Foundation names new CEO


A local foundation didn’t waste any time finding a successor for its retiring CEO.

After more than 25 years of service, Ellen Satterlee announced earlier this month she is retiring from the top spot at the Wege Foundation.

On Nov. 2, Grand Rapids native Mark Van Putten, founder of philanthropic advisory firm ConservationStrategy LLC, will step in to fill her shoes, becoming the Grand Rapids-based foundation’s new president and CEO. Satterlee will continue to be involved as a trustee for the foundation.

“Mark has worked with us for many years part-time as a consultant, including working closely with founder Peter M. Wege prior to his death in 2014,” Satterlee said. “Mark is committed to the foundation’s mission and knows well our programs and many of our long-time grantees. It’s a perfect fit.”

Van Putten has served as a consultant to the Wege Foundation since 2003, a position he’s also held at the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment and at Water Advocates. He was also with the National Wildlife Federation for 21 years, working his way up from director of the Great Lakes regional office, to Eastern region staff director, and eventually to president and CEO.

“I’m honored to have this opportunity to serve the Wege Foundation and West Michigan,” Van Putten said. “Peter M. Wege inspired me, like so many others, and Ellen Satterlee has been a valued mentor. I look forward to working with the foundation’s trustees, staff and current and future grantees.”

Van Putten received degrees in political science and English from Calvin College and a degree in environmental law from the University of Michigan Law School, where he also served as a clinical professor of law and as a public service law fellow.

“We’re pleased to have Mark as our next president and CEO,” said Peter Wege II, board chair. “He brings a depth of experience from his years of consulting with foundations across the U.S. and from his tenure with the National Wildlife Federation.”

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