Fremont Area Community Foundation held its annual members meeting on June 18. Members elected two new trustees and reelected four incumbents to the organization’s Board of Trustees.

Members of the Community Foundation are chosen by virtue of their leadership positions in the community, and their primary responsibility is to meet annually to elect trustees. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was held virtually for the first time in the organization’s history.

Roland Reed and Mikhail Salacina were each elected by the members to join the Community Foundation board.

Reed is a partner and CPA with H&S Companies. A native of Fremont, Reed earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in accountancy from Wake Forest University. He also serves on the Community Foundation’s Professional Advisors Board.

“I always thought about how I would give back,” said Reed, who returned to the area with his family after living outside Michigan for several years. “We have a great community here, with great people. When you look around the country, if we’re going to affect positive change, it has to start at the community level. I’m looking forward to being a part of what the future holds here. It’s exciting to think about what we can do in the next few years.”

Salacina is an attorney and partner at Schuiteman & Salacina, PLC. He graduated from Newaygo High School and earned bachelor’s degrees in political and biological science from Wayne State University. He earned his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

“I grew up in Newaygo County and I wanted to do something to give back to my community,” said Salacina. “I think we have opportunities here you wouldn’t have elsewhere. I see firsthand in my occupation the difference you can make in people’s lives. I think in a smaller community like ours, the impact you can have is often more direct. I’m really looking forward to serving on the board and seeing what impact we can make in a positive way for Newaygo County.”

Trustee incumbents Lola Harmon-Ramsey, William Alsover, Randy McDonald, and Peggy Rossler were each elected to serve additional three-year terms on the board.

We were all saddened this month by the loss of one of our own. Bill Leaver graced the Community Foundation with kindness, quiet wisdom, and three years of faithful service on our Board of Trustees. He also served on our committees for investment and community and economic development. Bill passed away at home on May 16, surrounded by his family, following a journey with cancer.

Bill represented the classic Newaygo County comeback story. He and his wife Jeanne both grew up here. They even dated in high school, reconnected years later at a reunion, and married in 1996. Their family now includes five children, nine grandchildren, and one great grandchild. While Bill’s education and career took him around the country, he and Jeanne always knew they wanted to return to this community. Bill attended Western Michigan University followed by graduate school at the University of Michigan. His 40-year career in hospital administration honed his executive leadership skills, which he contributed to our Community Foundation starting in 2017.

In addition to his role on our board, Bill was a thoughtful donor. He and Jeanne established a fund at the Community Foundation after giving for several years in response to needs that came to their attention. Supporting women in transition and addressing homelessness were especially close to their hearts. “We both grew up in an environment where our parents were very focused on teaching you that you were blessed with many gifts and you have a responsibility to help,” said Bill in a 2016 interview. “It’s not something I have to think about a lot. I’ve grown up with it as part of my value system. We need to be more concerned with what kind of society we have and the world our grandchildren will live in. It’s not just the responsibility of the government, schools, or churches. It’s all of us.”

Bill’s leadership in volunteering his time, donating funds, and his passion for helping those in need was truly inspiring. We will sorely miss his vision, enthusiasm, and determination to support his neighbors and make his community better.

The Leaver family has recommended that memorial gifts be directed to the William and Jeanne Leaver Fund at the Community Foundation. Friends may also share memories and condolences online at www.crandellfh.com.

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.”

At their annual meeting on June 15, the members of Fremont Area Community Foundation elected two new trustees to the Community Foundation board.

William Leaver and Peggy Rossler were elected to join 13 other trustees who guide the Community Foundation’s operations, strategic direction, and grant allocations.

Leaver grew up in Fremont and had a 40-year career in hospital administration. He retired as president and CEO of UnityPoint Health in Iowa and he and his wife Jeanne returned to Newaygo County. They share an interest in supporting vulnerable families and helping to raise local people out of poverty.

Leaver noted that involvement in the Community Foundation allows him to build on his family’s efforts in a more organized way.

“I see the opportunity through Fremont Area Community Foundation,” said Leaver. “I have always been impressed by the effect the Community Foundation has on the broader community. I want to contribute in a positive way and to share my expertise. My goal is to be supportive in a way that’s helpful and moves the organization forward.”

Rossler came to Newaygo County in the early 1980s when her husband took a job as a school administrator in White Cloud. They raised their three sons in the area and Rossler worked in special education for Newaygo schools. She later worked as a teacher and consultant for West Shore Educational Service District.

“I have a heart for education, particularly for early and special education,” said Rossler, who will also serve on the Amazing X Charitable Trust board. “I am particularly interested in supporting families with young children as they provide opportunities to develop early literacy skills.”

Added Rossler, “I’m very honored and very happy to be part of this organization I’ve respected for so long. I look forward to having a voice to make a positive impact in all of our communities in Newaygo County.”

Leaver and Rossler fill vacancies left by retiring trustees Dr. Robert Clouse and William Johnson.

“We are so grateful for the years of faithful service given to the Community Foundation by our departing trustees,” said Carla Roberts, FACF president and CEO. “And we are excited to welcome Peggy and William. Their experience, expertise, and commitment to Newaygo County will be great additions to our board.”

Board officers were also elected at the annual business meeting. Lindsay Hager will continue as chair, and Cathy Kissinger will continue to serve as vice chair. William Alsover was elected as treasurer, and Lola Harmon-Ramsey will be secretary.

At their annual meeting on June 4, the Members of the Fremont Area Community Foundation elected two new Trustees to the Community Foundation board.

Micheal Anderson and Dr. Lori Tubbergen Clark were elected to join 13 other Trustees who guide the organization’s operations, strategic direction, and grant allocations.

Anderson is from Hesperia and is the facilities maintenance manager at North Lake Correctional Facility. He has long been active in the community, serving as a school board member and coach. He has also been a member of the Fremont Area Elderly Needs Fund board.

“I’m looking forward to serving people and learning more about all the different aspects of the Community Foundation and what they do,” said Anderson. “My hope is that when I’m all done, people can say that Micheal Anderson served with an open heart and gave back to the community.”

Lori Tubbergen Clark was born and raised in Newaygo County. She was a teacher in White Cloud and Fremont before becoming the superintendent of the Newaygo County Regional Educational Services Agency (NC RESA). She holds a PhD in program evaluation.

“I am very supportive of the Community Foundation’s direction of strategic philanthropy,” said Tubbergen Clark. “I am passionate about program evaluation and hope to bring that expertise to the board. I also like the diverse perspectives and varied backgrounds of the Trustees. I look forward to learning from them.”

Anderson and Tubbergen Clark will fill vacancies left by retiring Trustees Robert Zeldenrust and Richard Dunning. Each served on the Community Foundation board for nine years.

Carla Roberts, Community Foundation President and CEO, expressed her thanks to the retiring Trustees and welcomed the two new members who will play vital roles in the organization’s future.

“We are so grateful for the years of faithful service given to the Community Foundation by Rob and Dick,” she said. “And we are excited to welcome Micheal and Lori. Their deep knowledge of the community and their expertise will further enhance our work in Newaygo County.”

At the annual business meeting, new officers were elected: Lindsay Hager, Chair; William Johnson, Vice Chair; Cathy Kissinger, Treasurer; and Dr. Robert Clouse, Secretary.

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.”