An Update On Our Spenddown Progress

An Update On Our Spenddown Progress

Dear partners,

As you likely know, the Erb Family Foundation has decided to spend down over the next ten years and conclude our grantmaking by 2035. For many months now, we have been engaged in an intensive strategic planning process. We are just past the halfway point of our planning and wanted to reach out with an update on our progress.

A note of thanks

First, we would like to extend our deep gratitude to the Foundation’s staff and board for all their work. They have done a superb job navigating a moment of transition and uncertainty while also making sure that we make smart grants and work to fulfill our mission.

Second, we want to express our appreciation to the nearly 200 people who took part in interviews and focus groups to help us understand the impact the Foundation has had, how we can improve, and what opportunities await us in our final decade. Their honest and forthright feedback has helped us know ourselves better and generated exciting conversations about the potential for the spenddown.

We are pleased to share updates about two milestones in our strategic planning process. At its meeting in January, the Foundation’s board approved a new mission and vision statement to guide our work over the final ten years. It reflects where we have come from and plants a flag in the ground about what we will stand for until our doors close.

Our mission and vision will be:
The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation envisions a flourishing, healthy, and resilient Great Lakes ecosystem and a culturally vibrant, sustainable southeast Michigan. Toward this end, we strengthen the cultural and environmental organizations that share our vision to make this a reality for generations to come.

We have also created a set of values that will guide the Foundation’s work and the ways in which we will go about pursuing the mission and vision. These values are closely tied to the legacy of Fred and Barbara Erb, without whom the Foundation would not have come into existence.

Those values are:

  • Make a lasting, transformative difference
  • Embrace possibility
  • Work and learn in partnership
  • Pursue fairness and respect

What’s next?
As we turn to the next phase of strategic planning, we are busy refining our program areas and defining a set of priorities for those areas. We will have an update for you on that later this fall, and plan to share the details with you at an event where you can come and ask us questions. So stay tuned—and thank you for joining us on this journey!

John M. Erb
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Melissa L. Damaschke
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