Kalamazoo Community Foundation names Dr. Grace Lubwama as new president & CEO

Dr. Grace Lubwama

After a six-month comprehensive search, Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) has named Dr. Grace Lubwama as the new President and Chief Executive Officer. She will begin her new position with KZCF in July 2023.

In the interim, both YWCA Kalamazoo (YWCA) and KZCF will work closely to ensure a smooth transition and continued partnership in making Kalamazoo County the most equitable place to live.

Dr. Lubwama brings more than two decades of experience in the nonprofit and public health sectors to KZCF. She has a proven track record of accomplishment in systems change work that delivers results with broad impact at the local, state and national levels. A strategic thinker and results-driven executive, Dr. Lubwama can translate racial and gender equity into programmatic goals that are tangible and attainable benchmarks.

“Dr. Lubwama’s experience and passion for our mission will bring us new perspective and continue to advance our vision of Kalamazoo County as the most equitable place to live,” said Von Washington, Jr., KZCF’s board chair and executive director at the Kalamazoo Promise. “She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that will help us achieve our mission to advance educational success, economic security and access to basic human needs. We look forward to having Dr. Lubwama’s strategic and visionary leadership in addressing complex social issues and their impact on communities with an emphasis on equity and anti-racism.”

A native of Uganda, Lubwama became the first Black CEO of YWCA Kalamazoo in February 2014. The development and expansion of programs and services marked her tenure. She implemented Michigan’s first comprehensive human trafficking program that includes advocacy, counseling, legal services and shelter for trafficked women, men and their families. Established the state’s only comprehensive 24-hour early childhood center that provides drop-in and enrolled shift care. Founded Cradle Kalamazoo, a $4.2 million collective impact initiative in Kalamazoo County focused on reducing Black infant mortality. At the same time, she was increasing the agency’s staffing and financial viability to 200-plus employees and net assets of $30 million.

“Grace is a stellar leader whom we have been privileged to work with for nearly a decade,” said YWCA Kalamazoo board chair Demarra West. “It is rare indeed to have a leader who balances heart work with head work, and Grace exemplifies this in everything she does. Her commitment to eliminating racism and empowering women has been unshakeable. As a result, we have become well known across the country for our expansive work. Although we are deeply saddened by the loss of such a dynamic leader, we understand fully this move is good for the greater Kalamazoo community and wish Grace nothing but success in this move.”

“Leading YWCA Kalamazoo has been one of my greatest accomplishments,” Dr. Lubwama said. “I am excited to have the full support of YWCA Kalamazoo’s Leadership team as I prepare to start my next chapter at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, working alongside their amazing staff. I hope to manifest my vision for broader community impact as the Community Foundation approaches its centennial year in 2025.”

With the full support of the board and leadership team at YWCA Kalamazoo, Dr. Lubwama is looking forward to starting her next chapter of executive leadership at KZCF. A national search will be launched in the coming weeks to hire the next CEO of YWCA Kalamazoo.

About Kalamazoo Community Foundation

KZCF, established in 1925, has the vision of Kalamazoo County being the most equitable place to live, with the mission to mobilize people, resources and expertise and to advance racial, social and economic justice. Learn more at kalfound.org.

About YWCA

YWCA Kalamazoo (YWCA) is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. This is achieved by standing up for social justice, helping families, and strengthening communities. The longest-serving YWCA association in Michigan, YWCA provides individuals and families client centered programming through our four strategic focus areas: (1) Advocacy and Systems Change, (2) Caring for Victims of Abuse (e.g. intimate partner domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault), (3) Improving the Lives of Children, and (4) Promoting Maternal and Child Health. Our variety of intentional programming is designed to improve the lives of the most vulnerable population, operating at the intersections of race and gender. We lead the way for system change in our communities.