Audience in Lecture






President and CEO


Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit


Dan Varner is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, which works to provide economic security, independence, and greater dignity to vulnerable members of the Detroit community. Goodwill Detroit operates Goodwill Automotive (a Tier 1 automotive supplier), Goodwill’s Green Works (an industrial recycling operation) and retail locations throughout the Detroit area to provide funding, training opportunities and educational resources for the organization’s major programs, including workforce training programs for people who are returning from incarceration, developmentally disabled, mentally ill, underemployed, unemployed, and veterans.
Prior to joining Goodwill, Dan served as the CEO at Excellent Schools Detroit, a coalition of Detroit’s leading organizations working to improve Detroit’s public education systems; worked as a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where he co-led the foundation’s redevelopment of a local giving strategy for Detroit; and he is also the cofounder and former CEO of a nationally-recognized, award-winning youth development organization called Think Detroit, which Dan led through a merger with Detroit PAL to create the largest provider of award-winning youth development sports programs in Detroit, now serving 13,000 participants annually.

Dan has received numerous awards, and his work has been recognized by two Presidential administrations. He is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and serves on numerous boards, including the ACLU-Michigan, ConnectEd, Capital Impact Partners, and Detroit PAL, and served on Michigan’s State Board of Education for four years. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School.