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Foundation announces new president

Stephanie Adams, a 1994 Ottawa Hills graduate, starts Dec. 15

The next president and chief executive officer of the Grand Rapids Public Schools Foundation will be making a homecoming. Stephanie Adams is a 1994 graduate of Ottawa Hills High School and will take the reins of the GRPSF on December 15 after four years as executive director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.

GRPS Superintendent Leadriane Roby can’t wait.

“Stephanie brings a whole new level of energy, excitement, experience and relevant personal connection to our schools,” Roby said in a prepared statement.

For Adams, the feeling is mutual.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be accepting this opportunity,” she said. “As an alum of Ottawa Hills, a Latina, an active member of the GR community, there is no greater pride than being able to raise money for our schools.”

The foundation began almost three decades ago as a funding vehicle for district athletics. It has since grown to support programs and projects that impact every aspect of a GRPS student’s education, and since 2003 has granted more than $20 million through its fundraising efforts. Its purpose: “To exclusively raise, grow and steward funds and other community resources to support the Grand Rapids Public Schools for the benefit of its students.”

As president and chief executive officer, Adams will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for fundraising, staffing, programs and administrative affairs and will report directly to the foundation’s board of directors.

‘As an alum of Ottawa Hills, a Latina, an active member of the GR community, there is no greater pride than being able to raise money for our schools.’

– Stephanie Adams

Madelaine Lane, GRPSF board president and an attorney at Warner Norcross + Judd, said Adams is a proven advocate for the Grand Rapids community, and, as a GRPS alum, “knows firsthand how important the foundation’s mission is to help provide equitable resources for our next generation of community leaders—the students of GRPS.”

Prior to her role at Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, Adams had positions in a variety of local non-profit and for-profit organizations, including the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, the Salvation Army Kroc Center, West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology, Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Griffins.

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Phil de Haan
Phil de Haan covers East Grand Rapids and Kelloggsville and is the lead reporter for Grand Rapids. He hails from Exeter, Ontario (but has called Grand Rapids home since 1985) and is the son of a longtime public school teacher who taught both English and machine shop. Phil took both classes at South Huron District High School, but English stuck, and at Calvin College, where he met his wife, Sue, he majored in English and minored in journalism. His background includes both journalism and public relations, including teaching an advertising and PR course at the college level for almost a decade. In the summer of 2019, he began his own writing and communications business, de Haan Communications. In his spare time, Phil plays pick-up hockey and pickleball and tries to keep tabs on his two adult children. Read Phil's full bio

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