Lucas Pfeiffenberger of Alpena was one of two men honored last week with the 2010 Community Foundation Philanthropy Award as part of the annual Governor's Service Awards.
The award was created in 2006 by the Council of Michigan Foundations in partnership with the Michigan Community Service Commission. It is given in recognition of individuals or families for their leadership, impact, creativity and collaboration in strengthening community philanthropy through community foundations.
Pfeiffenberger said in doing philanthropic work, he found joy in helping others. Quiet and unassuming, he prefers to work in the background with his work and tries to avoid the limelight.
Pfeiffenberger's wife, Janet, said her husband is too modest to share all the philanthropic causes he supports, both through the Community Foundation of Northeast Michigan - where he has served as executive director in the past - and also privately.
"After he retired from more than 30 years working in industry, he really became more involved in philanthropic causes," she said. "There are so many things that he supports and gives to anonymously, such as the local museum and school projects. And he doesn't have his name on anything [as a dedication]. That's just the way he is."
"I got involved with the foundation (CFNEM) and actually ran it for some years," Pfeiffenberger said. "I'm most proud of being able to help people and organizations realize their dreams and goals."
Pfeiffenberger especially enjoys providing grants to fund an endowed chair at Alpena Community College and financially supporting a grant application program for teachers who want to conduct their own special projects.
"Supporting Interlochen Center for the Arts is also one of the things we do at the foundation," he said. "We provide a scholarship for a foreign student to attend there."
Helping CFNEM grow and prosper has been a long-time goal of his, Pfeiffenberger said.
"A community foundation is so important in that it can help so many different people."
If Pfeiffenberger could share one message with others regarding the challenges of philanthropy in today's floundering economy, it would be "it is important to volunteer and support your local community foundations and its projects so we can give a helping hand to those who need it."
Robert S. Collier, CMF's president/CEO, said Pfeiffenberger and Richard Groos of Hastings, the other recipient, "are two exceptional individuals who deserve to be honored with the 2010 Community Foundation Philanthropy Award.
"The commitment of these two men to the development of their respective community foundations and their dedication to reinforcing the value of volunteering and philanthropy in our state is testament to their generosity, integrity and civic engagement," Collier said.