Celebrating Rená Guttrich

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Rená Guttrich is joyfully retiring after 23 years of service as executive assistant at Grand Rapids Community Foundation.

Since joining Grand Rapids Community Foundation in 1999, Rená has provided support for the president, Board of Trustees and multiple departments. What she treasures most from her time at the Community Foundation is the relationships she’s developed – with staff, leaders in the community, local organizations and more. And those ties will not go away. In retirement, which begins July 1, 2022, Rená plans to continue her volunteer work, in particular working with West Michigan Therapy Dogs and her furry friend Gus. She will spend time with family and friends (and mentioned that you will see her as a guest for future Community Foundation events!).

Rená’s adept skills in managing the executive department – from being the Board liaison, to walking the organization through the process of national standard certifications, to serving on various internal committees – have made the Community Foundation run smoothly for over two decades. It is her warmth and light that is most striking to her friends and colleagues, however. “We will miss her smile, positive attitude and fun spirit,” says Diana Sieger, president. “Rená is remarkable and will be sorely missed.”

Rená sees a need and does what she can to help fill it. During the time of the U.S. invasion and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rená’s son was deployed as an Army medic. She responded by leading a local group for several years which would decorate pillows and send items to deployed service personnel. You might have seen her on TV as she was the local spokesperson for the group! What started as a way to support local families and support her son, grew to have major impact.

This compassion was not surprising to those close to her, knowing that Rená loves to make those around her feel good. “When I think of Rená, I can’t help but picture happy dogs and warm cinnamon rolls because she is the ultimate dog whisperer and makes the most amazing cinnamon rolls but both are her way of making people feel special and loved,” says colleague and friend Ann Puckett, director of IT. Rená’s black lab Max was an unofficial staff member at the Community Foundation, serving dutifully as chief moral officer, during his lifetime. You might have seen his picture on the website if you were looking closely!

As we celebrate the incredible impact Rená has had on the Community Foundation and the community members who have interacted with her over the years, we are filled with gratitude. When asked what advice Rená has for current and future staff, she remains steadfast in her desire to uplift and empower others: get involved and use your voice. Congratulations, Rená and the very best of wishes as you start a new journey of rest and recreation.