Kickstart to Career Newaygo County savings accounts are now open and ready for deposits.

Created by Fremont Area Community Foundation in partnership with ChoiceOne Bank, Kickstart to Career is a child savings account program designed to build aspirations, encourage savings, increase financial education, and assist with post-secondary education and career expenses. After high school graduation, students can withdraw their savings and use it toward qualifying post-secondary expenses including tuition, books, job training, and required supplies.

This fall, all kindergarten students living in Newaygo County and attending any Newaygo County public school, Grant Christian School, or Fremont Christian School were automatically enrolled and have received a deposit-only savings account. Students have also met with ChoiceOne Bank staff to learn about saving for the future and received special piggy banks for saving.

Along with an initial $50 deposit from the Community Foundation, students can earn additional deposits each school year. Other individuals can also make deposits into an account at any time by visiting a ChoiceOne Bank. Relatives and friends may consider making deposits as part of a holiday or birthday gift or in recognition of other milestones and events in a student’s life.

Student account numbers are being mailed home along with more details about the program and local ChoiceOne Bank branch information.

For more details on Kickstart to Career Newaygo County, visit

It was recently announced that Todd Jacobs, our vice president and chief philanthropy officer, has been named the new president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County. We are very sad to see Todd go, but we are happy for him and for this career achievement! Todd is originally from the Muskegon area, and it is always exciting to see a native son bring the skills and talents he has developed in his career back to his hometown.

Since rejoining the Fremont Area Community Foundation staff in 2013, Todd has expanded outreach, developed new giving opportunities, and launched key initiatives, like Kickstart to Career Newaygo County. We know that he is going to accomplish even more great things with our friends in Muskegon County. We enjoy a close relationship with the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, meeting regularly and collaborating on a number of projects. We are glad to know we will be able to continue working with Todd in the future as he serves in this new position.

Todd will remain with us through mid-December. Transition plans include the promotion of Wes Miller to director of philanthropic services in January and other internal changes over the coming weeks as more staff members take on additional responsibilities.

Please join us in thanking Todd for his years of faithful service to Fremont Area Community Foundation and in wishing him well in his new role in Muskegon County!

Fremont Area Community Foundation supports the 911 surcharge proposal appearing on Newaygo County ballots this Election Day. We feel strongly that we must ensure Newaygo County’s Central Dispatch has the updated technology it needs to continue providing all of us with safe, efficient 911 services.

Our local 911 dispatchers provide 24-7 lifesaving operations that all of us rely on. In 2017, local dispatchers placed or received 71,835 calls and dispatched 34,581 incidents. And we ask them to do all of this on a system built in 2002 and running on a Windows 2000 server. Think for a moment of how many times you’ve replaced and updated your own personal technology like computers, laptops, or cell phones in the last 16 years.

The primary source of funding for technology updates—like the ones our dispatchers so desperately need—is the 911 surcharge on land lines and contracted cell phones/devices. In 2003, Newaygo County voters approved a surcharge of up to $3 per month. But even with this support, the surcharge requires approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission. In 2008, they reduced the surcharge, causing revenues to significantly decrease over the last 10 years. Currently, the surcharge is $1.95 per month.

On November 6, Newaygo County voters will be asked to reinstate the $3 surcharge. The total increase would be just $1.05 month—less than four cents per day! Funding will be used exclusively for supporting 911 equipment and services in Newaygo County. Over the next 10 years it will cover the costs of purchasing a main computer system for 911 communications and documentation, a telephone system, dispatch radio consoles, and more lifesaving technology.

The Community Foundation is proud to join the Police and Fire Chiefs Associations in supporting this proposal. As an organization committed to improving the quality of life for everyone in Newaygo County, we feel that it is our responsibility to support the lifesaving work of Newaygo County 911 Central Dispatch.

To learn more about this proposal, view our fact sheet.