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Fischer receives leadership award

By Truly Render

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan announced that Kenneth C. Fischer (photo left), president of the University Musical Society (UMS) of the University of Michigan, has been awarded the 2012 Mariam C. Noland Award for Nonprofit Leadership.

Named after the Community Foundation’s first and current president, this second annual award recognizes a nonprofit president or CEO in southeast Michigan whose service exemplifies the importance of nonprofit leadership, not only to his or her organization, but also to the wider nonprofit community.

“We are pleased to have established this award to recognize people in the nonprofit sector in southeast Michigan, like Ken Fischer, who are doing extraordinary things in our region and having an impact far beyond their own organizations,” said Community Foundation Chair Allan D. Gilmour.

Under Fisher’s leadership, UMS has greatly expanded and diversified its arts presentation and education programs and audiences.  In addition to deepening the organization’s engagement with area colleges and universities, UMS has created relationships with leading corporations, arts organizations, area public and private schools and community organizations.  Fischer has helped bring national and international attention to UMS and southeast Michigan through programs such as three residencies with the Royal Shakespeare Company that drew visitors from 39 states and five countries, and a concert with Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic during Bernstein’s 70th birthday tour.

Fischer exemplary leadership includes service on the boards of many regional, national and international nonprofit organizations, including the International Society for the Performing Arts, Chamber Music America, the Cultural Alliance for Southeast Michigan and Ann Arbor SPARK. He is esteemed for his mentorship of young professionals and has served as cultural ambassador to Brazil, China, Lithuania and Mexico through the U.S. State Department.

As recipient of the Mariam C. Noland Nonprofit Leadership Award, UMS will receive a grant of $10,000 from the Community Foundation with the preference that the funds be used for Fischer to continue his professional education, take a personal sabbatical for career renewal or engage in philanthropic leadership activities.

The Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan established this award in 2010 to recognize Mariam C. Noland on her 25th anniversary as president of the Community Foundation.  While Noland’s accomplishments to date as president are many and noteworthy, the Board acknowledged her leadership in the broader philanthropic community and the many other charitable causes and entities that she has supported, nurtured and counseled. Last year’s inaugural recipient was Midtown Detroit Inc. President Susan Mosey.

Under Noland’s leadership, the Community Foundation has granted more than $530 million through nearly 42,000 grants.  Assets have grown to more than $565 million and the Foundation now holds endowments for more than 170 organizations and more than 900 funds from individuals and businesses across the country. The organization is now one of the 20 largest community foundations in the nation.

NOTE: The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development and civic affairs.  Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $530 million through nearly 42,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties.  For more information, please visit

Truly Render is press and marketing coordinator for UMS.