Faye Nelson Named 2019 Leader of the Year


ANN ARBOR, MI, January 24, 2019 – The Joyce Ivy Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the academic advancement of talented female high school students from the Midwest, today announced that Faye Nelson, Michigan Director of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will serve as the 2019 Joyce Ivy Foundation Leader of the Year.

The Joyce Ivy Foundation is the leading provider of summer academic scholarships for high-achieving, low-income female high school students from the Midwest. Selected Scholars participate in summer programs at Joyce Ivy partner institutions, including some of the nation’s most rigorous colleges and universities: Harvard, Stanford, Brown, Yale, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Emory, Cornell, Barnard, Smith, and Washington University in St Louis. The Foundation also holds an annual fall college admissions workshop and spring college admissions symposium, which provide critical information to over 500 high school students, families, counselors, community-based organization leaders, and educators throughout the Midwest.

Each year, the Joyce Ivy Foundation names a Leader of the Year who has achieved notable success in her professional and educational careers. The Leader of the Year embodies a relentless pursuit of her own educational and professional goals and serves as a powerful example of female empowerment and leadership for the Scholars. The Leader of the Year is celebrated together with the group of selected Summer Scholars at the Joyce Ivy Foundation’s annual spring Gala.

“We are delighted to name Faye Nelson as our 2019 Leader of the Year,” said Mike Pritula, Chair of the Joyce Ivy Foundation Board and a member of its Leader of the Year Selection Committee. “Ms. Nelson’s educational and professional path is varied and interesting, embodying the exact type of risk-taking that we hope to share with our Summer Scholars. Through her work in Detroit and throughout all of Michigan, Faye has lifted others up and made a lasting impact in her community. Her achievements are remarkable and she will be an inspiring leader for our Scholars to hear from.”

Faye Nelson currently serves as the Michigan Director of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In this role, she oversees the foundation’s investments in Michigan and leads its statewide grantmaking priorities, with a specific emphasis on creating opportunities for children to thrive in equitable communities. Most recently, Ms. Nelson served as the 2017-2018 Sojourner Truth Fellow at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, using her ten-year tenure as inaugural president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy to analyze the impact of placemaking and public space development in urban communities like Detroit. Under Ms. Nelson’s leadership, the abandoned industrial Detroit waterfront transformed into a vibrant public space with over 3.5 miles of parks and plazas.

After her tenure with the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Ms. Nelson was vice president of DTE Energy, and president and board chair of the DTE Energy Foundation. She co-led the restructuring of the foundation and oversaw its annual grantmaking.

“I am honored to be named the Joyce Ivy Foundation’s 2019 Leader of the Year,” said Faye Nelson. “Providing equitable access to opportunity for young people is more essential today than ever before. Joyce Ivy’s mission of breaking down financial and academic barriers for talented youth to thrive and become our leaders of tomorrow personally resonates with me, and I am delighted to help launch the 2019 Summer Scholars.”

Ms. Nelson has extensive board service experience and is currently on the board of several Detroit-area organizations, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Henry Ford Health System and Health Network.
Her impact is far-reaching and has been recognized with a variety of awards: Crain’s Detroit Business 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan Award, the Walsh College Jeffery Barry Education Excellence & Communication Service Award, the Damon J. Keith 24th Annual Soul And Spirit Humanitarian Award, the Grio’s 100 African American History Makers presented by NBC News, and the Milliken Distinguished Service Award from the Michigan Environmental Council.

Ms. Nelson is a graduate of Mercy College of Detroit and the University of Detroit School of Law with degrees in political science and law. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and a life member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference.

Ms. Nelson will be honored at the 14th Annual Joyce Ivy Foundation Summer Scholars Gala Dinner, to be held at the Marriott Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on May 18, and will address the 2019 group of Summer Scholars as they prepare for their summer program participation.

Past recipients of the Joyce Ivy Foundation Leader of the Year Award include: Dr. Janet Reid, Chief Executive Officer of BRBS World (2018); Jocelyn Benson, Chief Executive Officer of Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) (2017); Susan L. Blount, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Prudential (retired) (2016); Valerie J. M. Brader, Executive Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy (2015); Lisa A. Payne, Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Taubman Centers, Inc. (2014); Lucy Clark Dougherty, Vice President and General Counsel of General Motors North America (2013); Deanna Mulligan, CEO of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (2012); Kim Schatzel, Dean of the University of Michigan – Dearborn College of Business (2011); and Anne Hiller, Vice President of Marketing, The 41st Parameter (2010).