The Eastern Michigan University Foundation of Trustees elected Dara Munson as board chair in late September.
Munson’s main responsibility as board chair of the EMU Foundation is to oversee and grow the endowment to provide financial support to current and future students. This is in partnership with the Board of Regents to further ensure sustainable financial conditions.
As a former undergraduate of EMU, Munson is the first Black woman to serve as board chair, and she feels that it’s an awesome responsibility to hold a position as board chair.
“It’s a personal accomplishment to serve students at EMU with a world-class, higher education,” Munson said.
Munson graduated in 1991 from Cass Tech High School, located on the west side of Detroit and a part of Detroit Public Schools.
Munson knew she wanted to attend a university that wasn’t too big for her personality. She decided that Eastern’s mid-size was perfect to start her academic career. With the university only 45 minutes away from home, located on a beautiful campus, and friends from Cass Tech by her side, Munson felt EMU was the place where she could fit in and connect with her peers.
Munson was torn between law and justice degrees as both were careers that had the ability to impact communities from the perspective of social justice. Munson obtained a bachelor’s in criminal justice from EMU after she had taken a tour of a juvenile detention facility in high school which piqued her interest in the justice system.
Through her time at EMU from 1991-1996, Munson was a member of the first Black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, in which she experienced two major opportunities to kick-start her career: leadership skills within her chapter and the creation of life-sustaining friendships, she said.
Building on her experience from her sorority, Munson went on to acquire her master’s in public administration. Both her degrees, the bachelor’s from EMU and master’s from Central Michigan University, allowed her to help her career flourish as well as the broader community.
With her work in the criminal and juvenile justice field, she started to have a keen interest in the nonprofit sector.
Her leadership skills allowed Munson to hone in on the nonprofit sector and work long-term within the communities that look like her and to further serve impacted families.
Munson has made a name for herself with many achievements as senior director at United Way, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, her current position of president and CEO of Family Focus, and her recent election as board chair of EMU Foundation Board of Trustees.
Munson believes her work in the nonprofit sector is necessary to support lives and families, which are the fabric of community and society, Munson said.
“Pay it forward,” Munson said, in reference to the goals and impacts she has made within criminal justice and how its structure cannot be sustained without individuals going in, like herself.