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Release Date: 
Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Get to Know HFC: Andrew Whitman switched from Great Lakes freighters to non-profit work

Andrew Whitman

Occupational wanderlust – that’s what inspired HFC Corporate Foundation Relations Specialist Andrew Whitman to work for the HFC Foundation.

“I have explored many different careers, ranging from working in the engine room aboard a Great Lakes freighter to presenting museum education programs and exhibits to operating various processes in the sulfur reduction department at a refinery,” explained Whitman. “However, I have most enjoyed working in the nonprofit sector. I met my wife while we were both working at historic Greenfield Village. It had always shocked me to see many fine nonprofits – especially museums – struggling for funding just to keep their doors open. So, when the chance came to try my hand at fundraising and grant writing, I jumped right into the role.”

Whitman has been in the fundraising and grant writing field for 12 years. He has spent the last five at HFC. He reports to HFC Vice President of Institutional Advancement A. Reginald Best.

“Andrew has done an outstanding job of working with key faculty and staff at HFC and establishing best practices for grant proposal writing. This has led to a significant increase in grant support at the College,” said Best.

Proud to return to HFC

A native of Trenton, Whitman is the youngest of two and a graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte. He lives with Deanna, his wife of 28 years, in Woodhaven. Whitman took general education classes at HFC (then called Henry Ford Community College). Transferring to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Whitman earned his bachelor’s degree in general studies with a focus on business leadership and communications. He is also a certified grant writer through The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles.

“I did not complete my associate degree at HFC, but I took several classes here and loved it,” said Whitman.

His current duties include:

  • Developing solicitation strategies that meet the fundraising needs of the College and departments and programs.
  • Facilitating communications for the Foundation.
  • Assisting in identifying, cultivating, and soliciting philanthropic partnerships with corporate and private foundations.
  • Providing oversight and assistance for grant applications and proposals submitted to prospective donors.
  • Digitally archiving all fundraising activities carried out through the Foundation.
  • Assisting with the stewardship of donors.

A holistic approach

A typical day for Whitman begins with returning emails, texts, and phone calls, then touching base with his colleagues in the Foundation. He reads 4-5 online nonprofit news and service publications daily, as well as any announcements of new grant opportunities from the federal government.

Whitman conducts deeper research for funding opportunities based on what he learns from reading and online/broadcast researcch. He also works on any open grant applications, funding proposals, communications, and other projects.

“Like everyone else, I have to handle the issues that seem to pop from out of nowhere each day, such as requests for proofreading or word-smithing of some Foundation documentation, or gathering and formatting data,” said Whitman.

"Andrew is an all-around nice person to have for a colleague with an impeccable work ethic," said Assistant Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations Shai James-Boyd.

Whitman has always been impressed by HFC’s holistic approach to higher education.

“Here a student gets far more than classroom lectures, books, assignments, and tests,” said Whitman. “At HFC, all students, regardless of the program they enroll in, are instilled with the self-confidence, a sense of value, and skills that lead to a fulfilling life.”