Community Stories

Annual Report, Scholarships
Annual Report Highlight: A Heart for Compassion
June 2019
Nicole Klomp and Mike Slaughter
Mike Slaughter, along with family and friends, created a scholarship in memory of his son Tyler. It was recently awarded for the first time to Nicole Klomp, a local social worker who shares Tyler's passion for being an advocate for people in crisis.
Annual Report, Giving
Annual Report Highlight: A Heart for Family Legacy
June 2019
The Branstrom Family
Margaret Branstrom was not as public a figure as her husband, William Branstrom, but she was very much his partner in philanthropy. In addition to carrying on a family legacy of giving, the couple's grandchildren want to ensure Margaret's name is remembered alongside William's.
Annual Report, Grants
Annual Report Highlight: A Heart for Empowerment
June 2019
Circles Newaygo County
Krista Sellers knows that life can veer in unexpected directions. For her, Circles Newaygo County represented the opportunity to get back on track and do something different for her family.
Annual Report, Giving
Annual Report Highlight: A Heart for Generosity
June 2019
Bob and Susanne Jordan
Early experiences watching their parents give deeply influenced both Susanne and Bob Jordan. They continued that mission in their lives together. "We've always had a heart for people who needed a helping hand," said Susanne.
Annual Report, Community, Giving
Annual Report Highlight: A Heart for Connection
June 2019
Dave and Lynne Robinson
Dave and Lynne Robinson have translated their deep connection to the community into volunteerism, board service, giving through the Community Foundation, and teaching the next generation about the power of philanthropy.
Annual Report, Community
Annual Report Highlight: A Heart for People in Crisis
June 2019
Newaygo County Central Dispatch
Thanks to local voters' approval of the 911 surcharge reinstatement and a program-related investment from the Community Foundation, Newaygo County Central Dispatch is looking forward to some much-needed technology upgrades.
Scholarships
Back to school for a better future
June 2019
Angie Bradley
When Angie Bradley was passed over for her dream job because it required a bachelor's degree, she knew she needed to make a change. An adult student scholarship from the Community Foundation is helping her go back to school to finish her degree.
Community, Giving
Making a lasting change
June 2019
Bill and Jeanne Leaver
Their careers took them around the country, but Bill and Jeanne Leaver always knew they would come back home to Newaygo County. Through volunteerism, community involvement, and their donor advised fund, the Leavers are committed to strengthening their community and giving back.
Giving, Grants
Filling the gaps
November 2018
MYOI and June Britt
Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative provides support, education, and training to current and former foster care youth as they transition to adulthood. But a gap in funding meant older participants, like Luke, would lose access to important resources. That’s where June Britt stepped in.
Giving, Scholarships
A family business giving back
November 2018
Pat and Kim Brown
As owners of Mighty Lube Systematic Lubrication, Pat and Kim Brown wanted to give back to the community that has been home to their family and business. They also wanted to encourage more local graduates to consider careers in vocational and skilled trades. With the scholarship they created, they’re doing just that.
Giving, Scholarships
Making a difference
November 2018
Stuart and Kay Stone
When a band teacher took Stuart Stone under his wing, it helped foster a love of the arts that Stuart now shares with his wife Kay, their children, and their grandchildren. Stuart and Kay’s scholarship for other Grant graduates who have been involved in the arts is a way to celebrate a shared family interest, help local students achieve their goals, and give back to their community.
Community, Giving
Saving and dreaming for the future
November 2018
Kickstart to Career Newaygo County
After launching in March, Kickstart to Career Newaygo County officially got underway in fall 2018. The program is expected to serve more than 7,000 local students over the next 10 years.
Grants
Supporting learning for teachers and students
September 2018
Kagan Cooperative Learning Training
In August 2018, more than 100 Hesperia and Fremont teachers gathered for a three-day training that immersed them in new tools to support student engagement.
Annual Report, Giving
Annual report highlight: We can help
July 2018
Tom and Carol Bieberle
Getting involved in the community has always been a priority for Tom and Carol Bieberle. They created a fund at the Community Foundation as another way to give back and empower local individuals and families.
Annual Report, Grants
Annual report highlight: Flexible jobs for busy lives
July 2018
Digital Works
As a mom of three very busy girls, Dawn Ausema dreamed for years of finding a good job with plenty of flexibility. The Digital Works program helped Dawn achieve that dream with training for customer service jobs that can be done from home.
Annual Report, Grants
Annual report highlight: Getting students world-ready
July 2018
Quest Career Coach
Staff at Quest Educational Programs in Fremont work hard to help their alternative and adult education students complete high school and plan for what comes next. With support from a Community Foundation grant, Quest hired a career coach to provide extra support and help students apply for financial aid, college, trade schools, and jobs.
Annual Report, Community, Grants
Annual report highlight: Safe homes for local families
June 2018
Center for Nonprofit Housing
For many families, a major unplanned home repair can lead to financial hardship or even unsafe living conditions. That’s why the Center for Nonprofit Housing is committed to helping local people obtain and maintain safe housing through foreclosure prevention, counseling, and home repair assistance.
Annual Report, Giving, Trustees
Annual report highlight: A responsibility to the next generation
June 2018
Mike and Carolyn Hummel
During their careers as educators, Mike and Carolyn Hummel had a front-row seat to the impact that grants and scholarships can have. When Carolyn joined the Board of Trustees, the idea to create a fund of their own began to grow.
Annual Report, Giving, Scholarships
Annual report highlight: A place in the world
June 2018
Marcia and Gary Woods
Gary Woods loved maps. He began each year in his Hesperia classroom by drawing colorful world maps across the blackboard. Former students who went abroad often wrote to say that, thanks to him, they always knew exactly where they were in the world.
Annual Report, Community, Giving
Giving out of gratitude
February 2018
Bob and Bonnie Erber
After more than 40 years, Bob and Bonnie Erber are still full of enthusiasm for Fremont, the town that won them over with its safe neighborhoods and friendliness. Moved by gratitude, they have worked to give back through service, volunteerism, and a scholarship fund at the Community Foundation.
Giving, Scholarships
Honoring a son
January 2018
Mike and Tyler Slaughter
Tyler Slaughter was known for his bright smile, compassion, and whole-hearted dedication to the work he was doing at Newaygo County Mental Health. His father Mike–along with family, friends, and Tyler’s coworkers–created a scholarship for adult students to honor his life and legacy.
Community, Grants
Learning about life and art
November 2017
Positive Impact Through the Arts
Every week at the Artsplace, a program called PITA is giving young people in the court system a chance to be creative, build skills, and head in a more positive direction.
Giving
Supporting women starting over
November 2017
Betty Taylor
In honor of their mother Betty Taylor, sisters Holly Moon and Linda Meisling created a fund at the Community Foundation to support the wellbeing of local women, especially those who find themselves starting over.
Community, Grants
Journey out of poverty
September 2017
Circles Newaygo County
Through Circles Newaygo County, local individuals and families find the resources, connections, and encouragement they need to lead their own journeys out of poverty.
Annual Report, Community, Giving
Giving others an opportunity
July 2017
Julee Tellkamp
When someone thinks of a donor at a community foundation, a teenager starting college is probably not the picture that comes to mind. But while Julee Tellkamp was packing to move into a college dorm last fall, she was also preparing to create a fund at the Community Foundation.
Community, Giving, Scholarships
Blessed to be a blessing
June 2017
Brian and Diane Karsten
Although they live in Grand Rapids now, Brian and Diane Karsten have a special place in their hearts for Fremont. They created a scholarship to support deserving Fremont graduates as a way to give back to a community they feel blessed to have been a part of.
Scholarships
When possibility becomes reality
June 2017
Alyssa Greene
In 2013, Alyssa Greene of Hesperia received the Possibility! Scholarship, a special full, four-year scholarship from the Community Foundation. In May 2017, Alyssa graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a bright future full of opportunity ahead of her.
Grants
Building skills and resilience
April 2017
SEEDS Youth Conservation Corps
Last summer, SEEDS Youth Conservation Corps gave local youth–many in foster care–the opportunity to gain job experience, build skills, earn money, and learn more about environmental stewardship and conservation.
Community, Giving, Scholarships
Sharing a family legacy
March 2017
Lois Brookhouse
Introduced to the importance of giving and service at a young age by her own parents, Lois Brookhouse followed their example and then passed down a family legacy of generosity.
Giving, Scholarships
Art and generosity
March 2017
Helen Myers
Helen Myers studied art in college and while she went on to a career in business, she is remembered as someone whose artistry showed through in everything she did. Now a scholarship fund created by Helen’s family in her memory supports young women who plan to study art and design.
Grants
Changing course
March 2017
Project 180
Newaygo High School Principal Jackie Knight and Assistant Principal Sarah Rodriguez developed Project 180 as a way to help students facing expulsion stay on-track to graduate while also redirecting them toward more positive, connected lives.
Community, Giving
A good place to be from
March 2017
Charles and Marilee Whitman
Charles and Marilee Whitman came to Michigan from Ohio, ultimately adopting Fremont as home. Their service in the community, as well as the fund they created at the Community Foundation, are examples of their belief in the importance of giving back more than you take.
Annual Report, Scholarships
Taking the next step
March 2017
Randi Koogler
When Randi Koogler’s job was downsized, instead of focusing on the problem, she recognized a chance for a new start. An adult student scholarship from the Community Foundation helped her take the next step.
Community, Giving
Connection to home
January 2017
Harold Kalsbeek
Helping was as much a part of Harold Kalsbeek’s nature as his work ethic and inquisitive mind. At age 95 he created an unrestricted fund at the Community Foundation to give back and to help community programs continue.
Giving, Scholarships
A sister act
November 2016
Sarah Coville and Emily Zoulek
Sisters Sarah Coville and Emily Zoulek both received Community Foundation scholarships and went into careers in healthcare. They created the Coville Scholarship to give back to future students from their hometown entering the medical field.
Community, Grants
A fresh start
October 2016
Fremont Service Committee
For more than 20 years, Classis Muskegon Ministries and its Fremont Service Committee’s car ministry has helped more Newaygo County residents achieve self-sufficiency and the opportunity to build a better life.
Community, Giving
Giving from the heart
September 2016
Nancy Deters
If anyone understands the importance of a healthy heart, it’s Nancy Deters. That’s why she used her donor advised fund to place AED machines at two local schools.
Community, Grants
Getting back on the water
September 2016
Bridgeton Township Boat Launch
Susan Reagan knew what it was like to be stuck on shore when she really wanted to be in her kayak. Along with a group of dedicated friends and neighbors, she found a way to make sure more local people can get back out on the water.
Community, Giving
A responsibility to give back
July 2016
Woody and Sue Bowman
Woody Bowman has spent 25 years in White Cloud, and he and his wife, Sue, are always on the lookout for ways to get involved and make a difference. Because for Woody, when a place becomes home, it becomes your responsibility to take care of it.
Community, Giving, Scholarships
Making home even better
May 2016
Doran Ditlow
In addition to a firm belief in education, Doran Ditlow learned from his parents that it was important to “leave things better than I found them.”
Community, Grants
The gift of sight
March 2016
Students in Need of Eyecare
When a Hesperia teacher asked her class to share what they were thankful for, one student wrote two little words that spoke of a big impact: “to see!”
Community, Giving, Scholarships
Embracing change
March 2016
Norm and Jane Reath
Jane Reath’s life has been characterized by a love for education and her willingness to accept change, embrace innovation, and face challenges with positivity.
Community, Giving
Beginning a tradition
January 2016
Wes and Melissa Miller
Just before the birth of their daughter Evie, Wes and Melissa Miller started a build-a-fund (and a family tradition) at the Community Foundation.
Annual Report, Community, Giving
Creating family legacy
December 2015
Stan and Joyce Beckman
Stan and Joyce Beckman remember Joyce’s parents, Reo and Bessie McMillen, as generous people who lived with integrity and faith. Now Stan and Joyce are passing down those values through the generations of their family.
Community, Giving
Celebrating a vibrant life
November 2015
Chad Hickman
Chad Hickman’s family created a fund in his memory as a way to give back to the community and to continue Chad’s legacy of inspiration and determination.
Community, Giving
Investing in people and community
September 2015
Don and Marsha Van Singel
To Don and Marsha Van Singel, giving back and investing in people is a natural response to the gift of living in a community they love.
Community, Grants
Enhancing community
September 2015
Grant Farmers Market
Not long ago, the home of the new Grant Farmers Market was just an empty lot. But with plenty of vision and hard work, a dedicated community gave the lot a new purpose and a role to play in the city’s future.
Giving, Scholarships
Growing family values
September 2015
Al and Marlene Karnemaat
Al and Marlene Karnemaat love what they do and see their family business as a calling. They established the Karnemaat Family Scholarship to help local young people train for their own rewarding careers.
Community
Ensuring a bright future
July 2015
Croton Township Library
Croton Township Library set up an agency endowment fund at the Community Foundation to ensure a promising future.
Annual Report, Community, Grants
Celebrating Hardworking Families
June 2015
Farmworker Appreciation Day
It has all the elements of a great celebration, but Farmworker Appreciation Day is more than just a party. Held each summer in Grant, the event is also an expression of gratitude to the migrant and seasonal workers in Newaygo County whose hard work is critical to local farmers and to the economy.
Community, Grants
Faithfully serving
May 2015
Alpha Family Center
The dedication and warmth of the staff and volunteers at Alpha Family Center can be a lifeline for clients who arrive scared and overwhelmed.
Giving, Scholarships
A lasting tribute
April 2015
Iris Davidson
Charles Davidson’s wife Iris and family established a scholarship fund in his memory as a meaningful, lasting way to honor his life and legacy.
Community, Giving
A legacy of giving
March 2015
Roger and Becky Tuuk
For Roger and Becky Tuuk, a donor-advised fund through the Community Foundation is a way to support the community they love and to honor the lessons they learned from their parents.
Community, Grants
Growing hope
January 2015
Love INC and Mistie Wolfenbarger
Mistie Wolfenbarger was ready to make positive changes in her life. The Growing Hope program at Love INC, funded in part by a Community Foundation grant, helped her take the next step.
Community, Scholarships
Building a future through education
January 2015
Alyssa Greene: Possibility! Scholarship
Alyssa Greene received the Possibility! Scholarship in 2013. This special full, four-year scholarship served as a springboard to the rest of her life.
Annual Report, Community, Giving
Protecting natural resources
October 2014
Newt Dilley and the White River
Newt Dilley’s passion for the White River inspired his daughter to start a fund to protect and preserve this natural resource.
Community, Giving
A gift that grows
April 2014
Jason and Kristin Brookhouse
For Fremont natives Jason and Kristin Brookhouse, creating a donor advised fund at Fremont Area Community Foundation was a way to demonstrate gratitude.
Community, Giving
Building a lasting legacy
April 2014
Maggie Bailey and Hesperia Community Library
Maggie Bailey loves her family, pets, flower gardens, and the Hesperia Community Library. Although she is in her 80s and no longer a regular physical presence at the library, she has made a donation every month for the last 10 years.
Annual Report, Giving, Scholarships
Determined to give back
April 2014
Joe and Abby Berger
Joe Berger is an offensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings and in his tenth season in the NFL. But he’s also a Newaygo High School graduate who has not forgotten the important role his family and home community played in his success.