Meet Beacon Hill Foundation’s Newest Chairperson: Micki Benz
In her heart, Micki is an English teacher. In her career, Micki served 12 years as an instructor and continuing education professional at Davenport College (now Davenport University), managed a group of branches for Michigan National Bank and served for over 25 years in fundraising and community development roles for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.
Micki and her husband John have lived in Grand Rapids for 43 years and have one married son, an attorney, who lives in Metz, France with his wife Ashley, and their 8-year-old son Miller. John and Micki serve with many Grand Rapids organizations and we are thrilled to benefit from Micki’s experience and guidance.
Micki has received numerous awards and honors for her work in West Michigan most recently by Senior Neighbors as a “Community Champion, Connector, and Mentor” at their Gala recognizing the contributions and impact of 16 individuals 60 years of age or more who engage and inspire us every day.
What is your proudest moment?
I was never really considered athletic, but I have finished the Fifth Third 25K run two times.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Listen before you talk. I don’t always remember to do this, but it is good advice.
How did you make your first dollar?
Babysitting the 5 neighbor kids for 50 cents/hour when I was 13. I was the oldest of four kids so the neighbors must have had great confidence in me. I made dinner, read, put them to bed, everything!
What was the last book you read? First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J. Ellis. And, I just finished Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence, also by Joseph J. Ellis. Re-watching Hamilton at home inspired me to take a deep dive into this era of American history. Try watching it with the subtitles on – you may be surprised at how much you may have missed the first time.
How do you like to unwind?
Once you’re retired, you’re pretty unwound. I started running again, and I love to do Pilates. I really enjoy walking and listening to podcasts. I do love to listen to Cleveland Indians games too. And, reading.
What kind of lasting impact do you hope to see from your work with the Beacon Hill Foundation?
Continuing to build a lasting legacy is important to BHE and all of its residents. There is so much goodwill, interest and passion on the team. In addition, I chair the Eastgate Engaged committee and I love how Beacon Hill wants to be a good neighbor, balancing the fact that we are the largest group of residents in the neighborhood and not wanting to be overbearing. I love community advocacy. With other organizations, I’ve worked in Heritage Hill and Ottawa Hills and now I’m enjoying the connections with businesses and neighbors in the Eastgate Neighborhood.
Are there other organizations about which you are passionate?
I’m passionate about reading and literacy. I serve on the EGR Library Commission and the Literacy Center of West Michigan. I am also on the board of Legacy Trust.