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Forever Washtenaw Blog

The latest news and commentary about what’s happening at AAACF and around Washtenaw County. This year, we are actively updating our website blog with stories from staff members every two weeks. Topics will be wide-ranging and will reflect the diverse perspectives and roles of staff members!

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Blog for Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation


By Zac Smith / January 14, 2022
As we approach the third Monday in January, a day remembering the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his monumental leadership through the civil rights movement, it can come with bittersweet emotions to see how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. The reverberations of centuries of injustice are still felt as inequity today and amidst the tragedies across this nation in the past decade, that inequity has been publicly amplified.

By Katelyn Videto / December 23, 2021
During a season of celebration and holidays, it’s easy for me to forget the intentions behind this time of year, when I’m checking off my shopping list and baking holiday cookies. But when I take a step back, I remember what I love about December: the true spirit of generosity.

By Jillian Rosen / November 2, 2021
Since I don’t have a crystal ball, I can help to create a shared line of sight for our community regarding grantmaking by sharing where AAACF is looking in 2022 with our organizational priorities and resource allocations. In 2021 our Board approved, as part of an ongoing strategic planning process (to conclude in 2022), a strategic imperative that will guide the foundation’s grantmaking and community initiatives: Leveraging AAACF’s unique strengths to aggressively reduce inequity and increase opportunity in areas where we are well-positioned to lead and collaborate.

By AAACF / October 7, 2021
I joined the AAACF Youth Council in my freshman year of high school and now, at the University of Michigan, I’ve realized how much the Youth Council was an instrumental part of my life and taught me things that will help me far into my future. One thing that I especially valued about the Youth Council was the amount of learning that happened. Every year, in order to delve deeper into our funding priorities, we listened to and participated in different activities centered around these priorities.

By AAACF / August 4, 2021
Nearly every surface in my home is stacked with books. I’ve always loved settling down with something to read and getting lost in a story, both fiction and non-fiction. And my curiosity makes it difficult to stop mid-story, resulting in many late nights (“just one more page…”).

By Neel Hajra / June 29, 2021
As a life-long resident of Washtenaw County, I love that the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) engages in a wide and diverse range of philanthropic activities to address an evolving community. If forced to identify just one example of how AAACF has evolved in recent years, it would be our Community Scholarship Program (CSP). That’s because CSP is more than a scholarship program—it embeds multiple new philosophies and AAACF’s new Core Values (Prioritizing Community, Pursuing Equity, Earning Trust, Leveraging Knowledge & Enhancing Collaboration). Although CSP has been on my mind during this season of celebrating high school and college graduations (and do watch the video about our 12 CSP college grads!), I want to reflect on CSP now as an illustration of how we are approaching our work in general moving forward.

By Betsy Petoskey / June 1, 2021
As summer starts, we have many new beginnings to celebrate, including the freedom to be out exploring our neighborhoods in ways we were unable to do last year. We are rediscovering treasured gems in our community and resuming traditions of celebrating life’s transitions, such as weddings and graduations. As a Foundation, we are reshaping a strategic plan for the new landscape. As we do that, we also celebrate traditions, such as transitions in the Board of Trustees.

By Karen Andrews / May 20, 2021
On April 30, 2021, we held our first-ever Investors Salon. Community members, investors, financial professionals and business leaders attended to share thoughts and grow our collective wisdom on Impact Investing.

By Doug Weber / April 28, 2021
Springtime always feels like a time of change and hopeful new beginnings. Now that our late April snow has melted and spring flowers are emerging, I find myself warmed with a sense of renewal and great hope. In my personal life, that means that my cautious optimism has me looking forward to greater freedom to move about in public and to see and talk to many of you in our community face-to-face in the months ahead.

By Jillian Rosen / April 15, 2021
As a child I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in rural upstate New York. My grandfather was particularly fond of hiking in the woods (sans any marked trails) and took me along with him. Most of the time we would set off from their house and spend hours making our way through the forest; always our first task was to find for ourselves a walking stick. This ritual of searching out our walking stick was something I looked forward to as much as the hike itself. It provided us with stability, a sense of purpose, and something to literally hold onto as we ventured onto unknown paths.

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