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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.

This week, we are sharing updates on the transition process. While AAACF staff leadership is essential, the dedicated commitment of community leaders comprising the Board of Trustees will continue to be the literal foundation of the Community Foundation, as it has for nearly 60 years.

  • The AAACF Board approved the formation of a search committee with 13 community members:
    • Betsy Petoskey (Chair)
    • Decky Alexander
    • Tabitha Bentley
    • Richard Chang
    • Michelle Crumm
    • Sean Duval
    • Laura Hayden
    • Bhushan Kulkarni
    • David Sarns
    • Versell Smith
    • Michael Staebler
    • Chuck Warpehoski
    • Doug Weber
  • The Foundation has engaged The Andrews Group to assist with the process to retain a new CEO.
  • The search committee and search firm are working on an Opportunity Profile for the CEO candidacy that will be posted widely in the coming weeks, including on the Foundation’s website (aaacf.org).
  • Although the search process will incorporate important constituency feedback, no conversations will be entertained outside the formal search process. All inquiries should be directed to The Andrews Group: www.karenandrewsgroup.com.
  • Neel Hajra’s last day is Friday, September 10 (join us in a virtual celebration). 
  • Dr. Shelley Strickland, VP-Philanthropy, will serve as Interim CEO until an external candidate is hired.
  • Trustees and staff are committed to building upon the momentous growth and impact of AAACF during its last several years and exercising our Core Values: Prioritizing Community, Pursuing Equity, Earning Trust, Leveraging Knowledge, and Enhancing Collaboration. 
  • We will continue to share periodic updates on the search process.
In the meantime, we invite the community to join us in thanking Neel Hajra for his measurable contributions to his hometown. We are grateful that Neel will remain a Washtenaw County resident and committed to the continued success of our community’s dedicated endowment. In addition to continued professional collaborations between AAACF and the Health Fund, Neel remains committed to personal engagement with AAACF. He established an unrestricted endowed fund in 2013, the Hajra Family Fund. Such unrestricted, permanent endowed funds—termed Community Impact Funds, which can be established with $5,000—are pooled for grant distribution across the County to address the community’s most pressing issues (such as COVID relief).
 
RSVP for the virtual celebration for Neel on Friday, September 10, from 4-5:00 p.m. and learn more about the opportunity to leave a note for Neel or make a gift in his honor to the Hajra Family Fund.


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