Tag Archives: Heart of West Michigan United Way

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network 2014 Leadership Awards


November 13, 2014
Saint Cecilia Music Center

The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids held their sixth annual Leadership Awards last week and brought over 200 people together to celebrate all that is great about the nonprofit sector in West Michigan. The event was made possible with the help of generous sponsors including Heart of West Michigan United Way; Hopkins Fundraising Consulting; Grand Valley State University’s School of Public, Nonprofit, and Healthcare Administration; Grand Rapids Community Foundation; Philanthropia Partners; Parrish Consulting; Hungerford Aldrin; Nichols & Carter, PC; and Beene Garter.









The evening began with a reception sponsored by Spectrum Health. Saint Cecilia’s Dexter Ballroom was full of great energy as guests enjoyed food and beverage from Martha’s Catering, desserts from Desserts by Lori, and beautiful décor provided by Modern Day Floral & Events.

The main event of the evening was the Awards Ceremony, emceed by Shelley Irwin and featuring keynote speaker Latesha Lipscomb. YNPN.GR received nearly 100 nominations that were then narrowed to 35 finalists in seven categories.



Winners were voted on by YNPN.GR members and included:


Advocate Award

Benjamin Oliver, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Grand Rapids Urban Forest Project, The Rapidian





Breakthrough Award

Nicole Rodammer, Boys & Girls Club of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Young Professionals


DoGooder Award

Shelley Irwin, WGVU/Grand Valley State University, board member at multiple organizations




Exemplary Executive Award

Bethann Egan, In the Image



Good-to-Great Award

Lindsey Ruffin, Eastown Community Association




Unsung Hero Award

Kirk Eklund, West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology



Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year Award

Jenn Schaub, Dwelling Place



Congratulations to all the winners and the finalists, and kudos to all who work, lead, and volunteer in the nonprofit sector in West Michigan. You are truly making a positive impact across the region!

Grand Rapids Community Foundation Donor Party


VENUE: Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University at the Historic Federal Building
DATE: September 28, 2012

When Diana Sieger and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation (GRCF) throw a party, the people come. Last Friday evening the Foundation held its annual donor celebration that included the presentation of the 2012 Jack Chaille Award for Community Philanthropy. Hundreds of those who support the GRCF newest addition of Kendall College of Art & Design’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, the historic Federal Building.

The group that gathered on Friday was essentially a “who’s who” of West Michigan philanthropists. Guests of honor John and Nancy Kennedy were joined by community leaders such as Ralph Hauenstein, Mike and Sue Jandernoa, John and Marie Canepa, Greg and Meg Willit, and countless others who are so supportive of the foundation’s efforts. They enjoyed hors d’oeuvres from YoChef’s Catering Company and great wine from Martha’s Vineyard. Conversation was lively, and the atmosphere was one of joyful celebration as everyone came together to toast the Kennedys and this community foundation that is near and dear to their hearts.

Midway through the event, everyone made their way into the auditorium where GRCF President Diana Sieger welcomed everyone and began with the fantastic news that during the 2011-12 fiscal year, the foundation raised over $20 million. They also made grants and scholarship awards of just over $11 million, supporting initiatives surrounding housing and education in West Michigan. The GRCF is one of Grand Rapids’ greatest assets, serving as a permanent endowment for our community.

Sieger then introduced GRCF Board Chair, Eva Aguirre Cooper of WOOD-TV. She noted the level of “strategy, seriousness, and diligence” that goes into each decision regarding which grants to recommend for approval, and recognized the trustees who were there on Friday night, including Wayman Britt, Paul Doyle, Carol Karr, Paul Keep, Christina Keller, and Cecile Cave Fehsenfeld. Also recognized were David Rosen, Kendall College President; and David Eisler, President of Ferris State University.

The program continued with the presentation of the 2012 Jack Chaille Award for Community Philanthropy. This year’s recipients were John and Nancy Kennedy. There was a beautiful video tribute to Kennedys that included comments from two of their children, and their friends Mike Jandernoa and Phil McCorkle. Sieger then invited the Kennedys to receive their award, and they had three of their four children with them—John, Margaret, and Tom. (Their son Paul was unable to attend)

The Chaille Award is given annually to GRCF donors who not only support the Community Foundation’s mission, but also many other community efforts. John Kennedy is President of Autocam and Nancy is a full-time community volunteer. They are involved with Grand Valley State University, University Prep School, Saint Mary’s Hospital, the Heart of West Michigan United Way, the Catholic Schools of Grand Rapids, and of course the Community Foundation. John was part of the original committee for grant distribution, and they established Employees of Autocam Fund at the GRCF. The Kennedys also made a leadership gift to help secure the new building for the foundation. All four of their children have served on the GRCF Youth Grant Committee, and both Margaret and Tom served as the Youth Trustee on the board.

John and Nancy Kennedy are the supporters every nonprofit dreams of having. They are engaged 100 percent with each cause they are involved in and as Diana Sieger said, they are “great examples of people who give from their hearts. They are not only generous with their financial gifts, but they are active and very engaged volunteers. When they are behind something, a project or a cause, their time, talent, and treasure go into it. They are purposeful about their philanthropy and only take on causes to which they can fully dedicate themselves.”

Sieger then presented the Kennedys with their award, which is different for each recipient every year. The Community Foundation created an invitation package for the event this year that, when put together, formed a beautiful poster. The Kennedys were given a framed copy of this poster for their home, which was very fitting being that the award was given during ArtPrize and in one of the largest venues for the event. It was truly a work of art!

Friday night’s event was sponsored by Fifth Third Bank; PNC, Varnum, LLP; AMBS Investment Council LLC; Baker Holtz CPAs and Advisors; The Bank of Holland; Ellis Parking Company; JPMorgan Private Bank; Lafleur & Godfrey Inc.; Merrill Lynch; and Northern Trust.

Thank you to Diana Sieger and the entire staff of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation for all of your hard work and dedication to our community, and congratulations on a remarkable year! Stellafly is very excited to see what this year will bring!