebrate our 40th anniversary. The plan will build on our past and set us up to support a thriving, equitable southeast Michigan into the future.

A past to be proud of

The Community Foundation was established in 1984 and has since grown to be among the top 25 largest community foundations in the United States. We’ve granted more than $1.4 billion to thousands of nonprofits in fields as wide-ranging as arts and culture, children and youth, economic development, health and human services, and the environment. We’ve convened collaborators to solve thorny challenges and advised donors who want to do good in our region. That’s an incredible amount of growth and impact throughout southeast Michigan in a comparatively short period.

The past 40 years also have been a time of pivotal changes in the wider world. For example, back in 1984, the public internet and social media didn’t exist, few people had cell phones, and many business records were scratched out by hand on paper. More recently, we’ve experienced the stress of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and a national racial reckoning that exposed systemic disparities in the fabric of our society.

These seismic shifts make now the perfect time to assess where we’re at and ensure we have the right technologies, priorities and strategies in place to lead our region into a brighter future.

Community-driven change

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan recently partnered with the Center for Effective Philanthropy to solicit anonymous feedback from previous and current grantees and donors about our key strengths and opportunities for improvement.

We were pleased to see that we ranked positively in the areas of community impact, role in the sector and staff expertise. The results also highlighted opportunities for improvement.

In direct response to the feedback we received, we’re committed to examining how we can strengthen our grantmaking to better align with our region’s evolving needs, how we can support the advancement of our nonprofit community, and how we can create more opportunities for engagement and a deeper understanding of the Community Foundation’s impact for donors.

These insights from the Center for Effective Philanthropy surveys, as well as data we’ve gathered from additional community stakeholders, will be important as we evaluate our practices and processes. We will publicly share our strategic vision later in 2024, and look forward to additional opportunities to listen to and learn from our community partners.

The legacy our predecessors created during the past 40 years puts the Community Foundation in a strong position to build the resources, relationships and expertise required to break down barriers and expand access to opportunities for generations of residents throughout southeast Michigan in 2024 and beyond.

Ric DeVore
President, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan