The New leader of the Ruth Mott Foundation, Raquel Thueme, was promoted to her position on November 5, 2018, replacing Handy L. Lindsey, Jr., who retired on November 2. “I’m honored to lead the Foundation,” says the new president. “I have spent my entire time in Flint nurturing partnerships to help strengthen our community. I will bring the same energy, passion and commitment to my new role as president. I’m so happy to work with the team I have. We are well-poised to continue moving forward.”
Thueme brings a wealth of experience to her position and according to a recent press release, has 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. She began working at the Foundation in April 2011, and most recently served as vice president of programs, providing strategic vision and assessment of grantmaking to the Foundation. In developing its north Flint focus, she took on the responsibility of community engagement and played an integral role in gathering input from hundreds of community members. She also worked closely with the former president to assist in mentoring and leadership of the senior management team. Her executive experience includes four years as president/CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, and seven years in vice president roles at Trinity Health in Novi.
“Raquel’s expertise and experience in Flint make her a perfect fit for this new role, and we are fortunate to have such a strong leader poised for a seamless transition as we carry forward our work with residents in north Flint. She is a respected Flint advocate who has built, and continues to build, strong relationships in the neighborhoods we serve.”
– Maryanne Mott,
Board of Trustees Chairperson and daughter of C.S. and Ruth Mott
Born and raised in the City of Detroit, Thueme witnessed firsthand the challenges facing post-industrial cities. She is the youngest of seven, and was the only child in her family born in the United States after they moved to Michigan from Mexico in 1961. She attended Detroit Public Schools and Cranbrook Schools before earning her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. She obtained her master’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Thueme says that in her spare time, she enjoys cooking (and eating). Passionate about fitness, she serves as a Michigan Fitness Foundation Board member and was appointed to the Governor’s Council for Physical Fitness – Health and Sports in 2015. She and her husband, Tracy, enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing in the winter and gardening, walking and boating during the summer. Thueme is a member of a book club whose members have traveled the world. She lived in China for four years while her husband was on an international assignment for General Motors.
The Ruth Mott Foundation is a private family foundation established in Flint by Ruth Mott, a philanthropist and wife of automotive pioneer, Charles Stewart Mott. The Foundation’s mission is to stimulate and support community vitality through its focus on four priority areas in north Flint: youth, safety, economic opportunity and neighborhoods.
As president of the Ruth Mott Foundation, Thueme will work closely with the Board of Trustees on strategy and policy, and will also oversee community programs provided by Applewood. Her biggest responsibility, she says, is to listen to the community. “I want to continue the work we’ve been doing,” she says. “I look forward to the opportunity to enhance our work using the tools we have and continuing to improve what’s been successful.”
Thueme has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community for her new role. “It has been so inspiring to me that they have trust in the work we’ve done, and I am honored they have the confidence in my ability to lead.”
“Raquel has the spirit, integrity and skills needed to maintain the momentum occurring in north Flint. She’s a proven leader who has committed herself to listening to the people who live and work here.”
– Lawrence E. Moon
Foundation Trustee and North Flint Business Owner
She has always wanted to work in a job that made a difference and helped others, especially those of lower income or who have not had the opportunities available to others. “This work is highly personal to me,” she says. “My family moved from Mexico to fulfill a dream and that dream was fulfilled for me. I strive to pay that forward and help others have the same opportunities that I was given. I have a personal commitment and great passion to move forward.”
Photography by Kayce McClure