On July 7, the state of Michigan and the world of philanthropy lost two great, irreplaceable men, Peter M. Wege and C. David Campbell. Not only will both men be greatly missed and fondly remembered by their families and friends, but both men will be remembered for their remarkable and lasting philanthropic contributions. The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy honors Mr. Wege and Mr. Campbell as outstanding philanthropic leaders whose work will continue to benefit Michigan for a long time to come.
Peter M. Wege, son of the co-founder of Steelcase, passed away at the age of 94. After serving in the Army Air Force in World War II, Wege rose from travelling salesman to vice chairman of the board at Steelcase. In his retirement, he devoted himself to giving back to the state of Michigan and supporting his lifelong passions: education, the arts, and an approach to balancing the economy and the environment that he termed, “Economicology.” Wege is well known for his major gifts in support of the Wege Center at Mercy Health St. Mary’s, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Aquinas College, Grand Valley State University, the Grand Rapids Ballet, and many, many others.
C. David Campbell, known to all as “Dave,” was president, CEO, and trustee of the McGregor Fund in Detroit until he passed away Monday at the age of 61. Dave’s visionary leadership over nearly 20 years made the McGregor Fund into a widely respected grantmaker providing vital support to nonprofits in the human services, education, health care, arts and culture, and public benefit fields. Dave was also a national leader in philanthropy, shepherding various initiatives to help improve philanthropic practice and awareness. At the Johnson Center, we are deeply grateful for Dave’s long commitment as founding co-chair of LearnPhilanthropy, a national marketplace for grantmaker learning now located within the Center.
Both men led extraordinary lives and left extraordinary legacies here in Michigan. We can all be grateful for their leadership and generosity, and for what they each did to make philanthropy more effective and innovative. They will be missed, but always remembered.