I started The Wege Foundation July 13, 1967 and still have my notes on why I named it for my parents Peter Martin and Sophia Louise Wege. What I wrote then is still true today: No one has found a way to perpetuate a name better than creating a foundation. My father and mother are worthy of this honor.
Every good work The Wege Foundation has been able to do for 45 years came directly from the genius of my father Peter Martin Wege. In 1912 he raised $75,000 to found Metal Office Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Renamed Steelcase in 1954, that small plant my father started is now recognized globally as the world’s largest manufacturer of office furniture.
The great success of my father’s company gave me the opportunity to give back to the community that supported my entrepreneuring father almost a century ago.
This year Steelcase celebrated its 100th year in business. Grand Rapids has been my home for 92 years and it has been my privilege and joy to use my parents’ legacy for the good of the city my parents and I all loved.
The five Areas of Interest for The Wege Foundation are: Environment. Education. Arts & Culture. Human Services. Health Care. When the Foundation’s Board reviews grant requests within these areas, we try to apply the Six Es: Education. Environment. Ethics. Empathy. Ecology. Economy.
These are the principles that drive The Wege Foundation’s decisions.
These are the principles I learned from my parents.
Peter M. Wege - News Stories
Renewed Emphasis on Old Values
Photo: The Wege Foundation’s newest program staff, Leslie Young and Emily Aleman-McAlpine, in The Foundation office at 99 Monroe with the Wege Foundation glass logo between them. The Wege Foundation is moving into 2017 with a new focus on their longstanding philosophy that respects each individual for who that person is. … More Renewed Emphasis on Old Values »
Father and Son Embedded in Steelcase’s New Report
When Peter Martin Wege moved to Grand Rapids to open his own metal-furniture business in 1912, he could not have imagined Metal Office Furniture—started on a $75,000 bank loan—would become Steelcase, the world’s largest office-furniture company. Wege’s experience as a metal fabricator himself created the workplace culture that continues a century later. Peter Martin knew … More Father and Son Embedded in Steelcase’s New Report »
A Fitting Tribute To a Quietly Amazing Leader
Ellen Satterlee leaves the role she has played for 25 years as CEO of The Wege Foundation and now takes a seat as a Trustee of The Foundation. This in-depth interview with Rachel Hood, Executive Director of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, eloquently shares some of what this soft-spoken … More A Fitting Tribute To a Quietly Amazing Leader »
WEGE FOUNDATION CEO: The Torch Passes
Dear Friends, And I do consider you friends—of mine and certainly of Peter’s and of The Wege Foundation’s! Some of you know I am retiring as CEO of The Foundation Peter started in 1967 and where my career and heart have been ever since. For those who don’t, I am … More WEGE FOUNDATION CEO: The Torch Passes »
Wege Foundation announces retirement of CEO
September 3, 2015; Grand Rapids, MI – The Wege Foundation announced today the retirement of Ellen Satterlee as President and CEO, effective October 30, 2015. Satterlee will continue to serve as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “Ellen has provided stellar service to the Wege Foundation since 1988, including as CEO … More Wege Foundation announces retirement of CEO »
Terri McCarthy Bids a Loving Farewell
After 20 years with the Wege Foundation, Terri McCarthy, Vice President of Programs, retired at the end of May, 2015. Over the course of her career with the foundation, Terri played an integral role in many successful philanthropic efforts. Now Terri wants to thank the people who allowed so many programs and funding partners … More Terri McCarthy Bids a Loving Farewell »
Community remembers favorite son, Peter Wege
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Peter M. Wege lived to see his hopes and dreams come true. The Grand Rapids philanthropist lived to be 94 years old, so he had the time. The retired chairman of Steelcase, Inc., also had the money. The Wege Foundation’s $20 million gift – the largest, … More Community remembers favorite son, Peter Wege »
Retired Steelcase chairman, philanthropist Peter Wege dies at 94
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Peter Melvin Wege loved giving away his money. And give it away he did — millions of dollars in grants large and small — a fortune he had amassed as the former chairman and largest stockholder of Steelcase, Inc., the office furniture company his father founded. Wege, … More Retired Steelcase chairman, philanthropist Peter Wege dies at 94 »
Peter M. Wege – Obituary
WEGE, PETER Peter Melvin Wege fulfilled his life’s mantra by doing all the good he could for as many people as he could for as long as he could before he died July 7,2014 to join his revered parents Peter Martin and Sophia Louise Wege. Born in Grand Rapids on … More Peter M. Wege – Obituary »