Each year the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation of Marquette County nominates individuals, organizations, and businesses to receive Catalyst Awards. A Catalyst Award recognizes the efforts of those that help build community through volunteerism or philanthropy and inspire others to do the same – those that go “above and beyond” for our community.

This year’s awards are a little different as they recognize those who have joined together in the spirit of community despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only do these awardees embrace the Community Foundation’s spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy, but they do so with an innate sense of caring for others. The Board of Trustees is proud to announce the following recipients:

Health care workers in Marquette County are being recognized with an award for their efforts, particularly in the past year, for all they have done keeping us safe, informed and cared for during the COVID-19 pandemic. This award recognizes all staff of the many health care facilities in Marquette County – hospitals, clinics, outpatient services, pharmacies, hospice, elder care facilities, the health department – to name a few. While we know the pandemic is not over, we hope this award brings well deserved recognition and shows the community’s appreciation.

Hematites Building Better Neighborhoods program is recognized for their work eliminating blight surrounding the Ishpeming Middle/High School campus while giving students an opportunity to learn math and construction techniques in a hands-on setting. Students from the Ishpeming High School Industrial Arts Program have completed two major projects, including the construction of a new gazebo, and renovating a formerly abandoned home across the street from the school. With the assistance of the Marquette County Land Bank and local businesses, these students are helping to build a better neighborhood while gaining valuable hands-on learning experiences.

School employees in Marquette County are being recognized for their efforts over the past year supporting students while navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers, administrators, and staff have truly shown resilience as they navigated online learning and unprecedented health and safety measures while providing a positive educational experience for students. From delivering online instruction to assembling extra meals for students during stay-at-home orders, school employees have been unwavering in their support for youth in Marquette County.

The Masks for Marquette group of volunteers is recognized for their extraordinary efforts to help keep our community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March, Masks for Marquette has coordinated the production and distribution of thousands of handmade fabric masks, scrub caps, respirator covers and gowns for medical facilities, schools, front line workers and our most vulnerable populations. The Masks for Marquette project truly demonstrates the generous spirit and can-do attitude that defines our community.