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Carol Hofgartner

As the founder and executive director of Art Road Nonprofit, Carol Hofgartner is inspired by art and sees how artistic creativity feeds so many careers. That’s why her goal is to have art class brought back to every school classroom in Detroit. 

Jason Lee

Jason Lee, Executive Director of the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP), believes that if children have a solid education rooted in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and are prepared to pursue a career as an engineer, they can do anything. A recent survey of program participants showed that 90 percent of respondents graduated from high school.  

Jeannine Gant

After spending two decades in the nonprofit sector working in development and fundraising, Jeannine Gant wanted to become more directly involved in the ideas that make change. So, in 2010, she became executive director of Playworks, a national organization new to Detroit teaching the power of meaningful play.

Kristin Martinez

Kristin Martinez, environmental education manager for The Greening of Detroit, experiences a sense of awe when the environmental concepts she teaches in school classrooms click with students when they see them outdoors. She leads groups of urban kids into the wilds of Detroit’s largest city park through the Our LAND program, empowering them to be good stewards of their own neighborhoods and surroundings.  

Martha Gonzalez-Cortes

A west Michigan native from a farm worker household, Martha Gonzalez-Cortez now leads the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. She stands up for social justice issues and is finding effective ways for Hispanic youth to find school and life success. 

Kuhu Saha

A 2008 graduate of the University of Michigan, Kuhu Saha brings all the positivity, energy, and enthusiasm of youth to her job as executive director of Give Merit’s FATE program. Give Merit is the nonprofit arm of clothing company Merit Goodness and receives 20 percent of the brand’s revenues to fund and develop programs such as FATE.

Laurie Strauss Baumer

Marrying her passion for volunteerism and being the creator of your own opportunity, Ele’s Place President and CEO Laurie Strauss Baumer shares how her organization uses relationships as pavers in the road to success. 

Rick Huisman

Rick Huisman’s winding career path has taken him from professional baseball player with the Kansas City Royals to entrepreneurship with a family business to his current role as executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. He was first introduced to the organization through volunteer work during his time with the Royals.

Dara Munson

After working in the juvenile justice field and the United Way, Dara Munson became President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit in 2007. Munson is passionate about the mentoring organization that opens doors for Detroit youth and helps them to achieve greatness.

Travis Williams

Leader Travis Williams has worked for the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway since its 2000 inception and has been thoroughly involved with the nonprofit’s development. Williams uses experience in business development, nonprofit management, strategic planning and partnerships to drive the center’s growth and advancement.

Carrie Spencer

In sharing the natural world with children, Carrie Spencer, a naturalist at Seven Ponds Nature Center in Dryden, leads by example, letting the wonderment and peace she feels outdoors set the stage for students to learn about and become stewards for southeast Michigan’s natural resources.

Rhonda Buckley

After extensive education in music and business, more than a decade of teaching experience, and the eventual founding of a multidisciplinary arts center for inner-city youth in Washington, DC, Rhonda Buckley was lured back to Michigan when MSU asked her to serve as associate dean of the College of Music -- and develop a community music program in Detroit, her hometown. 

Aaron Dworkin

Aaron Dworkin is a 2005 MacArthur fellow, President Obama’s first appointee to the National Council on the Arts, and founder and president of the Sphinx Organization. He’s dedicated to providing young people of color in Detroit and Flint the opportunity to succeed in classical music, however they define that dream.

Kari Pardoe

Kari Pardoe believes that children can accomplish whatever they want and that drive, direction, and leadership can start with service learning. As director of The LEAGUE Michigan, a program for service, service learning, and philanthropy education, Pardoe sees amazing results with youth, who though they have little themselves, find ways to give to back. 

Anan Ameri

Anan Ameri is founding director of the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, but she doesn’t want the museum to be seen as only for and about Arab-Americans. It’s a point of pride that the museum has become a resource for multi-cultural programming, helping to overcome segregation in metro Detroit.
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