Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation


The Ann Arbor Area Foundation was officially incorporated in July 1963.
"Community" was added to our name in 1990

The guiding forces behind our start:

  • Compassion,
  • A deep commitment to the well-being of our community, and
  • A shared concern that worthwhile community programs and initiatives needed funding support.

In 1962, the Board of the Washtenaw United Fund researched  the feasibility of establishing a broad purpose community foundation that could serve local community needs. Unlike private foundations, a community foundation would operate as a “public trust” - receiving broad public support from donors throughout the community.

The Community Foundation’s founding members - Jack Hogan,
Earl Cress, Joseph Foster, Edward Adams, and William Walz - believed that a community foundation could serve two essential purposes:

  • Provide a permanent source of funds that  would be available to meet a wide range of changing and emerging community needs, and 
  • Provide a flexible vehicle for community members to give back.

The Community Foundation’s first endowed fund  was established in 1963 when assets from a private family foundation were transferred to AAA(C)F. The James & Clarice Foster Fund was established as a field of interest fund to benefit youth.

In 1964, Robert Kerschbaum was instrumental in leading the Foundation's early work and growth. He served as both Executive Director of the United Way and volunteer Executive Director of the Community Foundation for more than 20 years until he retired in 1986.

In its first year, the Community Foundation’s assets totaled $59,018.
Two grants totaling $6,291 were awarded.
Today, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation is one of the largest community foundations in Michigan.
At year-end 2013, the Community Foundation’s assets totaled $75.5 million. Since 1963, AAACF has awarded more than $33 million in grants and scholarships -  $3.4 million in 2013.

In 2013, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a year-long series of events and activities - including sharing 50 years, 50 stories.

AAACF's continued success is a tribute to the small group of visionary citizens who first established the Community Foundation, and to the thousands of community members - donors, volunteers, committee members and advisors - whose continued support and efforts help us meet the changing needs of our community.