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Community Foundation Awards More Than $460,000 to Local Organizations

Photo credit: Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan

This spring, the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation awarded $462,052 in grants to organizations across Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau Counties.

These grant awards come from the Community Foundation’s designated endowments and include support in five focus areas: arts and culture, education, environment, health and human services, and youth.

“Our designated endowment grants provide consistent, sustainable support that a variety of nonprofit partners across our region can count on,” said David Mengebier, Community Foundation President and CEO. “These grant awards bring our donor partners and nonprofit partners together with the aim of benefiting the people and places we love in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau Counties.”

Designated endowments are funds established at the Community Foundation by donor partners to support a specific nonprofit partner in our region. Grants from designated endowments are awarded once a year to support the nonprofit partners’ operations and programs.

Nonprofit partners who received designated grants this season include Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan, Elizabeth Lane Oliver Center for the Arts, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Grass River Natural Area, and Old Town Playhouse, among many others. A full nonprofit partner list is available at www.gtrcf.org/grants/grant-awards.

Nonprofit partners who serve communities across the five-county region have shared the impact that their designated endowments have had on their organizations with the Community Foundation:

Photo credit: Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan 

“The four Child and Family Services (CFS) funds at the Community Foundation support a range of human services needs for our clients and for our employees. From contributing to the general health and welfare of the community to program-specific assistance for children and youth and scholarships for social workers, these endowments assure that CFS has a source of needed funding for its work in perpetuity," said Gina Aranki, Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan Executive Director. “We are grateful for the Community Foundation's role in building a solid safety net for all our community's citizens.”

Photo credit: Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

"The endowment fund at the Community Foundation is vital in that it provides year-to-year stability which helps us to accomplish our mission,” said Glen Chown, Executive Director at Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. “Because it supports our operating budget, the fund helps ensure that we will have the ability to care for our region's beloved, protected lands for generations to come.”

Photo credit: Elizabeth Lane Oliver Center for the Arts

"The Community Foundation has been a partner of Oliver Art Center for many years. Not only do they hold OAC's endowment, but they work with Oliver Art Center to cultivate, steward, and increase donors to the fund,” said Mercedes Michalowski, Executive Director at Elizabeth Lane Oliver Center for the Arts. “Currently, the fund balance allows for an annual grant that has helped implement new programs and grow existing ones.”

Photo credit: Old Town Playhouse

"Ticket sales provide only 40% of our operational costs. The remainder of funding comes from donations, grants, sponsorships and advertising. The beauty of an endowment is that we know we can count on funding each year,” said Deb Jackson, Old Town Playhouse Executive Director

Photo credit: Allison Farris

"The events of the last year reinforced the resiliency of our organization and highlighted the importance of diversifying both our internal and external funding sources. We are grateful for the endowed funds currently held at the Community Foundation, which provide our organization consistent annual support,” said Jenn Wright, Grass River Natural Area Executive Director. “These funds allow us to fulfill our mission to conserve and protect the Grass River watershed while providing opportunities that increase knowledge, appreciation, and community-wide stewardship of the natural environment.”

Since its founding in 1992, the Community Foundation has awarded a total of $62 million in grants and scholarships and now stewards $90 million in total assets.