Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan announces Nicole Sherard-Freeman Chief Operating Officer

In Press Release

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is pleased to announce Nicole Sherard-Freeman as Chief Operating Officer, effective July 10, 2023. Sherard-Freeman was most recently Group Executive of Jobs, Economy & Detroit at Work, and Executive Director of the Mayor’s Workforce Development Board for Mayor Mike Duggan, City of Detroit.

In this new role, Sherard-Freeman will join the Foundation’s leadership team and report to Richard (Ric) DeVore, president of the Community Foundation. She will oversee the Foundation’s donor services, finance, grantmaking services, information technology, program and the New Economy Initiative (NEI) teams.

“We are thrilled to have a proven leader with Nicole’s experience join the Community Foundation,” said DeVore. “She has established herself as a results-oriented collaborator across public-private partnerships, with a commitment to under-resourced communities and communities of color. We look forward to having Nicole join our leadership team at this exciting time when we are charting our future strategic plan.”

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is one of the top 30 community foundations in the country and has awarded $1.4 billion in grants to non-profit organizations.

“Her leadership in creating Detroit at Work and guiding our successful job attraction efforts has changed the trajectory of thousands of Detroiters’ lives for the better.” – Mayor Mike Duggan

Sherard-Freeman joined the City of Detroit in 2019 as the Executive Director of Workforce Development and Detroit at Work. Prior to that she served as the President & CEO of Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC). From 2014 to 2018 Sherard-Freeman was Managing Director for Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, a national research-to-action non-profit that most notably led JPMorgan Chase’s New Skills at Work portfolio in Detroit. She also held leadership positions in banking, global business-to-business services, and was a successful entrepreneur in Metro Detroit for three years. (See complete bio and photo here).

“Nicole has been a tremendous asset to our city and to my administration,” said Mayor Mike Duggan, City of Detroit. “Her leadership in creating Detroit at Work and guiding our successful job attraction efforts has changed the trajectory of thousands of Detroiters’ lives for the better. She will bring that same level of outstanding leadership to the Community Foundation, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in her new capacity.”

Born and raised in Detroit, Sherard-Freeman is a proud graduate of the Detroit Public School system. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and has completed graduate studies in Organizational Management and Development at Fielding Graduate University. She serves on the national board of WorkRise: An Urban Institute Initiative and serves locally on the boards of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Governor’s Workforce Development Board. She is a guest lecturer at University of Michigan.

“The past six years with Mayor Duggan and his administration have been the most impactful of my entire career,” said Sherard-Freeman. “I’m excited to bring the experience, relationships, and perspective I’ve gained in Detroit to the Community Foundation team as we advance our strategy for permanent, positive change in the region.”

Sherard-Freeman has been recognized for her leadership, including Michigan Chronicle’s Women of Excellence; Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women in Non-Profits, 50 Names to Know in Government and 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan; and Axios Detroit 2022 Power Players.

More about Nicole Sherard-Freeman