Dorothy A. Johnson

As CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations for 25 years, Dorothy Ahlburg Johnson created a national model for regional grant-making. Her work helped generate millions in charitable assets for Michigan communities. Attending the last class of the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration, she served on two Fortune 500 company boards.

At the invitation of Presidents Clinton and Bush, Johnson has advised the White House on volunteering and giving. When funding for AIDS services was considered “risky,” she initiated the Michigan AIDS Fund which became a national model.

Johnson was the first woman board chair of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and served for 32 years as a trustee, one of the largest private international foundations in the world. Privately, she coaches the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance working to break down racial barriers.

Johnson holds a lifetime achievement award from the Grand Rapids Economic Club and in 2000 received the highest award of her profession, Grantmaker of the Year, from the Council on Foundations. An elder in her church, currently she co-chairs a national initiative to teach children about giving and service, and serves on the boards of the Grand Rapids Symphony and Princeton Theological Seminary. Grand Valley State University, where she served on the board for 16 years, honors her achievements with the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy. Married to F. Martin Johnson, she is the proud mother of two daughters and six grandchildren.