Foundation Transition Continues Prominent Washtenaw County Philanthropy | Financial Buzz

Foundation Transition Continues Prominent Washtenaw County Philanthropy

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF), Washtenaw County’s dedicated endowment, will now proudly carry on the philanthropic legacy of one of the county’s oldest and most prominent family foundations, the Buhr Foundation. The Buhr Foundation will cease its operations as a private foundation and family members will continue their philanthropy in perpetuity through donor-advised funds of AAACF.

The Buhr Machine Tool Company, which made specialized machine tools for the automobile industry, endowed the Buhr Foundation in 1953 to honor and memorialize its founder, Joseph F. Buhr. Since making its first grant in 1954, the Buhr Foundation has supported dozens of nonprofit organizations. All current and scheduled commitments by the Buhr Foundation to current grantees will be honored by AAACF, bringing the Buhr Foundation’s collective impact to more than $7.3 million in grants since its inception. This collective impact will be perpetuated through the new AAACF funds; more information will be provided later this year.

Martha (Marty) Buhr Grimes has served as the Buhr Foundation President since 1987. Other Trustees include James D. (Jamie) Buhr (Treasurer), Richard J. (Rick) Buhr, Thomas A. (Tom) Buhr, and C. Wendell (Del) Dunbar. Emeritus Trustees include Phillip J. Bowen, Joseph H. Buhr, Wilbur Pierpont, Robert L. Johnson, Julius F. Haarer, Roscoe O. Bonisteel, Sr., and Roscoe O. Bonisteel, Jr.

After Marty Buhr Grimes retired from teaching in 2006, she worked diligently to increase the impact of the Buhr Foundation over the past 15 years through increased site visits and interactions with nonprofit leaders. The Buhr Foundation also broadened its traditional focus on capital projects to recognize the importance of providing general operating support, a key principle of philanthropy shared by AAACF.

The community is invited to celebrate the Buhr Foundation legacy through a virtual ceremony hosted by AAACF on May 20, 2021. More details on the event and instructions for sharing messages with Marty Buhr Grimes on behalf of the Buhr Foundation and family are available at

By transitioning their assets to AAACF, family foundations can continue their philanthropy while amplifying their impact by being invested through the community foundation’s larger endowment and drawing upon the nonprofit and philanthropic knowledge of AAACF’s 14 staff. Starting with the Sarns Ann Arbor Fund in 1990, other prominent family foundations have transitioned to AAACF over the years, more recently including the Jack & Ginny Sinn Family Foundation and the Amherst & Janeth Turner Foundation.

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) manages more than $170M in charitable assets and enriches the quality of life across Washtenaw County by distributing millions of dollars annually in grants, scholarships, and investments. AAACF prioritizes community through its core values of pursuing equity, earning trust, leveraging knowledge, and enhancing collaboration.


Neel Hajra, AAACF CEO, 734.663.0401,

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