Organization: Hudson-Webber Foundation

Location: Detroit, MI

Express Interest!

About the Hudson-Webber Foundation:

The Hudson-Webber Foundation (“Foundation”) is dedicated to improving the vitality and quality of life of the metropolitan Detroit community. The Foundation concentrates its giving primarily within the city of Detroit. The revitalization of Detroit’s urban core is a particular interest because this area is a focus for community activity and pride and is of critical importance to the vitality of the entire metropolitan community.

Detroit is one of the world’s most storied and recognizable cities. Its history of innovation and cultural heritage is unparalleled. In spite of – and in many cases because of – its challenges, Detroit remains a beacon in the minds of many for what can, and might, become of urban America.  For over 75 years, the Foundation has quietly supported efforts to improve the quality of life in the city it calls home. With a nod towards its past and an eye on the future, the private, independent foundation continues to lend a hand in moving Detroit into its next incarnation of innovation and prosperity.

Since 1939, the Foundation has provided grants totaling over $190 million, 98% of which has been given to institutions and programs directly benefiting the metropolitan Detroit area. During 2015, the Foundation provided grants totaling more than $7.5 million.

The Foundation intends to continue to be a key driver in the city’s revitalization efforts. At present, it has an impact disproportionately larger than its grant budget would suggest, by functioning as a convener and thought leader by strategically stimulating and maximizing efforts and resources in support of projects within four program missions. Each program area has a significant catalytic effect upon efforts to enhance the vitality and quality of life of the community: Physical Revitalization, Economic Development, the Arts and Safe Community. The Foundation’s recently completed initiative, the 15×15 Initiative, adopted the goal of attracting and retaining 15,000 young, talented Detroiters to live in Greater Downtown Detroit by 2015. Launched in 2008, 15×15 helped create a shared vision across public, private and civic organizations that recognized the important connections between place, talent and Detroit’s future.

History of the Hudson-Webber Foundation:

The Hudson and Webber families, the J. L. Hudson Company and the Hudson‑Webber Foundation are historically intertwined. The company’s founder, Joseph Lowthian Hudson, was born in England in 1846. Having emigrated first to Ontario and then to Michigan, in 1881 Joseph L. Hudson opened a small men’s and boys’ store in Detroit, the J. L. Hudson Company. Before his death in 1912, it grew to be the city’s largest department store.

While developing his successful business, Joseph L. Hudson was also making a strong commitment to and investment in the City of Detroit. He was a very generous benefactor of local charities, and he brought inspiring leadership and passion to civic boards and committees. His work, his life, and his example directly and indirectly enriched the lives of many.

Although he never married, Joseph L. Hudson headed his family of three brothers and three sisters and their children. Many of them lived with him and looked to him for counsel and support. The four sons of his sister, Mary, who had married Joseph T. Webber of Ionia, Michigan, were his particular protégés. Upon Joseph L. Hudson’s death, Richard H. Webber inherited 51% of The J. L. Hudson Company stock and major shares in The Hudson Motor Car Company, in which Hudson had been a founder. The other Webber brothers also inherited J. L. Hudson Company stock and with Richard shared in the Company’s destiny.  Richard H. Webber became President, James B. and Joseph L. Webber became the Merchandise Directors, and Oscar Webber became the General Manager.

Richard Webber and his younger brothers had learned well from their uncle, and under their management the company continued to pioneer new merchandising approaches and to expand. During their lifetimes, they developed the company into one of America’s most important department store chains including several of the world’s largest shopping centers.

The Webber brothers also exhibited great civic commitment and leadership in the tradition of their uncle. Each gave generously of his talent and financial resources for the betterment of Detro

Origins of the Hudson-Webber Foundation:

Richard Hudson Webber was a man of vision. While planning the extraordinary growth of the family business, he also created three philanthropic foundations to perpetuate the family’s civic and social contributions to the metropolitan Detroit community.

In 1939, Richard Webber and his wife, Eloise, established the Eloise and Richard Webber Foundation, and they added to it substantially over the years. Their daughters, Jean Webber Sutphin and Mary Webber Parker, and Richard’s sister, Louise Webber O’Brien, also provided important contributions. In 1960, Richard and Eloise Webber established the Richard H. and Eloise Jenks Webber Charitable Fund, Inc. In addition, their daughters, Jean and Mary, and Richard’s brother, Joseph L. Webber, provided substantial contributions. The Hudson-Webber Foundation was organized in 1943. Major gifts to it were provided by the J. L. Hudson Company and by Richard, Joseph, and Oscar Webber. Significant contributions also have been provided by Company employees and other members of the family.

During 1983, the three Foundations decided that they could more effectively and efficiently fulfill their respective, but compatible, purposes if they merged.   Accordingly, the Members and Trustees of the Foundations merged the Eloise and Richard Webber Foundation and the Richard H. and Eloise Jenks Webber Charitable Fund, Inc. into the Hudson-Webber Foundation, effective January 1, 1984. The surviving entity stands as proud testimony to its creators and continues to fulfill their plan for the family’s civic contributions to the metropolitan Detroit community. The Board of Trustees includes several family members as well as other community leaders.

For more information on the Hudson-Webber Foundation, please visit its website.

The Opportunity:

The Foundation Trustees recognize that this moment of transition of its leadership coincides with the completion of the 15×15 Initiative and the emergence of Detroit from bankruptcy, as a time to carefully consider the next chapter of its work and impact. The Trustees and Foundation staff recognize that Detroit continues to experience significant demographic and economic change. The Foundation Trustees will look to its new President to think creatively and strategically with the Trustees and staff about the changes within the community and how the Foundation can continue to be a highly effective catalytic force as the city continues to evolve.

The President will work closely with the Trustees to develop and achieve the Foundation’s strategic objectives and fulfill its mission.

The Foundation intends to continue to be a leading force in the city’s revitalization efforts. By carefully and creatively targeting its efforts and resources and developing and collaborating within its wide network, the Foundation has built a reputation in Detroit for having much deeper impacts than its modest grants might suggest. The Foundation is naturally inclusive and highly collaborative and will continue to be intentional about reaching all stakeholders in the Detroit community.

The President is also responsible for leadership and overall management of the Foundation. S/he oversees the day-to-day operation of the Foundation, including all grant making. S/he will represent the Foundation in the philanthropic community and be an ambassador on behalf of the Trustees and staff.

Key responsibilities of the President include:

  • Working with the Trustees and staff to confirm the evolving goals and objectives of the Foundation for this next chapter and implement the path to achieving them;
  • Representing the Foundation in the Detroit and larger philanthropic community as a thought leader and convener;
  • Collaborating with other key leaders, including emerging leaders, in the community to maximize the Foundation’s impact;
  • Serving as the leader of the organization, overseeing all day-to-day activities and effectively managing Foundation assets and leading the staff;
  • Overseeing all aspects of the Foundation’s operations, including financial and budget management;
  • Communicating effectively and with transparency with the Trustees and staff; and
  • Other duties as necessary for the leadership of the Foundation or as directed by the Trustees.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have the following qualities and characteristics:


The President will be a leader who, with the Trustees and staff, sets and articulates the vision for the next chapter of the Foundation and how it can effectively deploy its human and financial assets to the benefit of the Detroit community. S/he will understand the full potential, power and impact of a foundation to use both its leadership and grant making in combination to meet the needs of a community. The next President will display intellectual curiosity and critical thinking and have a history of being creative, innovative and bold in identifying and responding to community needs and capturing opportunities. S/he will be skilled at engaging staff, Trustees and the broader community in strategy and execution.

Collaboration, Partnership Building and Leading Through Influence

The successful candidate will have the ability to inspire trust and confidence with a diverse range of stakeholders. S/he will be flexible, energetic, positive, creative and ambitious and will be experienced in successfully establishing strong working relationships in furtherance of his/her organization’s mission. The President is collaborative in nature with an ability to build a strong connection with the Trustees as well as staff, grantees, partners and a range of other stakeholders.

Nonprofit Management

The President will be a seasoned executive with strong staff and financial management experience and exceptional verbal and written communication skills. S/he will possess the ability to build and inspire a staff with a diverse set of skills, provide them with a productive work environment and professional growth opportunities that result in team cohesion and camaraderie. The ideal candidate must be a facilitator of staff, Trustee and stakeholder teamwork with the ability to provide clear expectations and accountability measures for staff deliverables while encouraging innovation and initiative.

Passion for the Mission

The President will have a true passion for the mission of the Foundation and an optimistic commitment to strengthening the Detroit community. Working in close collaboration with the staff and Trustees, s/he will help achieve the greatest possible impact through the Foundation’s grant making and will work tirelessly to support the city’s revitalization. S/he will be a trusted advisor to grantees and other organizations, working to support economic and community development in the Detroit region. S/he will exhibit humility, a capacity to listen and dedication to the mission. It is imperative that s/he treats others with respect and always stays true to the values of the Foundation. Moreover, the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.


Alison P. Ranney, Anne B. McCarthy and Anny K. Chou of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please email them directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit