DETROIT – The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is pleased to announce that Wafa Dinaro has been named executive director of the New Economy Initiative (NEI) effective February 7, 2022. Dinaro succeeds Pamela Lewis who, following six years of leading the nationally recognized program, is leaving the Community Foundation for another opportunity.
NEI is a philanthropic collaboration growing public support for an inclusive regional network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses in southeast Michigan that benefits all residents and strengthens the regional economy. Since 2007, the initiative’s funders have contributed
over $180 million. More than $127 million has been provided to organizations that assisted nearly 19,000 companies and helped launch an additional 3,130 companies. These companies employed almost 45,000 people, leveraged $1.8 billion in capital, and exposed more than 480,000 people to entrepreneurial services. Funding also supported robust evaluation, technical assistance, research, communications, meetings, policy support, and the daily operations of the NEI office.
“We are excited to have a leader with Wafa’s commitment to inclusive entrepreneurship and small business and experience join the New Economy Initiative,” says Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “Wafa will strengthen NEI’s support of Detroit-area small businesses and entrepreneurs access to capital and technical support.”
Dinaro was most recently executive director of the Economic Development Corporation for the County of Wayne, Mich. She held a variety of other positions in the private and public sector including the automotive industry and the Department of Defense, where she led operations while assigned to Defense Attaché Offices in U.S Embassies around the world.
“Wafa is uniquely suited to meet the challenges of creating public funding and promoting the case for underserved microbusinesses across our region,” said Pamela Lewis, outgoing executive director of the New Economy Initiative.
Dinaro holds a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in political science and communications from the University of Michigan.
“ I’m honored to join the Community Foundation as the executive director of the New Economy Initiative. It is a pivotal moment to grow an inclusive culture of entrepreneurship in southeast Michigan,” said Dinaro. “I look forward to working with the foundation’s board, staff, and key
partners in advancing NEI. I’m eager to join them in their goal of leading positive change in the Detroit region.”
About the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $1.3 billion through more than 80,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties. For more information, visit www.cfsem.org
About the New Economy Initiative
The New Economy Initiative is a philanthropic collaboration and special project of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan that is working to build a regional network of support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Its mission is to grow an inclusive culture of entrepreneurship in southeast Michigan that benefits all residents and strengthens the regional economy. Learn more at https://neweconomyinitiative.org/.