Lenawee Community Foundation is celebrating 25 years!

Lenawee Community Foundation logo

The Lenawee Community Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary of serving the needs of Lenawee County.  The Lenawee Community Foundation was organized in the 1950s as the Tecumseh Community Fund Foundation.  In the earlier days, this Foundation operated as an annual fundraiser, distributing the funds raised each year.  In 1997 the Foundation changed its focus to become a true foundation, utilizing the permanent endowment concept. 

The Lenawee Community Foundation (LCF) works for the future, like a community savings account – permanently investing donations and utilizing the earnings to address community needs.  Together with the generosity of our donors we focus on the community’s health, happiness, and hope to direct our efforts where we can have the most positive impact.

Throughout 2022, we have been looking at where we started, what we have achieved, and our plans for the future.  At year-end 1997 the Foundation had total assets of $19,532 and 25 years later we watched them accumulate to $ 36 million. 

Local leaders: banker Merlyn Downing, attorney Charles Gross, and David S. Hickman founded the new community foundation and purposely stressed stability as they created community trust.  Merlyn Downing served as the first executive director on a volunteer basis, followed by long-time President & CEO Sue Hammersmith, and now current President & CEO Joe Williams.  President Williams looks forward to continuing the strong traditions that have made the Lenawee Community Foundation great and the ability to chart new directions for our evolving community.

We are grateful to our Board of Directors, our audit, development, governance, and investment committees, and thousands of our donors, who believe in our work and partner with us to serve Lenawee County.

In September we will celebrate 25 years of donors, volunteers, community members, past award recipients, and all of you who may have shared their money, assets, skills, or time to build a better community and who truly are the backbone of the Lenawee Community Foundation. 

Would you like to join in the celebration of the Foundation’s 25th Anniversary milestone?  If so, don’t miss our annual meeting breakfast on September 22 from 7:45-9:15 a.m. at Adrian Armory Events Center.  The $20 cost includes breakfast. Reservations and payment are due by September 9, by contacting the Foundation at 517.263.4696.

Thank you for helping to celebrate our 25th anniversary and working with us to build a better today and tomorrow for Lenawee County. 

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 hometown. Contact the Foundation for help in creating your legacy. Gifts and legacies work for Lenawee County. Now and forever.

Additional information about the Lenawee Community Foundation or any of its programs or services can be obtained by calling 517.263.4696.


Cynthia Heady is the Director of Development & External Engagement of the Lenawee Community Foundation. Your Community Foundation assists individuals, corporations, and organizations in fulfilling their charitable goals for our community. For information on how to get involved with the Lenawee Community Foundation and help to build a better community, call 517.263.4696 or contact cynthia@lenaweecf.com. We look forward to collaborating with you.