The Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, a Detroit-based grant-making organization committed to improving the lives of people in Southeastern Michigan and Buffalo, New York, today added eight new staff members.
“It was important to build a team with cross-sector experience that not only complements the Foundation’s focus areas, but also builds on our culture of collaboration and innovation as we get deeper into our work and grant-making,” says David O. Egner, president and CEO of the foundation.
The new hires include: program officers Kimberley Faison, Susan Dundon, and Malia Xie; communications officer Carly Strachan; research associate Avery Eenignenburg; and three administrative assistants, Ebony Annette Jones, Amy Partridge, and Donna Salive.
As program officers, Faison, Dundon, and Xie will support the development and implementation of the foundation’s grant-making strategies and resulting communications to support these strategies. They will be primarily responsible for grant monitoring, grant evaluation, and community relations. The officers will also work to identify programs, projects, and partnerships that will best leverage the group’s resources.
Faison brings more than 15 years of economic and community development to her role as a program officer, most recently serving as a director of entrepreneurial initiatives at Southwest Solutions. Dundon has a background in workforce development, which will be her primary focus in her new role at the foundation. Xie previously worked at The Skillman Foundation and The Detroit Children’s Fund, where she was a social innovation fellow, and led the design of investment strategy and framework for a philanthropy fund.
Joining the team as a communications officer, Strachan brings more than 15 years of marketing communications experience, having spent time as a senior account manager Lovio George, where she worked with the New Economy Initiative, Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, and Shinola. She will work to support the development and implementation of communications, grant-making strategies, and partnership development.
As the foundation’s research associate, Eenigenburg will be responsible for conducting research, analysis, and data gathering to support and inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of the group’s research priorities and giving strategies. Previously, she worked at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan for 10 years, developing an annual process for gathering community needs data and writing and managing grant proposals.
Additionally, Jones, Partridge, and Salive have been hired as administrative assistants to provide operational support to the team. Jones previously served as a learning services intern with the Council of Michigan Foundations. Partridge joins the team after more than a decade at Ilitch Holdings Inc., supporting three corporate vice presidents. Following more than 25 years in executive support, Salive comes to the foundation from Business Leaders for Michigan where she provided support for both the chief executive and operating officers.
Over the past year, Engner says the foundation has been in a “get smarter” phase, engaging in face-to-face meetings in both New York and Michigan, and collaborating on tables and research studies, including field scans conducted at the Aspen Institute in youth sports and recreation and the early childhood study led by a variety of Western New York funders.