Front of AAACF's office building

News & Updates

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

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.

Year-End Deadlines & Helpful Reminders

Thank you for your generosity and for supporting the work of Washtenaw County nonprofits! We are proud to be your philanthropic partner and we are here to assist you. (734.663.0401 / Before the year ends, make sure you have considered opportunities and plan now for deadlines!

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.

AAACF Summer 2021 E-News

We celebrate the summer season of traditions, celebrations, and transitions in this issue including: Trustee Transitions & Leadership, Audited Financials & Save the Date, CSP Graduates & Neel's Blog on Outcomes, Youth Council Graduates and 2021 Grants, Spring 2021 Grants: YACF, COVID-19, Arts, and Community, Volunteer Recognition: Norman Herbert, Buhr Foundation Celebration Video, and 2021 Young Citizens of the Year

Spring 2021 Grant Awards

This spring, nearly $500,000 in support was awarded through several grant programs: YACF, COVID-19 Relief, Arts & Culture, and Community Grantmaking. Check out recent grants in the online Grant Directory.

Empowering Young Black Men: WMBK & Mentor2Youth Grants

The EmpowerMENt Fund, seeded with $1M by an anonymous donor, supports efforts that uplift young Black males in Washtenaw County while promoting their educational success. The EmpowerMENt Fund recently made grants to Mentor2Youth and Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper (WMBK).

AAACF Spring 2021 E-News

This spring, AAACF is sharing fresh ideas for Washtenaw County and a focus on the future during this season of blooming and renewal. In this issue learn about Forging New Paths: Impact Investing Blog by Jillian Rosen, Empowering Young Black Men: WMBK & Mentor2Youth Grants, The Value of Sharing Knowledge: The Free College Movement, and Buhr Foundation Transition Continues Philanthropy for Community.

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