Front of AAACF's office building

News & Updates

Below, you'll find our recent updates, newsletters, publications and more.

AAACF Spring 2022 E-News

In this issue: Gathering Together—"Plan B” & Beyond, Impact from Your Place-Based Giving, In Loving Memory of Connie Dunlap, Pursuing Healthy & Fulfilling Aging, and EmpowerMENt Fund Updates

In Loving Memory of Connie Dunlap

We mourn the recent loss of Connie Dunlap, a dear friend of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. In September 2017 in connection with renovations at the AAACF offices, a space was named in honor of this extraordinary volunteer and donor: The Connie Dunlap Library, in memory of Robert Bruce Dunlap (Connie’s beloved husband). The library signage and a commemorative tree plaque reflect gifts made in honor of Connie Dunlap from many community members touched by her gifts of time, generosity, and wisdom over many years—from Ozone House to Glacier Hills Foundation to the U-M Library, which she oversaw for many years.

Glacier Hills Legacy Fund "Golden Opportunities" Grant Program

AAACF is pleased to announce a new grant program focusing on senior needs in our community! Glacier Hills Legacy Fund "Golden Opportunities" Grant Program: The Glacier Hills Legacy Fund (GHLF) Advisory Committee at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) recognizes that there are long standing inequities that exist for many older adults and caregivers in Washtenaw County. While solutions to many inequities require deep investments into systems level changes, the GHLF Committee sees value in targeted solutions that provide a more immediate patch in services to reduce inequities.

AAACF Winter 2022 E-News

As we hope for a brighter 2022 for all, we are also grateful for what we accomplished together in 2021 for Washtenaw County. In this issue, we look back and look forward: Welcome to Shannon Polk as President & CEO, 2021 Year in Review, Forever Washtenaw blog by Sean White, 2022 Scholarship Applications, and 2021 Grant Highlights.

Welcome to Sean White, Impact Investment Manager

The Community Foundation's commitment to impact investing continues to grow — and with it, we're growing the team! AAACF has just added a dedicated staff member, Sean White, as our Impact Investment Manager. Sean will provide leadership to significantly grow the portion of AAACF’s portfolio dedicated to local investments that generate both financial and social returns.

AAACF names Shannon Polk as President & CEO

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) Board of Trustees has selected Shannon E. Polk, J.D., D. Min., as its next President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Polk is an accomplished nonprofit leader with demonstrated success as an executive director, trainer, consultant, and board member as well as comprehensive experience in philanthropy including grantmaking, estate planning, and fundraising. She has most recently led The Witness Foundation and consulted with the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area to facilitate staff competency in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Capacity Building for Racial Equity & Social Justice Work

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and United Way of Washtenaw County are looking to provide capacity building opportunities for organizations doing racial equity/social justice work through access to consultants via the Catchafire platform.

Introducing Exhale, the Family Caregiver Initiative

Help us reimagine respite care. Family caregivers are essential to providing older adults in the community with the extra support and compassion they need. But to effectively fill this role, caregivers must also care for themselves. Relief or respite care can improve caregiver well-being, leading to better health, better social-emotional outcomes, and even lower costs of care. But caregivers need support to find time to rest, clear their minds, take a breath, and take care of their own health and well-being.

AAACF Fall 2021 E-News

Fall in Washtenaw County means a return to school schedules, familiar routines and favorite activities like football and cider mills—just as autumn represents transitions, with lost leaves, waning daylight hours and falling temperatures. AAACF is experiencing those same dynamics between continuance and crossover: from new Youth Council members to leadership changes.

New 2021-22 Youth Council Members

We are pleased to introduce the new Youth Council members who are joining the committee this academic year! They represent a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives in our community, which are critical to the thoughtful decisions of the Youth Council. These Washtenaw County high school students oversee annual grants of $85,000+ and volunteer in the community.

Healthy & Fulfilling Aging Systems Research Report

Growing older impacts all of us, and we can influence that process to be about healthy and fulfilling aging. We commissioned original research to explore this concept, the AAACF Washtenaw County Healthy & Fulfilling Aging Systems Research Report. We contracted with Root Cause, a national research firm specializing in community development and systems change, to learn from older adults and caregivers in Washtenaw County what matters most to those aged 55+ and potential community-driven solutions.

RSVP for 9/27: The Concept of Community

Join your community foundation for Washtenaw County on Monday, September 27 from 4-5:00pm.

AAACF Transition Updates

Last week, we announced that Neel Hajra, who has been part of AAACF for 11 years—6 years as its chief executive officer (CEO), has been named CEO of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. Neel was actively recruited for this rare opportunity to remain in his hometown of Ann Arbor while leading a large private foundation with a statewide service area.

Join Us: Neel's Farewell & A Community Conversation

AAACF invites you to attend two virtual community gatherings this month: Farewell to Neel Hajra, CEO on 9/10/21 and The Concept of Community: A Washtenaw County Virtual Conversation on 9/27/21.

Breaking News: AAACF CEO Neel Hajra Named CEO of MI Health Endowment Fund

AAACF’s Neel Hajra, who has been part of the Community Foundation for 11 years—the last 6 years as its chief executive officer (CEO), has just been announced by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (the Health Fund) as its new CEO. Neel was actively recruited for this rare opportunity to remain in his hometown of Ann Arbor while leading a large private foundation with a statewide service area.

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