Winter 2019 Message from the President

In REPORT Newsletter

“I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.”

– Maya Angelou


As a philanthropic organization looking back on 35 years of community service (and looking ahead to plenty more), Angelou’s words ring especially true for us.

Mariam Noland, President, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

Since the Community Foundation was established in 1984, we’ve collaborated with others to make positive change. We’ve built a tremendous network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the southeast Michigan region through the New Economy Initiative.

We’ve helped Detroit in its recovery from bankruptcy and assisted in the revitalization of both downtown and the neighborhoods. And thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’ve distributed more than $1 billion in grants to hundreds of organizations building sustainable programs in arts, education, health, human services, and — at the same time — have over $900 million in assets.

While it’s undeniably helpful to look back on the past, our work — as always — remains focused on the future. In this issue of the Report, we share stories about how we’re working to ensure a promising outlook for each of the seven counties we serve, while also highlighting some of the generous donors who have made that work possible over our 35-year history.

Building a Promising Future

In St. Clair County, for example, through our partnership with the Stebbins family, who established a Donor Advised Fund with the Community Foundation in 2005, we’re helping to build public spaces so future generations can live active, healthy, lives. In Livingston County, with contributions from the Rex Family Fund for Literacy, a permanently endowed fund, we’re working to improve literacy rates for youth in southeast Michigan and to foster a love of reading in students growing up in a digital age.

Beyond youth development, we’re undertaking other future-oriented initiatives. The Foundation is helping organizations expand outreach and education efforts surrounding the 2020 census, with the intent of encouraging a full count of all residents. We also recently funded two books whose authors advocate for the protection of our freshwater resources as vital components of our sustainable future for the people in southeast Michigan and far beyond.

None of this, of course, would be possible without the generosity of thousands of individuals. As we head into the holiday season, when many of us are making our final charitable gifts of the year, we want to extend our gratitude to the people who enable the Community Foundation to function and grow. We thank community members like you who care about the welfare of your community — now and in the future. You help us fulfill our mission.

As we look back on 35 years of philanthropy in southeast Michigan, we’re proud to say that we haven’t lost sight of where we’ve come from. And as the needs of our community grow and change, we continue to evolve with them in our work to create a promising future.

Explore the Winter 2019 REPORT