Making the World a Better Place

by Jim Vella

CEO & Founder, Vella Strategic Philanthropy Group
Published On: December 8, 2021Categories: Insights

While 2021 has been a challenging year in many respects, I’m reminded of something my mother used to tell me: “Count your blessings.”

No doubt, I’m truly grateful for many things that happened this year – among them, the official launch of the Vella Strategic Philanthropy Group.  My years running the Ford Fund reinforced an important life lesson for me – every act of kindness and generosity makes an impact.  When I retired in 2019, I knew I wanted to help like-minded organizations, those dedicated to serving communities in need.  The Vella Group is the result, and I’m thrilled we can play a part in making the world a better place.

Over the last year, our team has helped nonprofits make a bigger difference in the communities they serve – addressing food security, safe housing, mental health, economic development, educational outreach and other social justice issues.  It’s a privilege to work with clients who show such great passion and dedication to their causes.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Pope Francis Center – Dedicated to eradicating chronic homelessness in Detroit by 2030, Pope Francis Center broke ground earlier this month on its Bridge Housing Campus in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood.
  • Detroit Economic Growth Corporation – Committed to inclusive economic development, DEGC seeks to attract investment, support local businesses, create jobs and advance Detroit’s economy for all residents.
  • Fish & Loaves Food Pantry – Serving residents in seven Detroit area communities, Fish & Loaves operates a client-choice facility and believes in “ensuring no one goes hungry.”
  • Autism Alliance of Michigan – AAoM is collaborating with sister nonprofits serving neurodiverse populations to launch an employment program to match employers with job candidates throughout the state.
  • Common Ground – A provider of mental health services to children and adults in crisis in southeastern Michigan, Common Ground plans to launch a Behavioral Health Urgent Care service in 2022.
  • The Salvation Army, Eastern Michigan Division – Dedicated to its mission of supporting those in need across the region, the organization provides housing, medical, legal, addiction and many other services.
  • The Parade Company – Organizers of America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, the Parade Company is planning a major capital campaign to renovate an historic building on Detroit’s east side to conduct community programs while building parade floats.

I feel blessed to play a role in helping these organizations help others.  The need to lend an outstretched hand to the underserved is greater than ever, especially as the global pandemic continues to impact our communities.  I’m excited to continue our work and embrace new opportunities to contribute to the greater good in 2022.

May the new year bring you peace, good health and many blessings.

Photo:  Father Tim McCabe and Jim Vella at the Pope Francis Center Bridge Housing Campus groundbreaking ceremony on December 3, 2021 in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood.

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