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These are columns written by the Founder and President of the Wege Foundation, Peter M. Wege, who served his country as an Army Air Force Officer during WW II. Drawing on his experience as a visionary, Peter is sharing the wisdom he’s learned in the trenches of good causes since 1967. His topics will be far ranging, but they will focus on the five passions of his life and Pillars of the Wege Foundation: The Environment, Education, Arts and Culture, Health Care, and Human Services.

 

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THE WEGE FOUNDATION: HOW IT ALL BEGAN

By Peter M. Wege

The Wege Foundation would not have a legacy to stand on if it were not for the genius of my father Peter Martin Wege who founded the Metal Office Furniture Company in 1912. M.O. F., as it was affectionately called, became Steelcase, Inc., on December 1, 1954.

That’s when M.O.F.’s advertising department suggested renaming the company Steelcase for the recognized brand name of its office furniture. Their choice was met with universal support by from the people in marketing, sales, and our dealers nationwide.

The extraordinary success of the newly named Steelcase gave me the opportunity to start the Wege Foundation in 1967. The Foundation was established to help fund needed public causes in the community where I was born and raised.

In 1998, with the help of my son Peter Martin and interested stockholders, we made Steelcase a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange. This move allowed the Wege Foundation to provide more major funding for needed local causes.

This family foundation continues to operate as an effective philanthropy that supports many non-profit organizations who are actively meeting the needs of the community. The Wege Foundation would not have a legacy to stand on, nor one to carry on into the future, without the brilliance of my father, Peter Martin Wege.

In another column, I will introduce you to my wonderful staff. You couldn’t find a better team anywhere! For today I will name the good trustees and officers of the Wege Foundation. I am Chairman of the Board; my son Peter M. Wege II is President; the Foundation’s attorney,
W. Michael Van Haren is Secretary; Ellen Satterlee, CEO of the Wege Foundation is Treasurer & Assistant Secretary; the three Trustees are my daughters Mary Goodwillie Nelson and Diana Wege and my son Jonathan M. Wege

Our Board’s Mission is supporting endeavors to create an environment in which all life can flourish through Education, Health, The Arts, and Economicology—the word I created to mean achieving a balance between economics and ecology.

It is my wish that the Wege Foundation continues as long as the family wants to carry on the legacy that was established at the birth of the Foundation in 1967.

 

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