Lynne Ferrell has been named the 2019 recipient of the Dr. Gerald K. Smith Award for Philanthropy by the Michigan Forum for African Americans in Philanthropy (MFAAP), an affinity group of the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF).
Ferrell was honored on stage at CMF’s 47th Annual Conference on October 7, 2019 in Traverse City.
The award honors the significant efforts and contributions of individuals in the field whose work and grantmaking activities promote effective and responsive social change in communities of color. The award was presented by co-chairs of the MFAAP affinity group: Jonse Young of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Marcus McGrew of The Kresge Foundation.
Ferrell leads the portfolio of grants for the Frey Foundation, one of the largest family foundations in Michigan. She is also a member of the foundation’s leadership team, informing organizational culture, strategy and efficiency. Ferrell joined the Frey Foundation in 2000 as a program officer, analyzing funding proposals designed to improve outcomes for young children and catalyze civic development.
“The Frey Foundation and the Frey Family are all incredibly honored to have Lynne be a part of our very important work we do in Western and Northern Michigan,” said Holly Johnson, president and CEO of the foundation. “The tables that Lynne sits at are changed by her influence, and so much of the impact we’ve been able to have in the communities we serve is because of Lynne sitting at those tables.”
Young added, “She is committed to amplifying and lifting voices within the community that may not have been otherwise been lifted.”
In accepting the award, Ferrell said, “I had to learn at an early age that not everyone was going to listen to my voice. I had to find a way for them to hear me, and that was through understanding how to listen and how to find elements of commonality to make sure that voices that are marginalized in the room are being heard.”