2022 Outstanding Foundation Award



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The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation

Outstanding Foundation Award

Nominated by The Empowerment Plan

The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation, led by Virginia Romano, continues to play an active role in creating a lasting philanthropic imprint on the greater Detroit area. Driven by personal experience, the generosity of the Foundation serves thousands of individuals through its work supporting nonprofits that address health access, basic needs, youth and family, and animal welfare.

The Foundation made its first six-figure grant to Empowerment Plan in 2018, but only after taking the time to see our mission in action, ask questions to truly understand the depth of our work, and offer guidance as not just a funder, but a true partner. Virginia and her team have continued to support our mission each year following, contributing more than $750,000 over the last four years. During COVID, the Dresner Foundation was one of the first to release restrictions on project grants, trusting the nonprofits to do as much good as possible during a trying time for our community. Since then, the Foundation has continued to provide flexibility and distribute funds in a way that truly supports the needs of the organizations in its portfolio. In the last two years alone, contributions from the Dresner Foundation have supported Empowerment Plan in impacting more than 850 lives in Detroit through the distribution of our sleeping bag coat and our innovative workforce development model. This is just one of many examples of the work the Foundation is doing for high-impact nonprofits in the area.

The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation encourages communication and collaboration and serves as a true thought leader for not only our mission, but the mission of so many across metro Detroit. Our community is lucky to have them!