Lesley Slavitt, who since 2015 served as the CEO of the FCA Foundation -- formerly known as the Chrysler Foundation -- has left the organization. The foundation declined to comment on the circumstances of her departure.
Christine Estereicher is serving as the interim head of the foundation, and Shane Karr, head of external affairs at FCA North America, remains president of it.
Slavitt was responsible for helping the foundation last year shape its four new areas of focus: youth development, support for veterans and their families, education and service.
The foundation, which relies on its automotive parent, FCA US LLC, for cash infusions, expects to make about $4 million in grants this year, double the amount it made last year, Karr said in an emailed statement.
As Crain's Detroit Business reported in the annual Giving Guide last fall, the foundation has gradually been ramping up its grants in recent years, but they are a fraction of what they were before the recession. Crain's Detroit Business is an affiliate of Automotive News.
While still operating as the Chrysler Foundation, it made $20 million in grants in 2007. Its giving dropped to less than $1 million in 2010 and has been about $2 million and $4 million each year since.
Since 2009, the FCA Foundation has made nearly $24 million in grants to charitable organizations, Karr said.
In 2015, most of its grants were made in Southeast Michigan. Last year, about three-quarters were.
This year, about half of its grants will be made here as the automaker aims to provide support across the North American communities where FCA operates and support national nonprofits to increase its impact, Karr said.
Last year, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne stepped up to serve as the volunteer chair of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan's annual campaign for two years, through 2018.
In its first round of funding this year, FCA Foundation this week announced $900,000 in grants in the education area, aimed at helping students from pre-K through college overcome obstacles, improve academic performance and gain the practical skills they need to succeed.