One Hundred New Philanthropists: Jan Lunquist and Michael May

Jan Lunquist and Michael May are thoughtful donors and strong advocates for a variety of progressive causes. Their first gift to Grand Rapids Community Foundation was for the AIDS Fund in 1994, and their giving to the Fund for Community Good continues still. “Both of us are enriched when we are part of a movement that makes the invisible visible and gives voice to the disenfranchised. Our engagement over the past 40 years with supporting women’s health and abortion rights, sex education, LGBTQ inclusion and racial equity has challenged our biases, increased our insight and understanding and brought special, special friends into our lives,” they said.

What do you get from giving?
The most important giving for them is not just about the money, but about standing tall for what they believe is right and just.

“I keep the following quote attributed to William Butler Yeats in my home office: ‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.’  I give to organizations that use evidence-based education to move people toward acting in respectful, kind and just ways. I am particularly drawn to organizations that not only ask for the opinions of young people, but also embrace and implement their ideas. We make most of our giving decisions independently, but we agreed that our Grand Rapids Community Foundation donation is number one for both of us,” Jan said.

“The nonprofits that matter the most are those who support our local community and stimulate improvements for those in need. The Community Foundation has a long and amazing history of putting their money into the greatest identifiable community need. Jan and I know and understand that the Community Foundation follows our own philosophies about need with the overriding virtue of celebrating diversity. It doesn’t get better than that,” Michael said.

Why do you support Grand Rapids Community Foundation?

“Grand Rapids Community Foundation has consistently and persistently demonstrated the high quality leadership that results in impact. It charts a clear course, sets and implements strong standards and uses reliable data to prioritize community needs. It provides the conditions and support not only for their projects to succeed, but also for nonprofit staff, partners and collaborators to flourish. We are particularly interested in how the Community Foundation continues to find ways to hold our community accountable for acting inclusively,” they said.