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Celebrating Changemakers

CMF is committed to cultivating and celebrating the leadership of all those who power our sector, across the entire continuum of their engagement in philanthropy, including youth, emerging practitioners, mid-career staff and trustees and the most tenured leaders in our field. One way that CMF demonstrates this commitment is by honoring the service, efforts and contributions of those involved in Michigan philanthropy through our annual philanthropy awards.

2023 Philanthropy Award Honorees

Our community of philanthropy celebrated the exceptional service and outstanding leadership of 10 changemakers during the CMF 51st Annual Conference in Detroit, November 6-8, 2023. Learn more about our philanthropy award honorees below! Our call for nominations will open in the spring of 2024.



The Community Foundation Philanthropy Award was established by CMF and the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) in 2006 to honor a living individual and/or family for their exceptional service and commitment to growing community philanthropy in Michigan on behalf of one or more community foundations. This award recognizes generosity of time, talent and treasure, specifically the individual or family's leadership, impact, creativity and collaboration. Nominations will be accepted for a living individual or family. Public officials, foundation staff and CMF trustees are not eligible for nomination. 

We are grateful to representatives from MNA and the CMF Community Foundation Committee who serve as peer reviewers for the Community Foundation Philanthropy Award submissions and lead the selection of the winner.

2023 Community Foundation Award Recipients

Matt and Karen Cullen, Matthew and Karen Cullen Family Foundation & Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan 

Matt and Karen Cullen

Matt and Karen Cullen are leaders with years of service dedicated to the city of Detroit and are deeply engaged in the community through their service on local boards and organizations. The Cullens lead the Matthew and Karen Cullen Family Foundation, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), focused on the economic development and economic opportunity in Detroit. Matt also serves on CFSEM’s Board of Trustees and Executive Committee. Through the Cullens’ dedicated efforts, Karen and Matt have worked to support the transformation of the Detroit Riverfront with the establishment of the Cullen Plaza and the Cullen Family Carousel, offering a place for children to play and enjoy the area. Matt is leading an unprecedented partnership, including the city of Detroit, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the Joe Louis Greenway Partnership. Watch the award presentation.

ALL Recipients

2022: W. Frank Fountain, Jr.
2021: William H. Piper
2019: Georgia and Travis Fojtasek
2018: Charles Janssen and The Honorable Carlene Walz Lefere
2017: Doug & Margaret DeCamp
2016: Mary Little Tyler & Dr. Samuel Shaheen and the Shaheen family
2015: Donna Niester
2014: Lawrence E. Moon
2013: Dirk Hoffius
2012: Barbara VanDusen
2011: David Donovan
2010: Richard (Dick) Groos and Lucas Pfeiffenberger
2009: Edward and Nancy Hanenburg
2008: Walter North
2007: Molly Dobson
2006: Raymond H. Dresser, Jr.


The Dr. Gerald K. Smith Award for Philanthropy was established in 2013 to honor the work and philosophy of Dr. Smith, who was a strong advocate and mentor, a bold and charismatic leader, and a pioneer in the field. Dr. Smith was also one of the original co-chairs of the Michigan Forum for African Americans in Philanthropy (MFAAP), a CMF affinity group. He dedicated his entire career to making the Detroit community better for children and their families. The award honors the legacy and leadership of Dr. Smith, recognizing significant efforts and contributions of individuals in the field whose work and grantmaking activities promote effective and responsive social change in African American communities and who have demonstrated leadership, impact, creativity and collaboration. Nominations are accepted for individuals with at least four years of experience in the field. The current co-chairs of MFAAP are not eligible for this award.

We are grateful to the co-chairs of MFAAP who serve as peer reviewers for the Dr. Smith Award submissions and lead the selection of the winner. (Co-chairs may also engage the support of one or more past winners.)

2023 Dr. Gerald K. Smith Award for Philanthropy Recipient 

Melanca Clark, Hudson-Webber Foundation

Melanca Clark

Melanca Clark, the former president and CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation and CMF Board Chair, has asserted a bold commitment to addressing racial disparities with a particular focus on Black communities in Detroit throughout her tenure at the Hudson-Webber Foundation. Melanca’s dedication to advancing systemic change throughout Detroit, our state and our country has led to the development of the Michigan Justice Fund, comprised of Michigan-based and national funders dedicated to advancing justice reform and the economic mobility of individuals who have a conviction in Michigan. Melanca’s efforts also led the foundation to leverage the Detroit Art Support program to expand the foundation's distribution of resources to Black-led, neighborhood-based and culturally relevant arts and culture organizations. We are grateful for Melanca’s tremendous impact and leadership as the Board Chair of CMF and co-chair of CMF’s Statewide Equity Fund Strategic Support Pilot Working Group. Watch the award presentation.

All Previous Recipients

2022: Yazeed Moore
2021: Pamela Lewis
2019: Lynne Ferrell
2018: Wendy Lewis Jackson
2017: Robert Thornton
2016: Vivian Pickard
2015: Laura Trudeau
2014: Johngerlyn “Jonse” Young
2013: Rod Gillum


The Dr. Russell G. Mawby Award for Philanthropy was established by CMF and the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) in 1995 upon the retirement of Dr. Mawby as chairman and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The late Dr. Mawby was a founder and former chair of both CMF and MNA and led the creation of the Michigan Community Service Commission. This award honors an individual or family who has encouraged private action for the public good through philanthropy and demonstrated leadership in championing collaborative solutions for communities. Nominations will be accepted for a living individual or family with at least five years of philanthropy experience or active engagement. CMF trustees are not eligible for nomination. 

We are grateful to representatives from MNA and the CMF Community Foundation Committee who serve as peer reviewers for the Dr. Russell G. Mawby Award for Philanthropy submissions and lead selection of the winner.

2023 Dr. Russell G. Mawby Award for Philanthropy Recipient

Carolyn Bloodworth, Consumers Energy Foundation

Carolyn Bloodworth

After 42 years of dedicated service, Carolyn Bloodworth recently graduated from her role as secretary and treasurer and executive director of corporate giving at the Consumers Energy Foundation. Carolyn has worked with countless nonprofits and communities across Michigan to improve the quality of life for all Michiganders. Carolyn’s exceptional leadership has contributed to early childhood education through the Great Start Collaborative program and 2-1-1 helplines across the state, and recently, she collaborated with 10 Michigan community foundations to create equity-focused programming and support Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) nonprofit leaders. She has been a stalwart participant in Foundations on the Hill, working to build and deepen relationships with federal policymakers and advocating for policies that support the communities we serve. We are grateful for Carolyn’s servant leadership in honor of Michigan communities throughout the state. Watch the award presentation.

All Previous Recipients:

2022: Diana R. Sieger
2021: Becky Ewing and Mariam Noland 
2019: John Erb
2018: John M. Frey, David G. Frey and Edward J. Frey, Jr. (Ted)
2017: Joe Hudson
2016: James A. Kelly
2015: Bill Smith
2014: David and Lynne Robinson
2013: Larry & Earlene Baum
2012: Bill and Madge Berman
2011: Jim and Donna Brooks
2010: Manal and Ghassan Saab
2009: Lauraine Hoensheid
2008: Bill Johnston and Ronda Stryker
2007: Hugo E. (Ted) Braun, Jr.
2006: Peter M. Wege
2005: Margaret Ann Riecker
2004: James C. Acheson
2003: Chuck and Stella Royce
2002: Larry Bratschie
2001: Charles E. Anderson
2000: Maggie Allessee
1999: Arthur W. Angood
1998: Hugh and Eileen Starks
1997: Hiland W. Hall
1996: Elizabeth Upjohn Mason
1995: Russell G. Mawby


The Emerging Leader in Philanthropy Award was established by CMF and the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) Michigan Chapter in 2021. The award honors an emerging practitioner in the field for their demonstrated leadership, commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and advocacy for social justice in their work. The award celebrates emerging leaders working in Michigan who have advanced connections in the field and have shown support for peers in the emerging leader space. Emerging leaders include individuals from all career pathways, positions and ages with experience levels under 10 years. Nominees need to be a staff member, trustee or committee member of a CMF member organization to qualify.

We are grateful to the EPIP Michigan Steering Committee, who serve as peer reviewers for the Emerging Leader in Philanthropy Award submissions and lead the selection of the winner.

2023 Emerging Leader in Philanthropy Award Recipient

Jonathan Pulley, Rocket Community Fund

Jonathan Pulley

Jonathan Pulley leads the Rocket Community Fund’s grantmaking strategy for Detroit-based partners who are primarily focused on post-secondary persistence, workforce development, career education and education equity. Jonathan’s efforts to intentionally build connections within philanthropy and with nonprofit partners exemplify his dedication to keeping equity at the center of the work. His approach has inspired others within his organization, among his nonprofit partners and beyond. We are grateful to him for keeping equity at the center of the work. Watch the award presentation.

All Previous Recipients

2022: Yah-Hanna Jenkins Leys
2021: Erika VanDyke


The Innovations for Equity Philanthropy Award was newly launched in 2023 to honor the work of CMF members engaged in shifting narratives, broadening relationships, addressing power, expanding access and/or opportunity through philanthropic practice, examining policy or people-focused strategies, and other forms of equity-centered philanthropy. This award celebrates the unique and outstanding efforts of Michigan philanthropy to advance equitable outcomes for Michigan. The nominees will have demonstrated significant, bold action to create positive change, remove barriers and address structural inequity within their local context or for the philanthropic field at large. Examples include, but are not limited to innovative public-private partnerships, reimagined grantmaking strategies, exceptional community engagement and leadership in critical policy change. Again, please note that these are just examples and the award seeks new ways of thinking and innovative action. Actions may look different based on a foundation’s region, size, mission, stakeholder needs and more. Recognizing that deep and lasting change takes time, this award recognizes effort, not necessarily demonstrated outcomes. The nominee can be an individual or team of people and must include - but is not limited to - CMF member staff and/or trustees. Implementation of the leading-edge approach or effort must have started or primarily occurred during the last year (June 30, 2022 – June 30, 2023). Reviewers may determine that more than one honoree receives this award annually, recognizing the unique context of innovative efforts across the CMF membership.

We are grateful to representatives from MNA and the CMF Community Foundation Committee, who served as peer reviewers for the Innovations for Equity Award submissions and led the selection of the winners.

2023 Innovations for Equity Philanthropy Award Recipients

Jennifer Heymoss, vice president of Initiatives & Public Policy at Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF); Beth Berglin Initiatives & Public Policy officer at KZCF; Ebony Hemphill, coordinator, Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation at KZCF; Emily Olivares, director of Initiatives, Racial Healing at KZCF, and Stacey Ledbetter, a member of the Kalamazoo Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Leadership Team (as pictured below). Watch the award presentation.

Together, they have been working to address structural inequities, leaning into the convening power as a community foundation to convene and coordinate the Kalamazoo Blueprint for Peace—a long-term and community-led violence prevention strategy for Kalamazoo County with a public health approach. The team has worked to ensure that community voice and participation have been at the center of this work, developing the Blueprint for Peace as a robust and inclusive plan to address violence and root out inequities in the community.

Jennifer Heymoss
Beth Berglin
Ebony Hemphill
Emily Oliveras
Stacey Ledbetter