As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded it became clear that the Lenawee Community Foundation needed to make the difficult decision to cancel its 2020 Annual Meeting. Typically the annual meeting brings together local individuals, organizations, and businesses, while recognizing award recipients and the work of donors, volunteers, and community partners. Although disappointed that the special gathering couldn’t happen, there is still much to celebrate.
The Lenawee Leadership Award honors a person or couple, who exemplify the underlying principle that the future of our county will be determined by the quality of its leadership. Formerly known as the Maple Leaf Award, previous recipients continue to be recognized, and are listed on the Foundation website. The prestigious award has a county-wide focus that mirrors the Lenawee Community Foundation mission to enhance the quality of life in Lenawee.
Gary & Cindi Gray were selected to receive the 2020 Lenawee Leadership Award. Gary and Cindi have big hearts for our community and for others, especially children. Together they created Hot Rocks basketball camp 29 years ago to teach basketball and life lessons. There is no charge to attend this camp. Gary has been an assistant varsity basketball coach and board member at Lenawee Christian School. He is CEO of Gray Institute and is world-renown in the field of physical therapy. Cindi volunteered and taught weekly at the Adrian Training School for 20 years. She has shared her skill of sign language in churches and schools, as well as at Gray Institute. She has served on the Crisis Pregnancy Board and volunteered at HOPE Community Center. Together, Gary and Cindi are quite a team. They are kind and considerate, living by motto: If you think someone needs something, give it to them. They are genuine and authentic, quietly living their values through actions that serve others.
Three additional award recipients would have been honored at the Lenawee Community Foundation Annual Meeting if it had been held. The Stubnitz, Community Pillar, and Incito Awards were carried on when Lenawee Cares was established, as a program of the Foundation.
Doug Gray is the 2020 recipient of the Stubnitz Award. The Stubnitz Award is presented annually to a person demonstrating exemplary commitment to Lenawee Cares, our community, and volunteerism in Lenawee. The award is named in memory of Lenawee philanthropist and businessman, Maurice Stubnitz. Gray co-chaired the Lenawee Cares Advisory Board from its beginning in 2016 through 2018 and continues to serve on this board. He is also a Lenawee Cares representative on the Lenawee Community Foundation Board of Directors. Other volunteer activities include co-director of Hot Rock Training camp for boys, and Girls of Summer camp, director of Free to Play, and former service on the Lenawee United Way Board of Directors and chair of its Young Leader Society.
Gurdjian Insurance Group is the 2020 recipient of the Community Pillar Award, which is presented to an individual, couple, or business to recognize outstanding impact on our community through Lenawee Cares. They are a community-minded business with an incredible group of employees, who consistently display a culture of caring through volunteering and generous gifts to help others. Their employees are generous donors to Lenawee Cares, as Pillars Club or Tomorrow’s Pillar members. They serve on the Lenawee Community Foundation Board of Directors, Lenawee Cares Advisory Board, and have participated in Year of Caring since January 2019, adopting Adrian Community Preschool every month. Londa Pickles, their President, recently stepped up to co-chair the 2020-2021 Lenawee Cares campaign.
The 2020 Incito Award recipient is Sara Herriman. The Incito Award was established in 2011 to recognize a young person, age 40 or under, who has emerged as a community leader and demonstrates commitment to volunteerism, philanthropy, and leadership with Lenawee Cares and other organizations in our community. Herriman’s involvement with Lenawee Cares has included co-chairing Tomorrow’s Pillars in its inaugural year of 2016 and remaining involved; co-chairing the 2017 Lenawee Cares campaign; and being a Pillars Club donor. She volunteers with Adrian Kiwanis, Kappa Kappa Epsilon, and Croswell Opera House, and previously served on the Boys & Girls Club Board prior to accepting a fund development position there.
The Lenawee Community Foundation works 24/7, 365 days a year, through its programs, as well as services for which it provides funding. Foundation programs include Lenawee YOUTH Council, Lenawee Imagination Library, Hunters Helping Lenawee, VOLUNTEER! Lenawee, the Community Resource Guide, and more. Grants of $2.4 million last year provided assistance for abused children, food for people in need, shelter from domestic violence, school supplies, eviction mediation, preschool education, and much more.
The Lenawee Community Foundation works to assist people in creating legacies and investing in Lenawee. You can donate $30 to send Imagination Library books to a preschool child for a year; volunteer; leave 10% in your will or trust to benefit Lenawee; endow annual gifts to your favorite nonprofits; or make gifts or bequests for your home town. Contact the Foundation for help in creating your legacy.
Additional information about the Lenawee Community Foundation or any of its programs or services can be obtained by calling (517) 423-1729.
Gifts and legacies work for Lenawee County ‘for good, for ever’.