Habitat Home Dedication in Ishpeming

In the Community Foundation world, it is very easy to get caught up in the details of operations, finance and fundraising. Last week I was acutely reminded that although important to our success, our true purpose can easily be forgotten, when planning annual celebrations and creating budgets. I was invited to attend a celebration and dedication of a recently renovated/rehab Habitat for Humanity home in Ishpeming. I put it on my calendar but when the day came it was very cold with a heavy wintery mix of snow and rain falling, I was less than excited about attending. The Greater Ishpeming Area Fund granted $1,500 to the Women Build Program to build a wheel chair accessible ramp for Patty Barry and her family. As I stood in Patty’s new living room with no furniture and the smell of fresh paint, surrounded by her friends, family and community I was struck with a truer sense of community than I have ever witnessed. Patty’s handicapped son was propped at the back of the room, his legs unable to help him stand. I was told he needed the ramp, so he could get himself into the house because he typically used his arms, not his legs, to get around. When Patty spoke, she described the pain of losing her husband last fall and the renewed hope she experienced when she took her first tour of the home. Even though she knew it needed a ton of work, she could finally feel a sense of hope and visualize moving forward with her son and daughter. Standing in her tiny dining area, she profusely thanked Habitat for Humanity, the Ishpeming Community Fund, the Community Foundation of Marquette County, her friends and family who all spent countless hours working alongside her to make this house a home. I stood there feeling very grateful to be a part of something so much bigger and important than anyone of us standing in that room. The power of community is so much more than writing a check. Today I am grateful to have participated in that very special dedication and have resolved to value the invitations to witness wonderful moments such as these. This is why we serve.

Sincerely,

Gail


Community Foundation of Marquette County gathers feedback for improving Ishpeming

The Community Foundation of Marquette County had help from the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan organizing focus groups at Bell Memorial Hospital Wednesday, where Ishpeming community members answered a series of questions.

"What are the major problems and challenges the community faces, what would you like to accomplish in your community, and if money was no object, what would your dream be,” asked Gail Anthony, CEO of the Community Foundation of Marquette County.The Community Foundation secured a grant through the Council of Michigan Foundations to help facilitate development in the county. The grant helps find funding from across the state that will then go to projects in the community."So while there are no dollars that are being expended right now, the plan is in the future to really see where the community foundation should be placing their dollars," said CEDAM executive director Jamie Schriner.Community members at the focus groups consisted of city officials, service providers, business owners, and youth and educational professionals. The most common issues brought up by the groups were blight issues, education, a need for community pride, and above all else, housing.


April News

Mentoring is Important!

I learned something about life last night. About what is truly important in the lives of our children as they grow up.
This is the 2nd April that I have made my way to Westwood High School for the Westend Gearbusters Robotics end of the year dinner. I enjoyed the wonderful homemade food and warm UP welcome I received. The students, parents and volunteers show up for this evening of recognition and appreciation to celebrate another successful year for the Gearbusters Robotics Team. The Greater Ishpeming Area Community Fund has granted to this organization; hence the invitation. Back to what I learned, First Robotics competitions impact includes participation in key STEM activities where students gain experience in a number of outcomes including 21st century work-life skills, leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. This group of 12 mightily engaged high school students surrounded by caring parents and volunteers, who obviously adored and respected them and their accomplishments, enthusiastically demonstrated the robot they constructed.
I was especially impressed with an elderly couple who led the festivities. A retired military gentleman and his life partner who give their time September to May each year to organize and run this privately supported organization. They mentor, recruit, organize, fundraise and tend to the countless details involved in bringing this team through a successful season.

 

This is what I learned:
1. Students appreciate when their parents are involved.
2. Volunteering to work with high school students is rewarding.
3. You are never too old to impact the younger generation.
4. The practice of apprenticeship is very important.

 

I am honored and grateful to be able to represent the Community Foundation at these types of events.  I encourage you to look around for volunteer opportunities and share your interests and talents with a young person.  Think about the many mentors in your own upbringing and take advantage of every opportunity to pass that along.
All the best,
Gail Anthony