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Edmund T. Ahee Jewel Award for Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser

John W. Hebert

John Herbert


John W. Hebert’s professional career in the accounting and finance fields underscores his personal commitment to sustainable growth in the nonprofit sector, particularly across vibrant and varied organizations in Southeast Michigan.

As the Leader Dogs for the Blind Board Chair, John led board members to exceed their $1 million goal, and helped harness the potential of foundation, corporate and private donors in achieving the $14.5 million needed to redesign and renovate Leader Dog’s Canine Development Center.  During this time, he actively supported the philanthropy committee and team in their successful efforts to raise the annual revenues for the organization’s operations.

Beyond his decade of leadership and volunteerism with Leader Dog, John served as treasurer and chairman of the finance committee of the Detroit-based Adult Well-Being Services, was a president and board member of the Detroit Rotary Club, and served as a president and trustee with the Detroit Rotary Foundation.  His leadership of the Polio Eradication Fund generated $1.2 million throughout the life of the campaign.  Since the late 1980’s, John has served the American Red Cross as chairman of Blood Services Region and Chapter treasurer.  From the YMCA of Birmingham to the Friends of the Detroit Public Library to Leader Dog, each organization has benefitted from John’s deep passion for worthy missions and his professional understanding of how to grow an adaptable, solvent nonprofit.

One of the achievements John is proudest of is with his alma mater, Northern Michigan University (NMU).  As an alumnus of the College of Business at NMU, he has served on the NMU Foundation Board of Trustees since 2002.  In 1988, his gift endowed the John W. Hebert Scholarship in Accounting.  The scholarship is not merely reserved for a junior who excels academically, but rather one whose “leadership ability is evidenced by outside activities, including leadership positions within those activities and interest and ability to pursue a career in public accounting.”  Dean David Rayome stated in his letter of support for John’s nomination that, “John is a wonderful example of the quality contributions that Michigan citizens can provide for our communities.” The balanced, civic-minded individual his scholarship awards annually, is someone John hopes will continue to cultivate a philanthropic and community service legacy throughout their own life.

Now that the Puppy Welcome Area, donated by John and Margo Hebert, warmly greets puppies and host families, John recalled his thoughts regarding the project: “A few years ago the idea of improving the kennel experience for the dogs came up. I became involved with the planning phase and executing the financial ability to achieve this important goal. As the plans became clearer and we kicked off a capital campaign, one of the initial fundraising phases was the board challenge. I chaired this effort and challenged Leader Dogs’ board to commit $1 million toward the $14.5 million goal. The board exceeded this goal through 100% participation! It was a very easy decision when it came time for Margo and I to make a financial gift. We take pride in being involved with such a historic time in the 76-year life of Leader Dogs for the Blind.”

As a volunteer, friend, colleague and donor, John sets the highest standard for the next-level philanthropic leadership.   From encouraging partnerships between board and team to strategic introductions of missions and new prospects, he excels in developing nuanced relationships that advance the nonprofit sector.  Sam Slaughter and Anne Lehker, friends and colleagues of John, stated, “John epitomizes the role of committed volunteer…[he] has become a role model for us as a philanthropic leader.  We are impressed with his true dedication to a philanthropic lifestyle.”