On May 24, Fremont Area Community Foundation (FACF) hosted 65 guests at its annual Spring Donors Luncheon.

The luncheon program focused on the Community Foundation’s work with local partners to move residents from poverty to prosperity. Carla Roberts, FACF president and CEO, introduced the program by talking about the Community Foundation’s in-depth exploration of poverty in Newaygo County and how research informed a shift in funding priorities.

“We learned that while the Community Foundation had expended over $22.5 million from 2000 to 2012, we were seeing a steady increase in the number of families living in distress,” said Roberts. “We knew that we needed to shift our funding from poverty alleviation to poverty reduction. Or, to coin a common phrase, from giving a person a fish to teaching them how to fish.”

Representatives from two programs working to empower local families—Circles Newaygo County and Hope 101—shared how their organizations are undertaking this work.

Circles Newaygo County at TrueNorth Community Services is a program that helps local families set goals and work toward self-reliance. Participants are paired with volunteer mentors, connecting people across socioeconomic levels.

Michelle Marciniak, Circles coordinator, shared stories from the first Circles group. She explained that since the beginning of the program, participants have been able to purchase vehicles, apply for jobs, gain employment, and make other concrete steps toward independence.

Reverend Barbara Boss of Family of God Community Church in Newaygo spoke about the church’s Hope 101 ministry. Hope 101 is a relational transitional housing program. In 2014, the church purchased and renovated a three-apartment home that now provides a safe place for family units to live while they set goals and work toward self-sufficiency. The church has recently begun renovations on a second home, which was donated outright to the ministry.

Boss also thanked luncheon participants—all donors to the Community Foundation—for their role in making grant support to programs like Circles and Hope 101 possible.

“I say thank you to each of you for giving this way to support the community,” said Boss.

Carla Roberts concluded the luncheon by giving guests a quick overview of the Community Foundation’s theory of change, outlining the organization’s role in the community and the steps it will take to achieve its goal of improving the quality of life in Newaygo County.

More photos from the Spring Donors Luncheon can be viewed on the Community Foundation’s Facebook page at facebook.com/FremontAreaCF.

Back to Press Releases