Twenty-five years ago the Michigan Nonprofit Association (originally the Michigan Nonprofit Forum) was born out of a simple "What if?" question posed by Russell Mawby, who was then the president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation.
The question posed was, "What would happen if nonprofits from all around the state, regardless of their individual missions, came together in the spirit of collaboration and partnership?" That one question was a game changer for the ways that Michigan nonprofits communicate, do business and make big and small impacts for those they serve.
The work we do today is rooted in that question and has taken wing and continues to soar. So instead of focusing on MNA's accomplishments in 2014-15 in this annual report, we thought it was important to acknowledge the historic milestones and impact of our organization over the years. We have a lot to celebrate!
MNA was created through the vision of leaders such as Mawby; Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson, president emeritus of the Council on Michigan Foundations; and the late Gov. George Romney, who all understood the need for connection and collaboration within the nonprofit sector. Since its founding, MNA has thrived through the leadership of its board of directors and past presidents — David Egner, Sam Singh, and Kyle Caldwell. And, of course, MNA would have never grown to what it is today without the dynamic staff members who have been an essential part of the team over the years.
There is no question that MNA has made powerful inroads on behalf of Michigan nonprofits and the people we work so hard to serve. For 25 years, this organization has been the unifying voice for nonprofits through its emphasis on civic responsibility, diversity, inclusion and equity and through its partnerships with government agencies and the business community.
We all know that it hasn't always been easy. In recent years, nonprofits have faced some tough challenges, due in part to the downturn of Michigan's economy. Yet we continued to provide steady employment growth that helped anchor the sector and stabilize the economy.
We proudly celebrate how far we've come. As we move forward, we will continue to build on the legacy of our founders and stay true to our core service to our membership. Every step we have taken over the years has brought us to this point and has positioned the MNA and the nonprofit sector to be successful for the next 25 years and beyond.
Together we look forward to the next chapters of our history.
Jenee L. Velasquez
Chair, Board of Directors
President & CEO