By [email protected]
Posted Mar. 9, 2014, Holland, Mich.
Photo: Holland Sentinel
Janet DeYoung, who helped the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area reach unprecedented heights during her eight-year tenure as president and CEO of the fundraising organization, said she is planning to retire at the end of May.
Her desire to spend more time with family, especially four grandchildren and a fifth grandchild due to arrive by the end of April, is what prompted the difficult decision, she said.
"It's just time to slow down a little bit and spend some time with family,” said DeYoung, 63, a 1972 Hope College graduate. “I’ve got some family members with transitions in their life, and I’d like to spend more time with them. My oldest daughter, who’s 38, is having her second child, and I want to be around to share in that experience. Our four grandkids are getting older. My mom, who moved to Holland six years ago, is almost 90. I’d like to take some extra time with her as well.
"For more than 30 years, I’ve been in professional positions that have been very rewarding, but also time consuming. You just don’t get to have the time you’d like to spend with those people when you’re putting in long weeks all those years.”
A search for DeYoung’s successor has begun and is expected to be announced prior to her departure.
The Community Foundation, which provides competitive grants, loans and scholarship funding to a multitude of nonprofit groups, increased its assets from $25 million at the time of DeYoung’s hiring in December 2005 to more than $53 million at the end of last year.
The foundation also nearly doubled the size of its staff, expanded its reach in the community and moved into a new 2,500-square-foot office at 85 E. Eighth St. under her leadership.
"I have nothing but respect for Janet,” said Sue Den Herder, who chairs the Community Foundation’s board of trustees. “She has led an effort in finding us a new home, and she is leaving us with $53 million in assets. We’ve grown in size and scope during her tenure.
"I think she’s a female leader in our community. She’s going to leave us with positive, lasting change. I am especially going to miss her wisdom. We have some big shoes to fill."
Fellow board member Nancy Miller agreed.
"She leads the work of the foundation with skill, commitment, grace and warmth,” Miller said. “She has a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, which enables the foundation to have a significant, positive impact on the community. She has truly made a difference."