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W.K. Kellogg Foundation names Faye Alexander Nelson as director of Michigan programs

Mary Cohen

BATTLE CREEK, MI – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) is pleased to announce the selection of Faye Alexander Nelson as its new director of Michigan programs, effective August 6, 2018.

In this role, Nelson will be providing leadership and oversight of the foundation’s investments in Michigan to create conditions that ensure children have opportunities to thrive in equitable communities. Nelson, who will be based in WKKF’s Detroit office, will lead the foundation’s statewide grantmaking priorities, in collaboration and partnership with grantees, communities, and other stakeholders throughout the region.

“Faye’s leadership and deep knowledge of crafting community partnerships will only strengthen our work on behalf of children in Michigan,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, WKKF president and CEO. “Her extensive experience with nonprofits, corporations and high-level redevelopment projects will further the bold efforts already underway in Battle Creek, Detroit, and Grand Rapids.“

Most recently, Nelson served as the 2017-2018 Sojourner Truth Fellow at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Using the transformation of the Detroit riverfront as a case study, Nelson and graduate students – from both Taubman College and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy – examined, over the course of thirteen weeks, the catalytic impact of placemaking and public space development in urban communities like Detroit. 

Previously, Nelson was vice president of DTE Energy, and president and board chair of the DTE Energy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the company.  During her tenure, Nelson co-led the restructuring of the foundation and oversaw its annual grantmaking to over 400 nonprofits throughout the state of Michigan.  

Prior to her role at DTE Energy, Nelson served as the inaugural president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and led the restoration of the Detroit riverfront. During Nelson’s ten-year tenure, she oversaw the public-private partnership transformation of the abandoned industrial waterfront into a vibrant public space of more than 3.5 miles of parks, plazas, pavilions, and pathways. To date, the riverfront receives more than three million annual visitors and has generated more than $1 billion in public and private investment.

Nelson is actively involved in her community and has more than 20 years of board service experience – 14 of which were with Compuware Corporation. Currently, she serves on the board of several Detroit area organizations, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Henry Ford Health System and Health Network.

Nelson is the recipient of numerous awards, including Crain’s Detroit Business 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan Award in 2016, the Walsh College Jeffery Barry Education Excellence & Community Service Award, the Damon J. Keith 24th Annual Soul and Spirit Humanitarian Award, the Grio’s 100 African American History Makers presented by NBC News, and the Milliken Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Environmental Council.

Nelson earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Mercy College of Detroit and a law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and a life member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference.


About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

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