Dan Peterson

Dan Petersen has been named executive director of The Pokagon Fund.

NEW BUFFALO — After an extensive multi-state search, The Pokagon Fund’s (TPF) Board of Directors has named Dan Petersen as the organization’s third full-time executive director, effective February 3, 2020.  

The search was assisted by the Michigan office of DHR International which is an industry leader in the recruitment of senior level executives. The previous executive director, Janet Cocciarelli, resigned in June 2019 to spend more time with her family in the Grand Rapids area after providing nearly 4 years of visionary leadership and refining TPF’s grant-making priorities. John Krsul has served as interim executive director since Cocciarelli’s departure.

“The Pokagon Fund is a unique resource with a demonstrated history of making strategic, impactful investments in local community development initiatives and in the human potential,” Petersen said. “Its impact is apparent and incredible. I am honored and excited to begin work with the board, grantees, community partners, and the many caring individuals in The Pokagon Fund’s service area who are dedicated to serving these communities and enhancing the lives of the individuals in them.

For the past 10 years, Petersen, 38, has held senior leadership positions with a nonprofit human service agency in mid-Michigan with diverse programming that includes early childhood education, basic needs assistance, housing and homelessness, senior volunteerism, home energy efficiency, advocacy for abused/neglected children, a summer camp for individuals with disabilities, and others. In the late 2000’s, he worked as the community development director for the City of Ironwood, Michigan. He has earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Grand Valley State University and a law degree from Western Michigan University – Cooley Law School.

“The Pokagon Fund is poised to enter a new era of activity and engagement in order to address issues that are vital to the success of the communities it serves,” said TPF board chairman Rob Gow. “Dan’s credentials, coupled with his approachable demeanor and results-oriented approach to community problems, makes him the right fit to help TPF maximize its positive impact in the fulfillment of its strategic goals to support education, reduce the impact of poverty and enhance community vitality.”

The Pokagon Fund is a nonprofit private foundation located in New Buffalo. It is funded by revenue from The Four Winds Casino Resort. Grants are awarded to nonprofit and governmental organizations in Southwest Michigan, as well as Hartford and Dowagiac, Michigan, and South Bend, Indiana. Since the organization’s inception in 2007, The Pokagon Fund has provided over $26 million in grant awards and scholarships.

More information about TPF can be found on its website, www.pokagonfund.org.

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