After over 24 years with the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan, Program Director Julie Wiesen is moving on to her next adventures. Though we will miss her contagious smile around the office, we are thrilled for all that awaits her!
Julie began her career at CFNEM in 1996 when Lucas Pfeiffenberger hired her to assist with the Foundation's grants, scholarships and newly-formed Youth Advisory Councils (YAC). During her tenure she saw the Foundation's service area grow from four counties to nine counties with the addition of three affiliate foundations; worked with new staff as it increased from three to seven staff members; and watched as assets grew from $6.2 million to over $51 million.
Upon returning from a conference, Julie was excited about a new idea to create a giving circle of women whose collective giving could impact the community in perpetuity. The inclusiveness and potential power for good in the idea motivated her to continue to push for the idea to become a reality in northeast Michigan. In late 2006, that idea came to fruition with the support of the CFNEM Board of Trustees and the help of fellow staff to establish the Northeast Michigan Women's Giving Circle (WGC). Since then, the fund has grown to over $640,000 in assets and has awarded over $146,000 in grants to issues important to women. Did you know Julie is so passionate about the WGC that she actually has a pair of purple sneakers with "WGC" emblazoned on the side? It's true.
Aside from being a paid staff member of the Foundation, Julie is also a philanthropist at heart. She and her husband Chuck have established the Wiesen Family Scholarship Fund, which supports students attending Alpena Community College. As an original "Founding Member" of the WGC, Julie is also a Diamond Member of the WGC which puts her in the company of donors who have given $10,000 or more to the Women's Giving Circle Endowment Fund. Julie and Chuck are also generous donors to many of CFNEM's other funds and outside charities as well. She often plays the lottery to dream about all the ways to give it away!
Congratulations on your retirement Julie! The Foundation is fortunate to have had you on its team for so many years, and we look forward to having you as a volunteer in your spare time.