Holland Foundation Selects New Leader

October 21, 2005
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HOLLAND — As the executive director of Good Samaritan Ministries, Janet DeYoung has gotten to know many people in Holland and Zeeland, an asset that will help her as she steps into the lead role at the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area.

“The community really knows her and she knows the community,” said William Vanderbilt, who will be leaving the executive director position in January. “I think she can step in here and keep the foundation moving forward. We have a lot of confidence in her ability.”

DeYoung, speaking from the Good Samaritan offices where she is working to tie up loose ends, said she has enjoyed her time with Good Samaritan Ministry, and now is excited about the possibilities at the foundation.

“I’ve had a wonderful 13 years here and thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve been privileged to be a part of here,” she said. “There are wonderful opportunities to serve the foundation now at this point in their history.”

The community foundation will allow her to continue in human services work, but on a broader level than she has in the past.

“It will allow me to build on many of the relationships and contacts that I have made in this community for the last 20 years,” she said.

After spending time on a Winnebago Indian Reservation in Nebraska and growing up with a family that embraced diversity, DeYoung said she is open to other people’s ideas and to working as a team. She said she would like to work with the employees on whatever the next steps may be for the organization.

“I don’t think I’m coming in with any agenda,” she said.

DeYoung earned her undergraduate degree at Hope College, where she met her husband, Roger, and her master’s degree at University of Nebraska in Omaha.

She has taken part in Leadership Holland and is now participating in Leadership West Michigan. DeYoung is a member of the Holland Rotary Club, the Ottawa County Humane Services Coordinating Council and has worked with the West Michigan Strategic Alliance.

“I am just totally committed to cross-sector, community-based solutions to issues,” she said.

Vanderbilt said the foundation works with many different sectors of the community, with the intention of improving the quality of life.

“We do that through raising money and raising support for different things, and investing it wisely and giving it out — being good stewards of our resources,” he said. “A community foundation is a very broad organization within the community.”

The foundation has $23 million in endowments, which Vanderbilt said he hopes will be up to $25 million by the end of the year. Since 1993 the organization has grown from two named funds to more than 300 named funds.

“We’re really very conscious of what the greatest needs in the community are,” he said.

Vanderbilt said he is confident in DeYoung’s ability to continue to carry on the work of the foundation.

“Janet knows that she will continue to raise funds and be a leader in the community,” he said. “I think that she’ll do an excellent job with that.”    

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