After nearly a decade of service to Newaygo County, Carla Roberts, president and CEO of Fremont Area Community Foundation, has announced her intention to retire from her position by the end of 2021. Roberts will continue in her leadership role at the Community Foundation until a successor is announced and brought on staff.

Roberts provided notice to the trustees in 2019 of her plans for retirement and a small planning committee was formed to consider the necessary steps to move forward. Following the public announcement, a search committee to find Roberts’ successor will be led by board chair Joe Roberson and vice-chair Lori Tubbergen Clark. “The search committee will be representative of the entire region served by the Community Foundation,” said Roberson. “In the interest of transparency and public engagement, we determined it was best to make an announcement sooner rather than later.”

According to Tubbergen Clark, “A process for filling a position of this nature is expected to take 12-16 months. We are pleased that Carla is willing to continue in her role as president and CEO until we have completed the search.”

Next March, Roberts will celebrate 10 years as president and CEO. During her tenure, the Community Foundation moved to a more strategic form of grantmaking in order to fulfill the organization’s mission—to improve the quality of life in Newaygo County—in deep and lasting ways. An inclusive process that involved trustees, staff, and community residents further defined “quality of life” as a vibrant economy, an effective public sector, and well-being across socioeconomic levels. Roberts was instrumental in the organizational process to identify the Community Foundation’s three decade goals: community and economic development, education, and moving residents from poverty to prosperity.

“It has been a privilege to serve the people of this community,” said Roberts. In reflecting on the upcoming transition period, she expressed confidence in the staff and board to continue as good stewards of the Community Foundation resources. “The team that is in place is a group of solid professionals who know how to deliver on our mission in partnership with donors and the local nonprofit sector.”

“On behalf of the board, I want to thank Carla for her years of service and significant impact on Newaygo County,” said Roberson. “We are exceedingly grateful for her leadership and look forward to finding another exceptional individual to guide our Community Foundation into the future.”

Updated Monday, March 16

In order to proactively guard the health of our staff and their families, as well as our many stakeholders, Fremont Area Community Foundation will be closing our office starting tomorrow, March 17. Normal functions will continue as much as possible, with many of our staff members working adaptive schedules from home. You can reach our team via email or by calling the main line.

We also know this crisis is impacting those in our community who are most vulnerable and we are working hard to determine the best ways for committed individuals and local philanthropy to respond. Stay tuned to our website and social media for ways you can get involved.

 

Original post: Friday, March 13

A message from Carla Roberts, president and CEO, regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) preparation and support

To our community,

Fremont Area Community Foundation is currently monitoring the local impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in both the state and our local region. While the situation is constantly evolving, our highest priority is to preserve the health of our employees, trustees, grantees, donors, and larger community. As such, we wanted to provide an update on the active steps currently underway (as of 3/13/2020).

Our office
We are taking every precaution to protect the health and well-being of our employees. Our internal response plan follows the guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control (such as hand washing, regular sanitation of surfaces, and requiring sick employees to stay home) and our essential services team will regularly monitor and comply with public health requests and recommendations. It may ultimately be necessary to close our office to ensure the safety of our staff and larger community. If such a step is taken, we will let stakeholders know and make every effort to continue to offer vital services such as accepting and deploying emergency funds.

Upcoming events
All Community Foundation events being held in the next few months are being reviewed for possible cancellation, postponement, or alternate accommodation (i.e. virtual meeting). Once decisions are made, registrants and stakeholders will be informed in a timely manner through email, phone call, social media, or on our website.

Nonprofit resources
There will likely be a need for increased services for the nonprofits in our community and philanthropy may have a role to play. Please be assured we are in discussions and exploring options to support our community and we will share more information as it becomes available. We remain informed about emerging vital needs through Newaygo County Emergency Services and other channels.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. In challenging times like these, we find ourselves exceedingly grateful for the caring and collaborative nature of the people in this community. As we learn more about local needs, we will share our responses and welcome hearing from you in the meantime.

Best regards,

Carla A. Roberts
President and CEO

Lindsay Hager of Fremont will be the new director of community investment at Fremont Area Community Foundation. He joined the staff on June 17.

Hager brings many years of experience with the Community Foundation to his new role overseeing the community investment team and strategic initiative work. He has been on the Board of Trustees for eight years and has served as both board chair and chair of the Distribution Committee, which provides grantmaking oversight. Previously, Hager served for nine years on the Elderly Needs Fund board.

“I am excited for this opportunity to serve Newaygo County and work with an exceptional team of donors, trustees, staff, and grantees,” said Hager.

In addition to his experience with the Community Foundation, Hager is president of Hager Consulting and has worked for 30 years in the affordable housing and community development field. He has worked with a wide variety of municipal and nonprofit clients on strategic plans, feasibility studies, project management, and grant administration.

“We are fortunate to have attracted this talent to our team,” said Carla Roberts, Community Foundation president and CEO. “Lindsay is well-versed in all aspects of our organization, including our strategic plan and initiative work. We are excited to welcome him to the staff.”

In addition to Hager’s hiring, Mark Petz has been promoted to senior community investment officer and will provide leadership to grantmaking staff. Jenna Smalligan was also promoted to community investment officer and will serve as lead staff in the Community Foundation’s poverty to prosperity focus area.

The Community Foundation recently welcomed two new staff members.

Casey Houston joins us as an administrative assistant. She will work with Foundation Manager Maria Gonzalez to serve our three geographic affiliates—Lake, Mecosta, and Osceola county community foundations—as well as the Elderly Needs Fund and Amazing X Charitable Trust supporting organizations. Casey grew up in the area, attended Central Michigan University, and has a background in event planning and hospitality. She looks forward to giving back to the community through her work, and we’re happy to have her join our team!

Dan Wheat joins our grantmaking team as a community investment officer. In this role, he will be responsible for the review, analysis, presentation, and monitoring of grant proposals and projects, particularly in the area of community and economic development. Dan is from Grant and is a fourth-generation Newaygo County resident with a deep knowledge of our area. He brings many years of experience in the banking industry and has also served on our Amazing X and Professional Advisory boards. We’re excited to have him join us!

After 20 years with the Community Foundation, Mary Huisjen will retire at the end of January.

Callers and visitors to the Community Foundation are often first greeted by Mary, who has served as our receptionist and special projects associate. Mary started at the Community Foundation in November 1998 after working for Gerber Products for 19 years in order invoicing and baby care marketing.

One of Mary’s favorite parts of her job at the Community Foundation has been the wide range of projects she has worked on.

“I enjoyed the variety in responsibilities over my 20 years here,” said Mary. “I knew that no day would be like any other.”

In addition to her role in administrative services, Mary has worked with scholarship recipients and donors, served as an advisor and mentor to the Youth Advisory Committee, and provided key leadership on the Community Foundation’s prairie restoration project. These efforts were recognized on a state level in October when the prairie received the President’s Award from Keep Michigan Beautiful.

“I’ve really enjoyed that here at the Community Foundation we are focused on the community,” said Mary. “That makes you feel good about your work at the end of the day.”

In retirement, Mary is looking forward to traveling, gardening, volunteering, and exploring new hobbies and opportunities. She is also excited to spend more time with her husband Carl and their children and grandchildren.

Our President and CEO Carla Roberts was recently published in The Foundation Review, a peer-reviewed journal for the field of philanthropy. Her article, “From Charitable Giving to Strategic Impact,” details the Community Foundation’s journey toward more strategic grantmaking and increased impact.

In 2011, we launched a community investment strategy focused on education, poverty, and economic development. These strategies were developed with significant community involvement and input into the planning and designed to improve the quality of life for all Newaygo County residents. It took time as well as assistance in the form of backbone services and tools to monitor impact to make the transition to these new ways of thinking. As we’ve moved ahead with our second five-year strategic plan, we are guided by research and learning, community feedback, grantee survey results, and evidence of where the work has contributed to positive outcomes for the people and organizations we serve.

Read the full article HERE.

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!

The Community Foundation has welcomed four new staff members this fall, and we’re excited to introduce them to you! These awesome people will help round out our administration, community investment, and philanthropic services teams.

Katie Boven joins us as an administrative assistant. You might talk to her when you call in or see her at our front desk in the mornings. Katie previously worked as a legal assistant for a local law office where she handled a variety of office duties including drafting correspondence, scheduling, and reception. Katie has lived in the area for six years and has a bachelor’s degree in business from Western Michigan University.

Nicole D’Arcy is our newest program officer and will be overseeing our poverty to prosperity grantmaking. Her experience and training provides a valuable perspective to these efforts. Most recently she was the federal grant program director with Catholic Charities West Michigan, collaborating with more than 30 partner agencies and measuring community impact, while also managing its Foster Grandparent program.

Sarah Dixon is our new philanthropic services associate. Her experience working with donors began when she served as stewardship coordinator and major gift associate at Ferris State University. At Ferris, she developed and implemented the university’s comprehensive stewardship program. She has been the community development manager at Make-a-Wish Foundation of Michigan and most recently worked with the Teaching College Dean at Ball State University.

Samantha Ruthven joins us as a program associate and will be responsible for assisting with educational programming and grantmaking. Most recently she managed the PACE/FOCUS after-school programs for TrueNorth Community Services. There she supervised Baldwin, Hesperia, and White Cloud schools’ programs and gained experience writing grant proposals, managing program budgets, and establishing community partnerships.

After over 15 years with the Community Foundation, Mary Crisman recently announced that she will retire in early July.

Crisman, a lifelong Newaygo County resident, started with the Community Foundation in the program department before moving up to executive assistant and office manager.

“I was born and raised in Newaygo County, so I was interested in working here because I knew what great things they did for the community,” said Crisman.

Most recently, as the administrative services director, she was a member of the Community Foundation’s leadership team and was responsible for managing the office, building, and grounds. In 2014 she oversaw the Community Foundation’s office renovation, including the temporary relocation of all staff and equipment.

Crisman says that she is grateful for the opportunity her work has given her to learn even more about the people and resources in Newaygo County.

“My favorite part of working here has been the opportunities it gave me to meet a lot of really great people,” she said.

“Mary has been a vital presence at the Community Foundation for over 15 years,” said Carla Roberts, FACF president and CEO. “She has built strong relationships with board and community members while serving this organization with dedication and humor. She will be sorely missed by our organization. We are grateful for her years of service and wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement!”

In retirement, Crisman is looking forward to camping and fishing with her husband, traveling and visiting family in Florida, and maintaining her pet grooming business.