Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.

Chief Executive Officer Grand Rapids, MI

The Wege Foundation (the Foundation), a leading civic institution in Grand Rapids, Michigan, seeks an organizationally savvy, community-oriented, and strategic-minded individual as its next President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  The Foundation was established in 1967 by Peter Melvin Wege, heir of the furniture manufacturer Steelcase and a longtime, dedicated civic leader in Grand Rapids who passed away in 2014. The Foundation’s mission is to plant seeds that develop leaders in economicology, health, education, and arts, and enhance the lives of people in West Michigan and around the world. Economicology, a term coined by the founder, defines the balance needed between the economy and ecology. The word summarizes Mr. Wege’s advocacy for educating the public on the reality that a prosperous economy depends on maintaining a healthy environment.

The Foundation continues to operate largely as a geographically focused family foundation guided by the principles set forth by Mr. Wege. It currently directs grantmaking across four pillars - Arts & Culture, Environment, Education, and Community Health & Wellbeing. The Foundation’s grantmaking also embraces cross-cutting themes applicable to all four pillars, such as an overarching commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion infuses all of the Foundation’s practices, policies, and grantmaking. Grand Rapids cannot achieve Mr. Wege’s goal that it become the best medium-sized city in the U.S. unless it is the best for everyone.

The CEO leads a staff of five highly dedicated and talented professionals, an annual grantmaking budget of $19 million and an annual operating budget of $1.8 million. With assets of approximately $380 million, the Foundation is governed by a ten-member board of trustees currently comprising eight children and grandchildren of Peter Melvin Wege. The Foundation complements its traditional grantmaking with strategic social impact investing, program-related investments, and convening and capacity-building efforts across West Michigan.

The trustees seek a CEO who is inspired by the organization’s legacy and values, and who shares the Foundation’s commitment to place-based, family-directed philanthropy that contributes to transformational change and demonstrable impact. The CEO will work closely with an engaged board and a committed staff to ensure the Foundation’s approach remains grounded in the lived experiences of its community partners, that grantee organizations are supported via robust grantmaking and strategic collaboration, that its internal culture is just and inclusive, and the Foundation remains at the vanguard of environmental philanthropy and socially conscious investment.

All inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed in confidence electronically below.

Kahn Lee and Claire Hennessey are leading this search.

The Wege Foundation looks to recruit team members that are as economically, culturally and ethnically diverse as the community it serves. The Foundation is committed to diversity and inclusion in all of its forms, including but not limited to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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