Fremont Area Community Foundation recently welcomed three new members to its Board of Trustees.
Lola Harmon-Ramsey, Kent Karnemaat, and Denise Suttles were elected in June and joined 12 other Board Trustees who guide the Community Foundation’s operations, strategic direction, and grant allocations.
Lola Harmon-Ramsey is a lifelong resident of Fremont. She and her husband have two children and own Cart-Right Recycling. Growing up, her family made community involvement a priority, and Harmon-Ramsey has continued this commitment as an adult.
“It’s important to be involved and to help make change,” said Harmon-Ramsey. “If I don’t do it, who will be there for the programs and services that have helped me, my grandparents, and my kids?”
Harmon-Ramsey said she is looking forward to being part of an organization committed to helping other nonprofit organizations grow and become more sustainable. She also hopes to encourage her peers to become more involved in community philanthropy. Above all, she said, “it is an honor to be able to have a voice for the residents of Newaygo County.”
Kent Karnemaat, an owner of Karnemaat Farms, was also raised in Fremont. He and his wife chose to raise their 10 children in Fremont as well. With a deep commitment to Newaygo County’s quality of life, Karnemaat cites education and employment as two areas of special interest.
“I want to do anything I can to encourage people to get an education,” he said. “We have to make sure we have an educated, trained work force in Newaygo County.”
Serving as a Trustee was a unique way to contribute to Newaygo County. “I have been a recipient of all the benefits of living in this community,” said Karnemaat. “All good things take effort and work to get started and to keep them going. I am at a place in my life where I can help do that work.”
Denise Suttles moved from Grand Rapids to Woodland Park 15 years ago and quickly immersed herself in the community. She became a pastor at First Baptist Church of Woodland Park where she helped build an extensive youth program. She also worked with Project Focus and volunteers in local schools.
“I have a heart for youth and for breaking the generational cycle of poverty,” said Suttles, whose motivation stems from her own childhood. “I was one of those children. I can identify. It takes radical passion to change generational cycles.”
Suttles brings that passion to the Community Foundation where she is particularly excited about the developing poverty to prosperity work. “I like the focus on community and long-range goals of changing the mindset of poverty,” said Suttles. “I’m excited to be here for these changes. It’s a joy.”
All three new Trustees will play a vital role in the future of the Community Foundation.
“We are excited to welcome Lola, Kent, and Denise to the Board of Trustees,” said Carla Roberts, Community Foundation President and CEO. “Their knowledge, perspectives, and commitment to the people of Newaygo County will only serve to enhance our work in the community.”