Below, you'll find our recent updates, newsletters, publications and more.
AAACF is pleased to announce that
we are now accepting applications for the Arts and Culture Racial Equity Program! Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) is investing in strengthening arts & culture nonprofits in Washtenaw County through a racial equity lens. We seek to activate the artistic and cultural identity of all people in Washtenaw County and ensure a fundamental level of access to arts and culture for everyone.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Join your community foundation for Washtenaw County on Monday, September 27 from 4-5:00pm.
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.
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.
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