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, Former Mayor, Grandville

Jim has served as a municipal official with the City of Grandville since 1971. He served as a councilmember from 1971 to 1984, and as mayor from 1984 to 2013. Jim served as chairman of the MML Workers' Compensation Fund, on the MML Board of Trustees, as MML vice president (1993-1994), and on the Michigan Association of Mayors board. He was awarded an MML Honorary Life Membership in 1998, the Jim Sinclair Exceptional Service Award in 2012, and the Michael A. Guido Leadership and Public Service Award in 2013.

Vice Chair - Patricia Lockwood, Mayor Pro Tem, Fenton

Pat currently serves as mayor pro tem for the City of Fenton. Previously, she served as mayor of Fenton for 11 years, followed by State Representative for the 51st District. She served on the MML Board of Trustees and also as MML president (1994-1995). She was a National League of Cities board member, 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 to 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 commission advisor for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Treasurer - Myron Frasier, Council Member, Southfield

Myron 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 Trustees and also as MML vice president (2002-2003). 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, Commissioner, Battle Creek

Susan is currently serving as city commissioner for the City of Battle Creek where she was previously serving as mayor. She is on the Battle Creek Unlimited Board, Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Board, Planning Commission, and Public Transportation Committee. Susan 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 previously served as president of the Michigan Women in Municipal Government, on the board of the Michigan Association of Mayors, and on the MML’s Legislative Governance and Transportation Infrastructure Committees. A retired attorney, Susan 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.

John Barr, City Attorney, Ypsilanti

John 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.

John is active in State 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 MML Legal Defense Fund. He is a recipient of the MML’s Special Award of Merit, 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.

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

Robert Collier, President/CEO, Council of Michigan Foundations

Robert serves as president and CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF), a 43-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’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 over 30 years, past member and chair of the Transportation and Environmental Affairs Committee, and has spoken at MML conferences on several occasions. Bill is a graduate of Michigan State University and has served on the MML Foundation Board since 2004.

Deborah L. Doyle, Mayor, Durand

Deb is currently serving as mayor for the City of Durand.  The MML past president and former Elected Officials Academy board member has been an active member of various League committees, on the Michigan Association of Mayors board, and has graduated all four 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 has served as mayor for the City of Huntington Woods since 1981. He served on the Zoning Board of Appeals from 1972 to 1977. He was elected to the city commission in November 1977 and served until January 1981 when he was appointed mayor to fill a vacancy.

Carla Gribbs, Regional Manager, DTE Energy

Carla is a regional manager for DTE Energy (the parent company of Detroit Edison and MichCon). She is responsible for local government and community relations, and 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 nonprofit organizations including on the board of Leadership Oakland, the Eight Mile Boulevard Association, and the Rochester Community Schools Foundation.

Michele 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.

Michele holds a bachelor’s 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, Chair, The Rapid

Barbara serves as chairwoman of the board of directors of The Rapid, a regional (six city) transportation system in Western Michigan. She previously served as city commissioner and then as mayor for the City of Walker. She recently received her Level 4, Ambassador Award, from the MML’s Elected Officials Academy.

Deborah L. Leich, Director of Institutional Markets, Victory Capital

Debbie manages relationships for institutional clients that are invested in Victory Capital’s investment strategies. With over 15 years of experience in working with many of Victory’s largest and most complex institutional relationships, Debbie specializes in timely client communication and reporting. Previous responsibilities include developing and maintaining client relationships for Victory Capital’s retail services area. Prior to joining Victory 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.

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

Jenee 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, Jenee 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, Michigan Municipal League Foundation.

Samantha joined the MML 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 MML, 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.