President & CEO
Executive Assistant to the President
At a glance:
Here's what I can help you with:
Michigan philanthropy (volunteers, nonprofits, donors, grantmakers) has been my vocational home for more than 25 years. I started out as a public grantmaker and have led every nonprofit sector infrastructure organization in Michigan. With that background I can help in several areas including public/private partnerships, service and volunteerism, effective grantmaking, and public policy.
Kyle has served on a number of national boards, including Points of Light, Independent Sector, Nonprofit Votes and the National Council of Nonprofits. At the state level, he was a board member of the Michigan Community Service Commission, Michigan Association of United Ways, and Michigan Community Resources.
Kyle is a strong believer in community philanthropy and currently serves on the boards of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Kids’ Food Basket.
Kyle Caldwell began his tenure as president and CEO of CMF on November 1, 2018, bringing more than 25 years of government, and nonprofit and philanthropic sector experience. He has also been a supporter of CMF as a volunteer for many years and was formerly a member and co-chair of CMF's Government Relations Public Policy Committee.
Prior to his appointment with CMF, Kyle, a Michigan native, was executive director of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, one of the country’s leading academic centers for philanthropy.
He previously served as an intern, and then later as executive director of the Michigan Community Service Commission in the Engler and Granholm administrations. A champion of public/private partnerships, Kyle helped launch and then lead the ConnectMichigan Alliance (CMA) that created a $20 million endowment to support volunteerism that engaged both state government and philanthropy in a one-of-a-kind statewide campaign. CMA merged with the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) and Kyle became its president and CEO. There, he championed the work of nonprofits and foundations to help build a stronger ecosystem for philanthropy.
Throughout his work in government and in foundations, Kyle has helped develop strategies and programming initiatives that strengthen the work of public and private grantmakers. Most recently, he led the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University. Prior that, he served as the director for the Pathways to Opportunity Program at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation where he helped evolve the Foundation’s approach to addressing poverty to focus on education.
He earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication from Western Michigan University. Both WMU and Lansing Community College, where he earned an associate’s degree in photojournalism, have bestowed Kyle with exemplary alumni awards.
Get to know Kyle:
What do you actually do all day long?
A year ago, I began focused on three things listening, listening, then listening. We have great wisdom in our field and a powerful network that needs our support and leadership—listening often and well will help us all. Now we are turning what we heard into action and supporting our community of philanthropy increase their impact. Oh, and maintaining the long tradition of CMF’s leaders working every day to be wickedly innovative!
What is the best part of your job?
Traveling the state and around the globe to meet and help people every day do something to serve others.
Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Rocky Road—its sweet and a little nutty…… might say something about me, but I am not sure.
What music are you streaming?
Right now, it’s a mix of Aretha Franklin’s early works, Ray Charles (from any era), John Prine’s Sourvenirs, Lake Street Dive’s Free Yourself Up, and bunch of 1980’s rock and roll. I love a lot of the current top 40 too, but I am a little nostalgic when it comes to my music. Oh, and there are several classics by Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, etc. that I cruise.
Why do you love where you live?
I get this question all the time especially since I have done so much work in Washington, D.C. and around the country, but the answers are so easy. Michigan is simply the most philanthropically innovate state in the nation—hands down. Pure Michigan is a national treasure and the envy of the world. And as a friend once told me, “in the final analysis it is people who matter in communities.” We are a diverse state with great people and resilient communities.
If you could choose a super power, what would it be?
Universal service—the ability to get everyone to serve others. Not sure what my costume would look like, but I would be sure it included a bow tie.
Favorite book from childhood?
I’m going to have to cheat on this one because there are two— “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak; and William Kotzwinkle’s and Glenn Murray’s, “Walter the Farting Dog.” The first because I liked to dream as a kid, and the second because of the “anyone has a superpower to be a hero” theme of the story and the book series……flatulence humor might have an influence as well, but don’t tell anybody I said that—I have a reputation to uphold.
I am not sure I can say I have a favorite among all, but I am always interested in Stephen King’s works, and have been spending a lot of time reading Michigan urban history including, “A $500 House in Detroit” by Drew Philp, and “A City Within A City” by Todd E. Robinson. These tell the history of Detroit and Grand Rapids.
My loving bride and I just finished a celebration of our 30 years of marriage by taking 30 days in a camper to tour some of our national parks—Wisconsin Dells, Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Yellowstone, Glacier, Porcupine Mountains, and Pictured Rocks.
Hobbies/ & Leisure Interests?
I am a recovering professional photographer and now enjoy just shooting for myself and my family. Unfortunately, for my home and family, I am also someone who likes to tinker around the house. It keeps a lot of contractors busy as they work to clean up my mistakes.