SHELBY -- Shelby resident and local business owner, Ann Downs, was chosen the Shelby Foundation's new board chairperson at its annual meeting on April 20.
Downs has been with the Foundation since 2017 and has acted as its vice-chair since 2019.
Outgoing chairperson Joe Wechter spent his two-year term focusing on large-scale impact and positioning the Foundation to provide immediate assistance during times of crisis.
“Joe is very measured, and he did not drive these initiatives without a lot of thought and consideration, and it shows," Foundation Director Carrie Kemerer stated. "He cares about his community, not just for his family and his business, but for entirety of Shelby.”
During Joe’s tenure as Chair, he oversaw the awarding of the largest grant in the Foundation’s history. While keeping the smaller nonprofits and their needs always at the forefront, Joe also understood the impact large scale grants could make a significant difference on the community.
He and the Board believe in the connection between placemaking and economic development and that is why the Foundation awarded its largest gift of $250,000 to kickstart downtown park improvements.
In response to the coronavirus and in times of crisis, he oversaw the establishment of the Foundation’s Emergency Support Fund. The fund was intended to support urgent hardships in the Shelby area during emergency situations, specifically local food banks and nonprofits organizations meeting the basic needs of residents.
“By launching the fund, this provides an avenue for people to help while having confidence the Foundation is acting as a clearing house to make sure donations are going to where there is the greatest need," he said. "It can be used for needs that are known today and needs that may arise in weeks or months down the road.”
Even though Mr. Wechter is no longer in the chair role, he will be still an active member of the Board.
“We’re fortunate to still have Joe sitting on the Foundation’s Board because he a great sounding board. He understands the power of family, community, business, and collaboration,” Kemerer said.