Keynote address speaker Faye Alexander Nelson
Photo courtesy of Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
Across Southeast Michigan, nearly 250,000 kids – or 1 in every 5 children – are at risk of going hungry, according to Feeding America projections released in October 2020. With child food insecurity on the rise, some of Southeast Michigan’s most powerful and influential corporate, civic and nonprofit female leaders will unite virtually on May 4, 2021, from 7 to 9 a.m., during Gleaners Community Food Bank’s 2021 Women’s Power Breakfast in support of the organization’s work to end childhood hunger.
Gleaners founded the Women’s Power Breakfast in 1994 with the intention of bringing together powerful women from across Southeast Michigan in the spirit of philanthropy. The event – which has raised $3.55 million since its inception – provides the opportunity for hundreds of women from different industries to gather together to network, learn, and philanthropically support the Gleaners programs that are so crucial to the well-being of the children and families the organization supports.
“This year’s virtual breakfast may look a little different from our events in the past, but we remain committed to celebrating the power of women, the achievements that raise us up, and our dedication to the community,” said Stacy Averill, Gleaners’ vice president of community giving and public relations. “Philanthropic support is needed now more than ever as we navigate what has arguably been one of the most difficult chapters in our region’s history.”
Women’s Power Breakfast virtual attendees will learn about Gleaners’ impactful work in the community throughout the pandemic – including providing an average of more than 1 million meals per week to hungry individuals and families in Southeast Michigan – and have the opportunity to participate in interactive breakout and networking sessions. Breakout session topics include Healthcare; Education: How Food Security Supports Academic Success; Corporate Social Responsibility; Nutrition: Impact on Kids and Health; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Data Insights Driving Action in Philanthropy; Equity: Meeting the Need in the Community, and Securing Your Legacy: Estate Planning.
The event will also feature a keynote address by Faye Alexander Nelson, director of Michigan Programs for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), which was founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, and today is one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. In this role, Nelson oversees strategy, operations and grantmaking across the state of Michigan and includes offices in the priority funding locations of Battle Creek, Detroit and Grand Rapids. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
Nelson previously served as vice president of DTE Energy and president and board chair of the DTE Energy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the company. She was also the inaugural president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and led the restoration of the Detroit riverfront during her 10-year tenure. She oversaw the public-private partnership transformation of the abandoned industrial waterfront into a vibrant public space of more than 3.5 miles of parks, plazas, pavilions and pathways that welcomed more than three million visitors annually and generated over $1 billion of public and private investments. Nelson also currently serves on the board of several organizations, including the Michigan Women’s Commission, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and M-1 Rail.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on disparities in our society, including the challenges so many families face in trying to afford healthy food, rent, access to healthcare and other necessities. Because of the pandemic, an estimated 1.9 million people – 552,400 of which are children – are now food insecure in Michigan,” Nelson said. “At the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, children are at the heart of everything we do, and we know for them to thrive, their communities must be equitable places of opportunity. I am pleased for the opportunity to discuss this topic with leaders during the Gleaners Women’s Power Breakfast.”
Ticket and sponsorship information for the Women’s Power Breakfast is available at womenspowerbreakfast.org. A patron ticket is $125. Potential sponsors also can contact Angela Halverson at firstname.lastname@example.org. The program begins at 7 a.m., with breakout sessions and virtual table mingling interspersed between speaker presentations. The live stream concludes at 9 a.m.
PNC Bank is the Presenting Sponsor of the Women’s Power Breakfast; Champion Sponsors are Kroger and The Cleveland-Cliffs Foundation; Hero Sponsors are DTE Energy Foundation and Fifth Third Bank; and Advocate Sponsors are Bodman Law, Robert Bosch, Ascension Health, Schoolcraft College and Henry Ford Health System.
“PNC is proud to be a longtime partner with Gleaners, including serving as presenting sponsor of the Women’s Power Breakfast for eight consecutive years,” said Ric DeVore, PNC regional president for Detroit and Southeast Michigan. “Now more than ever, we need to support organizations such as Gleaners that are committed to ending the hunger crisis that continues to plague our communities.”
For more information, visit gcfb.org.