How U of M’s Henry Johnson is building a brighter future for seniors

Giving back has always been part of Henry Johnson’s life philosophy. Even in his twenty-plus years as a vice president at the University of Michigan, the first African-American to hold an administrative position there, Johnson always found time to volunteer.

By the time he’d gotten involved with PVM and the PVM Foundation, he’d already served on numerous non-profit boards. With a background in social work, Johnson knew his stuff. And he recognized the crucial work PVM was doing.

“One of the things that really hooked me with PVM was the range of services for seniors – not just in terms of housing specifically, but the accompanying services that go with it,” Johnson says. “I thought, ‘This is an organization that isn’t just limited to the well-to-do. It covers a range of socio-economic needs of seniors.’”

Because Johnson’s wife, Billie, leads the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, he knows the challenges seniors face as they enter their twilight years. And as board member of both PVM and the PVM Foundation, he feels strongly “that anybody who serves on the board should make an ongoing commitment while they’re alive – not only after they pass, but while they’re serving on the board.”

That’s why the Johnsons chose to include the PVM Foundation in Henry’s will. And why he encourages others to do the same.

“There’s a phrase that we use in our church: ‘Come and seek,’” says Johnson, a member of First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor. “Visit PVM and get a tour and talk to the residents. Come and see what those dollars, no matter how expansive or limited they might be, can do.”


Any gift, large or small, can make a difference. The Johnsons’ legacy will help ensure the future of PVM’s compassionate, life-sustaining services for years to come.Won’t you join them in making a difference for seniors?

Contact us at 248-281-2040 or to learn more, or visit

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