50 years, 50 stories: Celebrating 50 years of good.

Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
Reflections on the Early Years 

In the early 1960’s, the Board of the United Fund (now the United Way of Washtenaw County) explored the possibility of establishing a community trust – a permanent endowment that could provide a flexible source of funding to address community needs, even as they change. Those efforts led to incorporating the Ann Arbor Area Foundation in 1963. 

Robert Kerschbaum, the United Fund’s Executive Director at the time, became the Foundation’s first Executive Director, volunteering his time to lead the new organization. He has shared vivid recollections of those early years, noting in 2003, "From the start, the founders believed that the Community Foundation should be an independent funding source focused on our community‘s needs, with the flexibility to fund new projects, organizations and initiatives. Those first years were a busy and exciting time as we watched our assets grow and educated people about the power of endowment."

Bob Kerschbaum always believed that continued cooperation between the Community Foundation and the United Way would benefit the entire community. His early hopes have been realized. Today, through the Coordinated Funding initiative, AAACF and the United Way work closely with other local funders to support local health & human service agencies. 

Since 1963, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation has grown significantly. AAACF now manages nearly $76 million in total assets that include over 475 charitable funds. More than $33 million in grants and scholarships have changed thousands of lives. And AAACF grants have helped seed many local organizations and programs that are now a valued part of our community’s landscape – from helping to launch the Neutral Zone to helping Food Gatherers grow to become a major convener of hunger relief services in Washtenaw County.

One of the many ways the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
supports all that is good in our community.


Read more "good" stories at: aaacf.org/stories
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