Maybe it wasn't just a coincidence that Howard Kalleward was born the same year the Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) was established. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense.

It's been 33 years since he retired as executive director of KZCF, but the Wyndham resident at Heritage Community in Kalamazoo continued his community involvement. Today, he's a member of KZCF's Emeritus Council, is a trustee emeriti of the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, and an emeritus member of the board of directors at the Kalamazoo Civic. He served as president of the Richard U. Light Foundation, as vice president of the Dorothy U. Dalton Foundation, and was active with the Kalamazoo Rotary Club and the Western Michigan University Foundation.

Following his retirement, Howard received the Award of Merit for Outstanding Leadership by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and continued his hobbies of golf and woodworking. Since moving to Wyndham, he has enjoyed keeping up with friends and family, watching golf and football on television, reading, and enjoying senior activities.

"Howard is a community treasure," says Barbara James, former KZCF board chair and current chair of our Emeritus Council. "His knowledge of the formative years of the Community Foundation makes him a valuable resource. His concept of our foundation’s history and our county’s history allows him to be an insightful advisor."

According to KZCF President/CEO Carrie Pickett-Erway, who joined KZCF 12 years after Howard's retirement, "Howard is a true statesman and reflects the values of integrity. His leadership in the early days gave donors confidence that KZCF would do the right thing and would be here forever. That solid foundation was essential for our continued growth."

Howard was born in Kalamazoo, graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School and served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. The 20-year-old veteran attended Parsons Business School and University of Toledo before joining The Upjohn Company in 1948. For 19 years, he held a variety of administrative and then executive positions, working his way up in the Insurance Department and then with the Legal Division. His duties included his first taste of philanthropy, being responsible for product donations.

During its first three decades, the KZCF board of trustees were assisted by a part-time administrator, with the title of secretary. Since KZCF was established by the Chamber of Commerce, its general manager, Earl Weber, held that post as an additional duty. As KZCF grew, trustees began meeting at The Upjohn Company, and when Weber retired Upjohn executive Harold Allen, took over as secretary, initially part-time and then full-time. In 1965, the company asked Howard to become Allen's assistant and two years later, Howard took over as full-time secretary (the title later changing to executive director). Like Allen, Howard performed his foundation duties as an Upjohn employee.

For 20 years in that position, Howard increased relationships with donors and nonprofits. Highlights of his tenure included moving KZCF from Upjohn to the Industrial State Bank Building downtown Kalamazoo (now the Comerica Building) in 1973, assisting with the establishment of the Council of Michigan Foundations, and mentoring his successor, Jack Hopkins. Like Howard, Jack (then president of Nazareth College), came aboard as an assistant before becoming executive director in 1987 (with the title later changing to president/CEO).

When Howard retired, with a total of 39 years at Upjohn, Board President Bill Lawrence read a resolution passed by the trustees praising Howard's service to KZCF, "for "fostering its image, maintaining its status, and reflecting its mission at all times...with great dedication [and for] his role as spokesperson, convener, facilitator and grantmaker on behalf of and with concern for the well-being" of Kalamazoo County. Trustees also honored him with a fund established in his honor, the Howard D. Kalleward Operational Fund.

In an interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette, Howard said working with a wide variety of people in the community, matching needs with resources, inspired him throughout his two decades at KZCF.

Howard and his wife Jane -- with a career as a medical secretary, who passed two years ago -- were married for 70 years and their family includes two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A recent visitor to Wyndham told Howard, upon meeting him in the lobby, that he recognized him from his photo as executive director of the Community Foundation.

As it turns out, there are more similarities between KZCF and Howard than just age. A recent description of Howard – "service to others, integrity and honesty, and a genuine care for and support of others" – aligns with the aspirations of KZCF as we break down barriers to make Kalamazoo County the most equitable place to live.