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Fund Created to Honor Retiring Local Leader

As Marsha Smith began to approach her retirement date from Rotary Charities, where she’s served as Executive Director for more than 20 years, she asked that people consider marking her retirement not with gifts for her, but rather for the community.

The Community Foundation established the Marsha J. Smith Community Leadership Fund to create just that opportunity.

“In initiating the creation of this fund, Marsha is demonstrating what we’ve come to expect from her – asking that we honor her by making our community stronger,” said David Mengebier, Community Foundation president and CEO.

Grants will be awarded to support individuals of all ages and in all types of positions from across our five-county area in leadership development. Funds will enable leaders to attend conferences, seminars, classes, and other educational opportunities where they can acquire the skills needed to lead the charge in building healthy, fair, and prosperous communities in our region.

The Fund is supported by contributions from individuals, organizations, and companies who wish to honor the legacy of leadership that Marsha leaves behind. To date, more than $15,000 has been committed to the Community Foundation for the fund, including from the Rotary Charities Board.

“Marsha’s leadership in our community has inspired so many people, and her wish upon retiring was to develop a special fund supporting leadership development,” said Elaine Wood, Rotary Charities board chair. “The Rotary Charities Board has recognized over the years that great leadership has been the primary factor in all successful community endeavors. We are honored to team up with Marsha to build this fund at the Community Foundation, building leadership skills for years to come.” 

Donations to the Marsha J. Smith Community Leadership Fund can be made on the Community Foundation Website (www.gtrcf.org/give/) or by mailing a check to: Community Foundation, 250 E. Front Street, Ste. 310, Traverse City, MI 49684. Make your check payable to the Community Foundation with the Marsha J. Smith Community Leadership Fund noted in the memo line.


More about Marsha:

A community leader for 45 years, Marsha Smith’s efforts for resilience and goodwill have made a deep impact on the Grand Traverse region. She served as the second Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. Marsha helped shape the vision and values in the early years of the Community Foundation, which have had lasting influence on the foundation's broad community impact. During 22 years at the helm of Rotary Charities and Rotary Camps & Services, Marsha facilitated cross-sector partnerships toward shared prosperity, among them our region's ambitious "Grand Vision".


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