Spring 2024 Message from the President

In General,REPORT Newsletter

Seeds planted in another season are unfurling today as vivid yellow and green splashes of spring throughout our region. A similar cycle of growth and change is underway at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

This year marks a historic period at the Community Foundation, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary and create a strategic vision for our future.

The Community Foundation was established in 1984 and has grown to be among the top 25 community foundations in the United States. During that time, together with our donors, we’ve granted more than $1.4 billion to thousands of nonprofits in fields including arts, economic mobility, children and youth, health and human services, and the environment. We’ve convened partners to solve regional challenges and served as a trusted philanthropic advisor for thousands of donors who want to do good.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you, as well as our predecessors at the Community Foundation, for your deep commitment and generous contributions to our region’s well-being.

Challenge and opportunity 

These past 40 years have been a time of pivotal changes in the wider world, as well. 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 a global pandemic, the climate crisis, and a national racial reckoning that exposed deep-seated, systemic disparities in our society.

These changes, which dovetailed with significant leadership shifts and staff growth at the Community Foundation, inspired us to evaluate our position and ensure we have the right priorities, strategies and technologies in place to lead our region into a brighter future.

That’s why, in 2022, we embarked on a multiphase strategic planning process with deep reflection and thoughtful input from our Board of Trustees, donors, funders, professional advisors, community partners, staff, expert consultants and the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

We sought to adapt our approach to meet evolving community needs, align with advances in technology, and integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into all of our work.

Creating a strategic vision 

I’m pleased to share that on March 26 our Board of Trustees approved the framework for our new plan, “Thriving Together: Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Strategic Vision 2024-2034.”

This initial framework includes a new vision and mission, as well as updated values. The framework will guide us as we complete our strategic vision and grantmaking strategy throughout the rest of this year:


  • Southeast Michigan is a place where everyone thrives.


  • We build the resources, relationships and expertise required to expand equitable access to opportunities. Our mission is to make southeast Michigan a desirable place to live, work and play for all residents, today and tomorrow.


  • Innovation: We nurture cutting-edge ideas and respond nimbly to evolving community needs. We’re a trusted partner for problem-solving in our region. We approach our work with creativity.
  • Leading change: We lead with humility, empathy, curiosity and courage. We prioritize the well-being of our community. We identify and invest in regional solutions. We challenge the status quo.
  • Operational excellence: We use data to guide our actions and measure our impact. We pursue continuous improvement and sustainable business practices. We grow endowments to create community capital today and for future generations.
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion: We view southeast Michigan’s diversity as a strength. We break down systemic barriers to expand equitable access to opportunities for all people. We welcome everyone to be their true self, so they can be their best self.
  • Collaboration: We convene funders, foundations and nonprofit leaders to make measurable change around shared goals. We listen to and learn from our community.
  • Trust and integrity: We are a responsible steward of our community’s philanthropic dollars. We are transparent and share progress toward our commitments. We honor donors’ intentions. We do what we say we’ll do.

We will continue to communicate with you as our strategic vision is finalized, but I want to be clear that our commitment to southeast Michigan and our nonprofit partners is unwavering. The seeds our founders and supporters planted 40 years ago have grown deep, strong roots that now allow us to reach for the sun.

In this spring report, you’ll learn how we support crucial work being done in the field of health and human services to ensure that southeast Michigan is a place where everyone thrives. Stories range from a feature on efforts to increase food access in our region to how we help nonprofits like Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit create sustainable funding, and shine a spotlight on the healing cultural curriculum one nonprofit created to uplift urban Native youth.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan believes that every person, family and community should have access to the resources they need. We invite you to join us in making our region a desirable place to live, work and play for all residents, today and tomorrow.

With thanks,

Richard (Ric) DeVore
Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan


This story was first published in the Spring 2024 REPORT newsletter.