Local health and human service organizations and community members involved in family caregiving are invited to attend a special workshop on March 5 designed to help you better understand the caregiving experience and to build community awareness and support.

Mapping Ourselves will introduce participants to several tools that will help you gain a better understanding of how you give and receive care, how caregiving impacts your life, and how communities can work together to better support caregivers. Each tool is designed to help you observe, visualize, and analyze different aspects of your wellbeing and community.

Mapping Ourselves
March 5 | 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
NC RESA Educational Service Center (4747 W 48th Street, Fremont)

The workshop is free and includes lunch, but space is limited. RSVP today

This workshop is part of the We All Care initiative presented by the Elderly Needs Fund at the Community Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, and Atlas of Caregiving, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to researching and promoting a greater understanding of caregiving. Similar workshops are also being held in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Lansing.

Donna Trice of White Cloud was recently elected to serve on Fremont Area Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Trice and her family moved to the area from Detroit in the late 1980s. Her career included 29 years at Gerber Life. Trice then spent a year traveling to visit family and working on projects at home before realizing that retirement wasn’t for her. She now works for State Farm in White Cloud and is earning her license as an insurance agent. She is also very active in her community and her church, where she serves as secretary, board member, and a mentor to young women.

“I enjoy helping people,” said Trice. “Giving back is very important. It’s not just about helping yourself; it’s important to reach back and help somebody else too.”

As she begins her service with the Community Foundation board, Trice said that she looks forward to learning more about the organization’s work and how it impacts the community.

“I thought serving on the Community Foundation board would be very interesting and that I could learn from it,” said Trice. “I’m excited about learning more about what the Community Foundation does and how I can take it back to my community. I want to be a voice for my community.”

Circles USA recently released a study of the impact of the phenomenon known as the “cliff effect” on Michigan families. The study was commissioned by Fremont Area Community Foundation in conjunction with Circles Newaygo County, a program of TrueNorth Community Services.

The cliff effect occurs when even a minor increase in a family’s income causes an abrupt loss of eligibility for social safety net programs like food, housing, and child care assistance. The salary increase is often not enough to cover the resulting gap and families end up falling farther behind. To avoid the cliff effect, individuals may stay out of the workforce or turn down raises, promotions, or better-paying jobs. In addition to keeping workers from advancing, the cliff effect can be a barrier to local workforce development as employers struggle to fill positions and retain and promote talent.

The Circles report combines research on the cliff effect with data from Michigan households utilizing public support. The report summarizes the commonly used public support programs in Michigan and offers an overview of efforts undertaken in other states. For example, many states have implemented policy reforms specifically to reduce the cliff effect as it relates to child care assistance.

In addition to research, the report offers several policy recommendations. Recommendations include restructuring programs, adjusting household income limits, and adjusting child care reimbursement rates to reflect market rates for highly-rated daycare providers.

“Social safety net programs are especially important to the more than 40 percent of local workers who have jobs but still struggle to make ends meet each month,” said Carla Roberts, Community Foundation president and CEO. “There is more month than paycheck and safety net programs are critical for those families. Addressing the cliff effect is also crucial to strengthening our local workforce and economy. As we understand more about how the cliff effect works in Michigan, we’re learning more about how we can work together with the community and policymakers to address these challenges.”

To read the full report, click HERE.

Circles USA is a national organization that seeks to engage communities in addressing and reducing poverty. A local chapter, Circles Newaygo County, is funded in part by grants from the Community Foundation.

Kickstart to Career Newaygo County—the local children’s savings account program now in its second year—will be the subject of a study by a University of Michigan research team led by Dr. William Elliott III.

Elliott is a professor of social work at the University of Michigan and is the nation’s leading researcher in the fields of college savings accounts, college debt, and wealth inequality. He has studied similar programs across the country and has written books about student debt and the potential of children’s savings accounts.

“Kickstart to Career is part of a growing movement not only in Michigan but across the country to help families meet education costs and build a culture of college-going within our communities,” said Elliott.

Kickstart to Career was launched in 2018 through a partnership between Fremont Area Community Foundation, ChoiceOne Bank, and local school districts. Kindergartners  receive a deposit-only savings account with $50. They have the opportunity to earn $50 more each year and family and friends can make deposits into a child’s account at any time. Upon high school graduation, the accounts can be used for continuing education and career expenses like tuition, books, supplies, and training. Classroom presentations by ChoiceOne Bank will also help students learn more about saving money, using a bank, credit, and other financial literacy topics.

Research has shown that children who have even a small savings account have higher expectations of their own futures and increased likelihood of enrollment and completion of college and career training. The idea of a child savings account program was especially compelling to the Community Foundation because research has also shown that adults who had savings accounts as children have improved financial literacy, higher levels of savings, and even healthier credit.

“The tool is a children’s savings account, but it’s much more than that,” said Carla Roberts, Community Foundation president and CEO. “It prepares students to be financially healthy as adults and encourages kids to dream, plan, and save for their futures. We believe that will transform the culture of the whole community as well. We’re excited for the University of Michigan team to focus their research on our program and measure its impact. The research being done here can help other communities exploring the idea of children’s savings accounts.”

The research project is expected to include academic, social, and emotional development connected to Kickstart to Career over a four-year period. The first surveys were distributed to parents this fall .

For more information about Kickstart to Career, visit kickstarttocareer.org or call the Community Foundation at 231.924.5350.

A group of local business leaders gathered on October 22 for lunch and to discuss barriers to workforce development in Newaygo County. The luncheon was hosted by Gerber Life Insurance in partnership with Fremont Area Community Foundation.

After a welcome from Luci Moore and Bob McDonald of Gerber Life Insurance, business leaders heard from Tammy Britton, project manager with Talent 2025.

Talent 2025 is a group of West Michigan CEOs working to ensure an ongoing supply of world-class talent for the West Michigan region. Talent 2025 has done extensive research into the barriers that keep people out of the workforce. A lack of reliable transportation to and from work is one of the most common barriers.

Next, Debbi Coleman of Hope Network talked about Wheels to Work. Since it began in 2016 in Walker, the program has provided employees with reliable, efficient transportation to and from work. Using Hope Network’s buses and software, Wheels to Work maps out efficient routes and offers hub-based and curb-to-curb service. Individuals and their employers share the cost of the service, with the employee portion automatically deducted from paychecks. Some employers cover the full cost.

Currently operating in Kent and Ottawa counties, Wheels to Work hopes to expand into other counties and areas.

“We’re trying to find affordable and reliable transportation to and from work for everyone in our region,” said Coleman. “It’s about getting people to work. There are these hidden pockets of talent we’re discovering, and their only barrier was a lack of transportation.”

After the presentation, Carla Roberts, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, invited interested participants to join a working group to study how local businesses may be able to collaborate to bring this service to Newaygo County.

Join us for these dynamic, in-depth workshops to build the essential tools you need to make your organization stronger and create positive change in your community.

All workshops will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Regional Center for AgriScience and Career Advancement (5479 W 72nd Street, Fremont). Check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m. for each session.

Workshops will be led by Tamela Spicer, program manager at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, and are part of the Community Foundation’s Community Partner Effectiveness initiative.

All sessions are free to attend and include lunch, but space is limited. Reserve your seat now using the links below. Call 231.924.5350 for more information.

This workshop series is presented for organizations based in or primarily serving the residents of Newaygo, Lake, Mecosta, or Osceola counties.

Wednesday, November 20
Bring your ideas for potential grant proposals to this seminar where we’ll go step-by-step through the process of writing a grant. To supplement your skills, the seminar will provide in-depth guidance on proposal development as well as tips on grant writing language and writing styles, prospecting foundations, and managing foundation relationships.
Register now

Wednesday, December 18
The future holds no guarantees but quality succession planning can help ensure the long-term sustainability of your organization. This seminar will help both staff and board leadership understand the needs for succession planning, as well as provide insights on drafting such plans and helping your organization prepare for the future!
Register now

Wednesday, January 15
We know that financial issues impact programmatic results. In this seminar, we’ll discuss financial statements, budgets, reserves, policies, and processes for resource management for nonprofit organizations. You’ll gain insights and tools for keeping your budgets on track! Julie Couturier, director of operations at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, will be a co-presenter for this session.
Register now

Wednesday, February 19
Is your annual fund program meeting your organization’s fiscal needs? Do you have a plan in place to identify prospects, request support, involve your board, and increase gifts from one year to the next? In this session, you’ll walk through a step-by-step process to managing a more effective annual fund program and gain a stronger understanding of how to align event management to support your organization’s goals.
Register now

Wednesday, March 18
Going beyond the basics, you will engage in a higher level of conversation about how the role of boards and board members advance your organization’s mission. Engage in strategic conversations about trends and issues facing nonprofit organizations with discussion of the board’s role in each topic.
Register now