The Michigan Municipal League Foundation is supported by a strategic and passionate board of directors who understand the importance of community investment. This board, a mixture of community leaders and community partners, provides leadership to the Foundation in its goal of creating vibrant communities.


Chair - James Buck, Mayor, Grandville

James Buck has served as a municipal official with the City of Grandville since 1971. He served as a councilmember from 1971-1984, and as Mayor from 1984 to present. James is a past chairman of the MML Workers' Compensation Fund, and former MML board member. He also served on the Michigan Association of Mayors board for four years and was awarded an MML Honorary Life Membership in 1998.

Vice Chair - Patricia Lockwood, Councilmember, Fenton

Pat Lockwood currently serves as a councilmember for the City of Fenton.  Previously, she served as Mayor of Fenton for 11 years, followed by State Representative for the 51st District.  She completed a three-year term on the League’s Board of Trustees in 1992 and served as President of the League from 1994-1995. She was a Board member of the National League of Cities, Past President of Michigan Women in Municipal Government and Former President of Genesee County Cities/Villages Association. She is currently serving on the Board of Keep Michigan Beautiful and the Fenton Community Foundation and was awarded an MML Honorary Life Membership in 1999. From 2004-2010 she was appointed by then Governor Granholm to the position of Policy Director for the Emerald Ash Borer Program and she  served as the Michigan Department of Transportation's Commission Advisor.

Treasurer - Myron Frasier, Council Member, Southfield

Myron Frasier was appointed to the Southfield city council in 1992 and 1996, then was elected in 1997. In 1994 he was appointed to the City of Southfield planning commission. He has served on the MML Board of Directors and ended his term as Vice President in 2003. Myron was also involved with the National League of Cities FAIR Steering Committee. He is highly involved with his community and participates in the Karmanos Cancer Institute, AARP, Common Ground Sanctuary, Goodfellows, Mitcham AME Church and others.

Susan Baldwin, Mayor, Battle Creek

Susan Baldwin is serving her fifth term as a city commissioner and third year as mayor. She is on the Battle Creek Unlimited Board, Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Board, Planning Commission and Public Transportation Committee. Baldwin chaired the Police and Fire Retiree Health Benefit Study Committee to address the issue of rapidly rising retiree health care costs. Prior to elected office, she served on the Community Development Block Grant committee and the Local Officers’ Compensation Committee. She is a Level III Elected Officials Academy graduate. She is currently serving as president of the Michigan Women in Municipal Government, on the board of the Michigan Association of Mayors, and on the League’s Legislative Governance and Transportation Infrastructure Committees. A retired attorney, Baldwin practiced for 14 years in corporate health care and managed care programs, and then served nine years as executive director of the Economic Development Forum for Calhoun County. Her term expires in 2015.

John Barr, City Attorney, Ypsilanti

John M. Barr has served as Ypsilanti City Attorney since 1981. He also represents a number of other municipal clients. He is the senior attorney of the law firm Barr, Anhut & Associates, P.C. and is a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan Law School.

Mr. Barr is active in Bar activities and is a past commissioner on the State Bar Board of Commissioners. He is a past president of the Washtenaw County Bar Association, the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (life member) and the Michigan Municipal League Legal Defense Fund. He is a recipient of the Special Award of Merit of the Michigan Municipal League and The Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys Distinguished Municipal Attorney Award and the William L. Steude Ethics and Civility in Local Government Award. In 2012, he was honored with the State Bar of Michigan Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award. He is a Fellow of both the State Bar of Michigan and the American Bar Association.

Mr. Barr is a frequent lecturer on legal matters. He taught business law at Eastern Michigan University, and has presented for the Michigan Municipal Clerks Association, the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and the Michigan Municipal League.

Robert Collier, President/CEO, Council of Michigan Foundations

Robert S. Collier serves as President and CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF), a 31 year-old nonprofit association with more than 400 independent, family, community and corporate foundations and corporate giving programs.

Rob serves on numerous boards, commissions and taskforces including the Michigan Nonprofit Association, Michigan Community Service Commission, Michigan Association of United Ways and the International Network for Strategic Philanthropy. His career in philanthropy includes service as a Program Officer with the C.S. Mott Foundation, Grants Director for the Gannett Foundation, Executive Director of Rotary Charities of Traverse City and founding Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation.

William Costick, Director of Community Relations, OHM Advisors

Bill Costick’s career in city management began as assistant to East Lansing’s city manager in 1966, followed by nine years as city manager in Flushing, two years deputy manager in Troy and 16 years with the City of Farmington Hills. In 1991 Bill served as President of the Michigan City Managers Association. He is a life member of ICMA.

Bill has been active with the MML for 30 years, past member and chair of the Transportation and Environmental Affairs Committee and has spoken at League conferences on several occasions. Bill is a graduate of MSU and has served on the MML Foundation Board since 2004.

Deborah L. Doyle, Mayor, Durand

Deb Doyle, League past president and former Elected Officials Academy board member, is currently serving as mayor for the city of Durand. Deb has been an active member of various League committees, on the Michigan Association of Mayors board, and has graduated all three levels of the EOA program. In 2009, she established the Tim Doyle Scholarship fund in loving memory of her husband, and fellow councilmember, Tim Doyle. With the scholarship, 23 elected officials have been able to attend the Elected Officials Academy Core Weekender at no cost. Deb was awarded an MML Honorary Life Membership in 2012.

Ronald F. Gillham, Mayor, Huntington Woods

Ron Gillham has served the residents of Huntington Woods continuously since 1972. He served on the Zoning Board of Appeals from 1972 thru 1977. He was elected to the City Commission in Nov, 1977 and served until Jan., 1981 when he was appointed Mayor to fill a vacancy. He has served in that position to the present time.

Carla Gribbs, Regional Manager, DTE Energy

Carla Gribbs is a regional manager for DTE Energy, (the parent company of Detroit Edison and MichCon) is responsible for local government and community relations, and has has worked with DTE Energy for over 23 years. Carla has a degree in public administration from Michigan State University and a master of business administration from the University of Detroit Mercy.

She is active in many non-profit organizations including on the board of Leadership Oakland, the Eight Mile Boulevard Association and the Rochester Community Schools Foundation. She, along with her husband and 3 children, reside in the City of Rochester.

Michelle Hodges, President, Belle Isle Conservancy

Michele commenced her tenure as president of the Belle Isle Conservancy in January of 2013. Formed in the fall of 2011 through a merger of four existing nonprofits - Friends of Belle Isle, Belle Isle Botanical Society, Belle Isle Women's Committee and Friends of the Belle Isle Aquarium — the new Conservancy, in partnership with the City of Detroit, will bring more private and public resources to our beautiful island park. Prior to the Conservancy, Michele had been President of the Troy Chamber since 2001, a dynamic organization comprised by more than 700 of Troy’s top companies, and established in 1959. Its objectives were oriented toward economic development, entrepreneurship, globalization, and leadership. Most recently, Michele worked to advance the Troy Transit Center.

Prior to joining the Chamber, Michele held a variety of economic development positions with the Detroit Regional Chamber. She has served as director of the DDA and as a business development team member for the City of Southfield, and as director of economic development for the City of Eastpointe.

She holds a Bachelors Degree in Social Science (Urban Planning) from Michigan State University. She is a graduate of the Michigan Political Leadership Program, and the Institute for Organization Management, in addition to earning multiple training certificates. She sits on numerous boards and committees, is a member of the 2007 Crain’s Detroit Business 40 under 40 class, was identified as a Leader/Innovator by the Great Lakes IT Report, one of Michigan’s Most Influential Women by Inforum and Deloitte, and Michigan Chamber Professional of the Year by the MACP.

Barbara Holt, Mayor, Walker

Barbara Holt has served on the City of Walker's Commission since 1995 as City Commissioner and currently as Mayor. She serves as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of The Rapid, a regional (6 city) transportation system in Western Michigan. She just received her Level 4, Ambassador Award, from the Michigan Municipal League's Elected Officials Academy.

Deborah L. Leich, Senior Investment Manager, Munder Capital Management

Debbie manages relationships for institutional clients that are invested in Munder Capital’s investment strategies. With over 15 years of experience in working with many of Munder’s largest and most complex institutional relationships, Debbie specializes in timely client communication and reporting. Previous responsibilities include developing and maintaining client relationships for Munder Capital’s retail services area. Prior to joining Munder Capital in 1994, Debbie was an assistant portfolio manager at Acorn Asset Management where she was actively involved in overseeing several managed account programs. Debbie holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. in finance from Wayne State University.

Amos O’Neal, Mayor Pro Tem, Saginaw

Amos O’Neal serves as mayor pro tem on the city council of Saginaw. He is a Level III graduate of the Elected Officials Academy and has served on the Municipal Services Committee. O’Neal currently serves as the fundraising chair of the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. He has also served as a trustee on the MML Board, as a member of the Elected Officials Academy board, as chairman of MML Region IV, and as a member of the National League of Cities Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee. He is very involved in his community and served as the co-chair of the Cities of Promise task force, chairman of the Saginaw County HIV/AIDS task force, and as a board member on the Aging committee. O’Neal also co-founded Parishioners on Patrol, a faith-based anti-crime community group in Saginaw.

William Rustem, Director of Strategy, State of Michigan

William Rustem is the Director of Strategy for the State of Michigan. Previously, he was an owner of Public Sector Consultants (PSC) and was the firm’s president and chief executive officer. While at PSC, Mr. Rustem directed studies on the status of Michigan cities, wastewater treatment needs, recycling, and land. Before joining the firm, Mr. Rustem was Gov. William G. Milliken’s chief staff advisor on environmental matters and interim director of the Toxic Substances Control Commission. Following his service with the State of Michigan, Mr. Rustem became the first executive director of the Center for the Great Lakes in Chicago. He coordinated the petition drive and campaign in 1976 for the Michigan “bottle bill,” and the 1984 statewide campaign for the constitutional amendment creating a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Mr. Rustem holds special expertise in public policy relating to land use, urban development, and water policy. He is an adjunct professor in three colleges at Michigan State University, and has chaired or been the principal staff for statewide task forces on Department of Natural Resources organization, the MSU Museum, and wetland protection, as well as for the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council. He is also the program director for the People and Land Project, a grant-making program at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

Sam Singh, Michigan State Representative

Sam Singh is the State Representative for Michigan’s 69th House District. Before serving in the Legislature, Sam was the Senior Policy Consultant for the firm Public Policy Associates. He has been actively involved in politics in the City of East Lasing since the age of 24, where he served 10 years as a councilmember and one term as mayor. Sam also has extensive community experience having served on over twenty nonprofit boards throughout his career. He has served on the boards of such organizations as the National Council of Nonprofit Associations, Capital Region Community Foundation, Points of Light Foundation, Capital Area Transportation Authority, and Michigan Association of United Ways. Sam completed a self-funded sabbatical where he traveled to all seven continents and forty-six countries over a seventeen-month period.

Jenee L. Velasquez, Executive Director, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation

Jenee L. Velasquez began as the first Executive Director for The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation in October of 2005. She served as Chief Executive Officer of Midland County’s economic development corporation, Midland Tomorrow, beginning in 1999. For two years prior to that, she served as Midland Tomorrow’s Manager of Economic Development Services. She was Midland’s first Downtown Development Authority Coordinator and served in that capacity for five years.Prior to living in Midland, Mrs. Velasquez worked for the Manhattan, Kansas Convention and Visitors Bureau. She earned a B.S. in business administration from Kansas State University and her M.B.A. from Michigan State University.

Samantha Harkins, President, Better Communities Better Michigan Foundation.

She joined the League in February of 2008 as a Legislative Associate. In 2011, she was honored in the Inside Michigan Politics Lobbyist Survey by being ranked in the top 20 for Individual Lobbyist as well as ranked number 2 in the Individual Single Interest Lobbyist category. In late 2013, she was on Crain’s Detroit Business List of People in Politics to Watch in 2014.

Prior to the League, Samantha was director of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, and served as a member of the House Republican Policy Staff. She also worked as the executive assistant to the Mayor of Norfolk, Virginia before moving to Michigan. She has a B.A. and law degree from West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV.