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Kresge salutes CFSEM President Mariam Noland on the announcement of her retirement

From the President

Mariam Noland has spent almost two generations in dedication to improving virtually every dimension of life in southeast Michigan. From creating a vehicle to fund and administer a regional system of greenways to ensuring the long-term viability of arts and cultural institutions. From jump-starting a seminal conversation about how philanthropy could help foster greater entrepreneurship to convening the first conversation among foundations about participating in the Grand Bargain that brought Detroit out of bankruptcy. From facilitating the efforts of hundreds and hundreds of individual and families who needed a trusted vehicle to move financial support to the region’s nonprofit community to creating pooled funds to combat the scourge of COVID-19. Mariam is synonymous with philanthropy in our region.

One knew that Mariam would be a special leader the moment she was recruited to be the founding President by the Community Foundation’s founding Chairman Joseph Hudson Jr. It was a convergence of visionary leadership that would return dividends to the region from the moment it began. We at Kresge are enormously proud to have been there from the beginning as a founding funder.

Having built the foundation’s endowment to $1 billion and disbursed $1.2 billion, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan stands as one of the 20 largest community foundations in the country. But, even more than the magnitude of the resources, it is the steadiness of Mariam’s leadership and the sureness of her community vision that are her most profound and enduring gifts to the residents of southeast Michigan.

A southeastern Michigan philanthropic ecology is virtually incomprehensible without Mariam. She has pushed our thinking forward. She has kept us focused on the practical realities of what nonprofit organizations truly need in order to be successful. She has modeled how to draw together private foundations, nonprofits, business and government to pursue shared priorities. She has constructed and refined a machinery of philanthropic support that is built for the long-term, that is efficient and streamlined, and that is capable of adapting quickly to our region’s endlessly-changing circumstances.

Mariam’s integrity, skill, and values have inspired us for thirty-six years, and will continue to inspire well into the future. Thank you Mariam for all you have done, all you have enabled others to do, and all that we will yet accomplish because of the footings you have laid.