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Renee Sovis manages the grantmaking operations for our clients, leading our team’s work with the Margaret Dunning Foundation.  She also supports the international efforts of the Holtzman Wildlife Foundation and, as needed, assists with other foundation and major donor clients.  As a program officer, Ms. Sovis conducts application due diligence including site visits, financial reviews, and project assessments.  She presents her findings and reports other grant opportunities to the Board of Directors, and she processes, monitors, and evaluates foundation grants.  Additionally, she researches and explores potential grantmaking opportunities for the Board to consider.  Ms. Sovis enjoys working with both grantmakers and grantseekers to understand their goals and make meaningful connections.

Before joining Neithercut Philanthropy, Ms. Sovis was a small business owner, an organization manager, and a nonprofit consultant.  As the owner of a retail clothing business, she was responsible for creating business plans, reviewing sales and financial goals, operational management, bookkeeping, and marketing.  As a senior manager of a community wellness organization, Ms. Sovis led a team of 60+ full- and part-time staff, and oversaw operations, communications, and event coordination.  In addition, she led a consultancy that included recruiting and training staff, project management, fundraising, organizational strategy, and coaching.

Ms. Sovis holds a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies, with a concentration in environmental advocacy, from Grand Valley State University.  She is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Administration program, with a concentration in philanthropy and nonprofits, at Central Michigan University.  She’s a graduate of Leadership Grand Traverse and the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) Leadership Development & Mentoring Program.  A member of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), Ms. Sovis recently joined its Michigan Chapter Steering Committee as secretary.  She frequently participates in educational opportunities through CMF, EPIP, the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, and the National Center for Family Philanthropy, among others.  Ms. Sovis recently published an article on how to conduct site visits in the Family Foundation Advisor.

In her community, Ms. Sovis is a volunteer for the Great Lakes Humane Society and Big Brothers Big Sisters, and is a volunteer coach for Norte Youth Cycling.  She has served on the advisory committee for TEDxTraverseCity since 2011 and has been the event lead for the past several years.  Ms. Sovis recently joined the Capacity Advisory Pool at Rotary Charities to assist northern Michigan nonprofits with navigating foundation relations.

Ms. Sovis is inspired by her Michigan upbringing and is often found outside enjoying the state’s natural beauty while running, cycling, and paddleboarding with her energetic husky, Ziggy, and her equally energetic husband, Wes.  Indoors, she appreciates a good book and a good yoga class.