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.