About Your Community Foundation


Making the World a Better Place For All of Us

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Board of Directors

Community Foundation of Monroe County has recently been accredited with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations®—the highest standards for philanthropic excellence. Learn more.

Our Beginnings

The Community Foundation of Monroe County began with a donation of $25 from David Hehl in 1978. The donation included $24 to start the General Endowment Fund, and $1 was given for the administration of the Foundation. The formation of the Community Foundation was inspired by the vision of Herman Gertz, secretary of the La-Z-Boy Chair Foundation. Mr. Getz felt there was a need in Monroe County for an organization “to do things that needed doing” which were not supported by the United Way.

Our Purpose

The vision of the Community Foundation is for Monroe County to be a place where everyone has an opportunity to thrive. We strive to successfully fulfill our mission by committing to the following values:


Maintain the highest standards of integrity and transparency in donor relations, community service, organizational governance and fiscal responsibility.

Local Impact

Promote philanthropy that will have an impact on the community at large.

Community Partnerships

Form collaborations with local non-profits, community leaders, and volunteers, to provide funds that address issues such as education, health, poverty, community development and others.


Embrace diversity in our philanthropic decision making.


Operate to produce significant, widely shared and long-lasting results.

Past Projects

Some of the earliest projects of the Foundation were to support the production of a film about the Battle of the River Raisin and to plant cherry trees in Monroe on the north bank of the River Raisin. Mrs. Mary Daume, a charter member, recalls that one of the most symbolic of the Foundation’s projects was to give a pine tree seedling to every third grader in Monroe County. The children were supposed to take the seedlings home and plant them as a lesson in conservation and beautification. Three of these Austrian pine seedlings were planted at Holy Ghost Lutheran School, and now tower over the play yard as a living reminder of this early project of the Community Foundation.

Present Situation

For 40 years the Community Foundation of Monroe County has had the privilege of supporting the Monroe County Community through thoughtful philanthropy. As we reflect on this fortieth year of service, we celebrate another milestone of awarding more that $1,000,000 in grants and scholarships to our community this year.  This was accomplished thanks to many generous donors who have established more than 100 funds with us.  We are proud to assist individuals, families and businesses in fulfilling their charitable goals by establishing endowed funds with us. We take stewardship of these funds very seriously by making sure they remain in perpetuity.

Need Something?

Contact our staff and we would be happy to help you out.

Kathleen Russeau

Executive Director

(734) 242-1976

Michele Sandiefer

Accounting and Communication Specialist

(734) 242-1976

Brittany Novak

Development and Operations

(734) 242-1976