Published in Nonprofits

Steelcase Foundation president announces retirement, organization seeks new leader

BY MIBIZ STAFF Tuesday, September 08, 2020 01:44pm

The Steelcase Foundation is launching a search for a new president after president Julie Ridenour announced plans to retire at the end of the year.

The foundation — which is independent of Steelcase Inc. and was established in 1951 to support charitable, scientific, literary and educational causes in the community — announced Ridenour would conclude her tenure as president effective Dec. 31. She has held the position since 2012.


“It’s been a lifelong dream fulfilled to have had the opportunity at the Steelcase Foundation, and the support of foundation trustees, to work to better the lives of children and their families, both in the classroom and out,” Ridenour said in a statement. “I have been fortunate to be able to bring learnings from Steelcase Inc. to the nonprofit world to help broaden understanding and widen opportunities for all.”

Now, Steelcase Foundation will lean on Chicago-based executive recruiting firm Kittleman & Associates to find a new leader. The firm specializes in recruiting CEOs for nonprofit organizations, public charities and philanthropic organizations.

Ridenour was previously a reporter for the Grand Rapids Press and vice president for advancement at Aquinas College. She has also served as development director for the John Ball Zoo and has held various roles in the banking and investment industry.

In its announcement, Steelcase Foundation called Ridenour the driving force in creating collaborations with local businesses, educators and philanthropy with a focus on improving literacy and educational outcomes for children throughout Michigan.

Last year, the foundation awarded $4.7 million to programs designed to address societal inequities and change lives.

“Julie has a unique skill for bringing people together to best address wicked problems and big issues,” Kate Pew Wolters, chair of the Steelcase Foundation, said in a statement. “She has demonstrated a relentless dedication to making West Michigan a place where all residents — and specifically all children — can thrive.”

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