*In 2022, we would like to tell you more about the Chamber’s partner organizations. Today’s feature is the Community Foundation for Mason County. The Community Foundation office is housed with the Chamber of Commerce at 119 S. Rath Avenue, Ludington.
Supported by a large number of donors, the Community Foundation for Mason County has made important investments in local endeavors since its inception in 1988. In 2021 alone, the foundation’s grants totaled $1,062,998 awarded to community organizations.
With 170 existing funds, three main areas are part of the foundation’s strategic goals:
- Advancing educational attainment (education)
- Improving workforce supports (community and economic development)
- Increasing recreation and quality of life opportunities (community development)
“Our grants connect our donors and nonprofits around a common desire to build a stronger community,” said Andrea Large, Community Foundation executive director.
Last year’s grants included $164,887 through the Community Foundation’s competitive grant process, and $898,111 granted from donor-advised, scholarship, community project, and organization endowment funds. Grants from Community Foundation funds provided support to a wide variety of projects including:
- Healthy meal kits for Lakeshore Food Club
- Scottville River erosion control
- Visible artifact storage at the Mason County Historical Society
- Autumn olive brush eradication
- Support of a new rescue boat in Riverton Township
- Sensory resources for students with disabilities
- Many more
Youth Advisory Council
The Community Foundation for Mason County also oversees a local Youth Advisory Council, designed to help create a strong philanthropic training ground for youth. It’s one of 86 YACs across Michigan. The goal is to help young people learn generosity and leadership and, at the same time, build stronger and more caring communities.
This year’s YAC is made up of 19 student representatives from Mason County schools and supported by adult advisors. The group of young people is Mason County’s own local panel of experts regarding youth issues who provide recommendations to the Community Foundation’s board of directors about grants to be awarded from the fund each year.
KickStart to Career
Additionally, the foundation has established the KickStart to Career program, which allows all Mason County students to open and contribute to a bank account, giving them a boost for career training and college upon high school graduation. The goal is to strengthen a college-going culture in Mason County by starting early the conversation about continuing education.
Each kindergarten account is seeded with $50, thanks to the John and Anita Wilson Family Fund held at the Community Foundation. Match and incentive opportunities are made available by area businesses and local donors. West Shore Bank houses the accounts and partners with Safe Harbor Credit Union to provide financial planning education for students and their families.
“Our goal is to create hope and opportunity for all of our students across Mason County and give them a great start to planning for their future,” Andrea Large said. “We are so grateful for the support of our education, financial and community partners to help make this opportunity a reality.
Community Foundation grant applications are accepted twice each year, once in the spring and again in the fall. Nonprofit organizations interested in seeking grant support from the Community Foundation are encouraged to visit https://mason-foundation.org/grants/applying-for-a-grant/ for additional information about the process.
To donate to the Community Foundation, visit https://mason-foundation.org/give/