Fort Gratiot, MI
Recognized for cultivating an atmosphere of trust and respect while helping clients achieve professional prosperity, Donna Niester has combined her knowledge gained as a Northwood University Advertising student and experience as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) toward the promotion of private, public and philanthropic growth within several large community development projects.
Having joined Jim Acheson and the Acheson Ventures Team in 2000 to assist with real estate development and philanthropic efforts, Niester now serves as Chief Executive Officer of the organization and as Vice President of its James C. Acheson Foundation.
While cultivating these efforts she has been instrumental with the development of Studio 1219, the largest public art gallery and studio space in Michigan’s Thumb Region; the Blue Water River Walk, a $6 million dollar effort to rebuild almost one mile of shoreline along the St. Clair River, and the construction Oak Crest Homes, a model community on the south side of Port Huron. Additionally, her philanthropic efforts on behalf of the organization include initial funding and construction of a monetized donation system for the Clair County College Access program which now serves as a statewide prototype, extensive collaboration and funding for a long-term residence for homeless youth, and more.
Ms. Niester has served on the governor-appointed Michigan Community Service Commission since 2005 and as a volunteer in leadership positions for the Port Huron Hospital and its Foundation, Blue Water Health Services and the Port Huron Golf Club. A board member of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County since 2003, in 2013 she became the first woman board chair in its 70 year-history. One of the founding members of the Foundation’s Women’s Initiative, she personally organizes a private fundraising event to support women with cancer and is also a member of the Council of Michigan Foundations and the National Council on Foundations.