Human Resources, Nonprofits, and Small Business & Startups

Sandra Frost Steensma counsels nonprofits

December 16, 2014
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Sandra Frost Steensma
Sandra Frost Steensma.

Editor’s note: Each issue of the Influential Women enewsletter will feature profiles of the Business Journal’s reigning 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan. The profile first appeared in the event program.

Sandra Frost Steensma is president and founder of Parrish Consulting, a nonprofit consulting business specializing in annual fundraising, capacity building and endowment fundraising.

Nonprofit background

She brings more than 20 years of experience to the consulting table, having worked at another regional firm for eight years before founding Parrish Consulting in Grand Rapids.

Previously, she served as statewide corporate director of development for Hospice of Michigan and executive director of its Grand Rapids office.

In 2008, Steensma was named a member of the prestigious Kellogg Foundation College of Consultants.

Firm growth

Of all the nonprofit consulting and fundraising she has done, however, Steensma points to the transition of Parrish Consulting from sole practitioner to a full-service consulting firm as the best work of her professional career.

In doing so, she went from servicing 10 to 12 nonprofits a year to now reaching a broader base of 35 to 40 clients from southern Michigan to the Upper Peninsula, growing to a staff of six and an $850,000 annual budget.

In the community

In addition to her career, Steensma has played a role in local government over the last 20 years.

Her first appointment to the Cascade Township Planning Commission was in 1993, and she was a founder/founding board member of the Cascade Community Foundation.

This Februrary, she resigned her position on the Kent County Board of Commissioners. As the immediate past chair of the county commission, Steensma helped balance the budget, merge zoo operations with the John Ball Zoo Society and expand the Aeronautics Board.

She is currently the president of the Republican Women’s Forum.

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