The story of Fremont Area Community Foundation begins all the way back in 1933.
A gift of $5,700 from the estate of Harry Williams established a fund to support Newaygo County. The same year, a bequest of $31,000 from Jacob Andrew Gerber was established for “worthy poor” and “charity patients.”
Mattie Gerber, wife of J. Andrew, added $74,000 to the fund her husband established. Little did she know that these gifts would multiply more than 354 times to help develop one of the largest community foundations (per capita) in the U.S.
Fremont attorney William J. Branstrom—along with Frank Gerber, Horace Loomis, Dick Pikaart, Herman Schuiteman, and Bessie Slautterback—created a private foundation called the Fremont Foundation.
Bessie Slautterback was hired as the Executive Secretary for the Fremont Foundation. She and Branstrom led the foundation through the 50s and 60s.
In response to tax laws favoring the deductibility of donations to public rather than private foundations, the Fremont Foundation reorganized to become a community foundation under IRS tax code.
Fremont Area Foundation was established with $10 million in assets, combining the funds of the private Fremont Foundation with other charitable funds including those of Harry Williams and J. Andrew and Mattie Gerber.
Fremont Area Foundation’s assets grew from $10 million to $65 million, granting approximately $2.5 million annually.
Gerber Products, Inc. was sold to Sandoz of Switzerland. Since the Foundation owned 1.8 million shares of Gerber stock, its assets nearly doubled to $109 million overnight.
Fremont Area Foundation decided to incorporate the word “Community” into its name to align with all Michigan community foundations and emphasize its goal to serve all of Newaygo County.
Elizabeth “Libby” Cherin, former Foundation president and CEO pictured above.
Fremont Area Community Foundation shares core values in A Declaration, inviting the community to turn Impossibility to I’m Possibility.
Carla Roberts hired as new President and CEO.
Fremont Area Community Foundation Board of Trustees approved a new strategic framework detailing five focus areas to guide its work— education, community and economic development, natural resources, nonprofit sustainability, and poverty to prosperity.
Fremont Area Community Foundation Board of Trustees adopted goals, frameworks, and grantmaking guidelines for three focus areas: community and economic development, education, and poverty to prosperity.