Please join us in welcoming new SWMLC Executive Director, Michael Larson.

Deeply rooted in southwest Michigan, Mike has fond childhood memories of camping, hunting, and fishing at his grandparents’ cottages on Gun and Payne Lakes. He looks forward to blending his passion for nature with the experience and practical wisdom he gained while serving for more than two decades as President and CEO of United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region and Michigan Association of United Ways.

Mike lives in Battle Creek with his wife Heather, two daughters Devon and Ava, and three lively German shorthairs – and may still be found pursuing outdoor interests with family and friends.

We are excited to have Mike on board, and we appreciate your continued support and understanding as we navigate this period of transition for SWMLC. Change is always challenging, but it also offers opportunities for growth. We look forward to growing as an organization, and to doing even more of the important conservation work that will keep our region strong and resilient far into the future. Look for opportunities to meet Mike at some of our events this spring!

“We tend to take advantage of Michigan’s beautiful natural resources while also taking them for granted. SWMLC’s mission to protect and care for nature so that it will be here for others in the future is so needed. I’m excited to be part of this organization and working with this great team!”

Michael Larson


The Board of Directors of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) announced today that Michael Larson will serve as the next Executive Director. Larson will build on a strong foundation of over 30 years of SWMLC history as he assumes the role in April 2023.

SWMLC Board Chair Bruce Grubb said, “We’re excited to have Mike onboard, and we look forward to him applying his 30+ years of experience in nonprofit administration and fundraising to helping SWMLC conserve and steward even more land, help ensure water quality, biodiversity, and resiliency in our region, and help connect even more people with nature.”

Larson has earned a reputation as a community-focused strategist, convener, and collaborative leader. He brings more than two decades of executive management experience to SWMLC, having served a catalytic role in promoting the growth and success of mission-driven organizations. Most recently, Larson held the role of President & Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW), where he led the organization since 2017. During his tenure, Larson provided leadership and capacity-building for all Michigan United Ways. Prior to leading MAUW, Larson served as the leader of various Michigan United Ways.  Notably, he led the merger of the United Ways of Greater Battle Creek and Kalamazoo into a single organization, providing the vision and leadership for the newly formed organization.

As an avid outdoorsman and resident of Southwest Michigan for over two decades, Larson is deeply committed to the region and to the mission of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. Larson said, “SWMLC’s mission to protect and care for nature so that it will be here for others in the future is so needed. I’m excited to be part of this organization and working with this great team!”

Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy is a nonprofit land conservation organization that was founded by a group of passionate citizens who wanted to protect southwest Michigan’s wild and scenic places for the benefit of wildlife and future generations of people. Serving the nine counties of southwest Michigan since 1991, SWMLC has protected over 18,000 acres of forests, wetlands, savannas, prairies, dunes, lakeshore, farms, and vineyards in our area. SWMLC works with volunteers and landowners to improve habitat, ensure water quality, support biodiversity, connect people with nature, and help families conserve the land they love – now and for generations to come.  Larson will assume leadership of the organization as it starts its next phase of strategic planning.

Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy partnered with Koya Partners, an executive search firm that specializes in leading mission-driven searches, to conduct the national search.