Over $100,000 in Grants to Local Nonprofits Awarded

Over $100,000 in Grants to Local Nonprofits Awarded

The Community Foundation of Marquette County, including four affiliate funds – Negaunee, Greater Ishpeming, Marquette, and Gwinn Area – recently granted over $100,000 as part of the annual competitive grant cycle.

Of the total grant funding, over $25,000 was awarded to programs related to human services. Over $21,000 was awarded to environment and recreation. Over $17,000 was awarded to arts, culture, and music. Over $15,000 was awarded to youth and education. Over $14,000 was awarded to health. Over $5,000 was awarded to community improvement. This grant cycle included funds from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund to support nonprofits that continue to navigate organizational and operational needs from ongoing pandemic response.

2021 grantees included Willow Farm Therapeutic Riding program, which received funds to replace expired helmets for youth involved in the program. The grant was made possible by the Stephen Blondeau Memorial Fund, which was established at the Community Foundation in 1996 to support projects related to youth safety in the Upper Peninsula.

Willow Farm Therapeutic Riding volunteer Luanne Peterson said, “As an affiliate program of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International, horseback riding helmets are a safety requirement that we continue to adhere to. PATH International requires all participants to wear protective headgear that is American Society for Testing and Materials – Safety Equipment Institute (ASTM-SEI) certified. Depending on the amount of use, riding helmets hold the ASTM-SEI certification for 3 – 5 years after they are purchased. This grant will allow the program to provide required safety gear for youth and continue to follow PATH International’s protocols for safety.”

Volunteers from each of the Community Foundation’s affiliate fund form committees to review applications and recommend grants to the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Grant distribution events were recently held for the Ishpeming, Negaunee and Marquette affiliates to celebrate the grantees making an impact on residents of Marquette County. A final grant distribution event will be held on July 4 in Gwinn at The Up North Lodge. This event is part of the popular Bike Night event series and is a fundraiser for the Gwinn Area Community Fund.

Jumpstart a Heart: AEDs for Marquette County Law Enforcement

Jumpstart a Heart: AEDs for Marquette County Law Enforcement

In 2020, Marquette County Law Enforcement responded to 46 cardiac emergency calls requesting the use of life saving Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). Law Enforcement Officers are frequently the first to arrive on scene for medical calls because they are already mobile at the time of the call and have the necessary equipment, including AEDs, with them while on patrol.

Jumpstart a Heart is a joint effort by Marquette County Law Enforcement Administrators Association (MCLEAA) and the Community Foundation of Marquette County. The goal is to raise $81,454.50 to purchase new AED equipment for Forsyth Township Police, Negaunee City Police, Michigan State Police, Chocolay Township Police, Marquette City Police, Marquette County Sheriff’s Department, and the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team. Some of the current equipment is over 15 years old, which means it has passed life expectancy, is no longer reliable, and not compatible with equipment used by EMS teams. Having updated equipment and training will allow for a smooth connection and switch over from the AED unit to advanced lifesaving equipment on scene. Every officer utilizing the AED will have training to operate the equipment along with corresponding CPR and First Aid skills.

Give Now:
Give online, visit Jumpstart a Heart Donation Page

Send a check to:
Community Foundation of Marquette County
PO Box 37
Marquette, MI 49855

Marquette County Sheiff’s Deputy Jennifer Best says, “The hope is that the AEDs are never needed. However, a life changing cardiac event can happen unexpectedly to anyone from an infant to elder, at any time, and any location. These updated AED units can serve patients of any age and are portable enough to be transported to even the most remote area through difficult terrain. Residents, visitors, and those passing through the area can all be tended to by a trained responding officer with this life saving equipment.”

A fundraising campaign is now underway, and MCLEAA is asking for donations from the community to help purchase the equipment to have on patrol by the end of September. MCLEAA partnered with the Community Foundation of Marquette County as the fiscal agent for this project, which means all donations to the project are tax deductible.  The West End Health Foundation, Negaunee Area Community Fund and Marquette Area Community Fund have committed funds to the project.

“The Community Foundation is pleased to partner with MCLEAA on this project,” says Community Foundation CEO Zosia Eppensteiner.  “The need for this equipment was brought to our attention by Sheriff Zyburt. Part of the Community Foundation’s mission is to ‘lead and collaborate to address community opportunities’. Partnering with MCLEAA to raise funds for a project that will address this critical need and create long-term impact for the entire County is definitely something we are excited to be a part of.”


Youth Advisory Committees Organize Volunteer Projects, Support Local Nonprofits with Grants

Youth Advisory Committees Organize Volunteer Projects, Support Local Nonprofits with Grants

The Youth Advisory Committees (YAC) of the Community Foundation of Marquette County are proud to announce the distribution of 18 grants to nonprofits to support youth programming. There are three YAC groups in the county, including the Ishpeming, Marquette, and Negaunee areas, with members from local middle and high schools.

Despite the restrictions and hurdles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the groups have volunteered on several community projects and continue supporting local nonprofits with grants. As part of the $17,500 in grants awarded by YAC in 2020, a total of $4,000 directly involved funding for COVID-19 relief for nonprofits to purchase personal protective gear.

The groups also remain involved in community projects, volunteering time and efforts in several areas. Last fall, the Marquette YAC adopted a portion of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail that they help maintain throughout the year. The Greater Ishpeming YAC collected items to assemble hygiene packs that were distributed to 150 students from Ishpeming and NICE Community Schools. Program Associate and Marquette Area YAC Advisor Emma Schultz says the student members in YAC gain valuable experience as part of their involvement:

“The opportunity to learn leadership skills and network with nonprofits and community leaders is not only a great resume builder for young people, but it also shows them the importance of giving back to their communities. YAC is a unique program allowing students, sometimes from different schools, to come together and learn team building while being a part of something positive for the places where they live.”

Over 30 years ago, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation sponsored the Youth Challenge for Community Foundations program, encouraging the establishment and growth of youth endowment funds. Since then, funds have been used exclusively for grants allocated by youth advisory committees for youth programming through local nonprofits. Since being established, YAC has had over 100 students involved in various projects and grantmaking in Marquette County.

All of the YAC groups are currently looking for more student members to get involved. Students in grades 6-12 in Marquette County are eligible to apply. For more information or an application, please contact Emma Schultz at program@cfofmc.org or 906-226-7666.

Over $35,000 in COVID-19 Relief Grants Announced for Marquette County Nonprofits

Over $35,000 in COVID-19 Relief Grants Announced for Marquette County Nonprofits

The COVID-19 Community Response Fund, a collaboration of the Community Foundation of Marquette County and United Way of Marquette County, recently granted over $35,000 to twenty-three Marquette County nonprofits. These grants were given as “phase two” of the fund, supporting operational expenses for local nonprofits.

The COVID-19 Community Response Fund volunteer committee met weekly and biweekly since March 2020 to establish the fund, review applications, and quickly disperse grants as part of phase one. The fund distributed over $88,000 in grants in phase one, supporting basic needs such as food for children and seniors and protective equipment for front-line workers and volunteers, among many other requests.

The committee met in January to review phase two applications, providing operational support for nonprofits. These organizations have been affected by decreases in funding typically provided by fundraising events and admission or program fees. The committee awarded $35,620 in phase two grants to help offset these losses – the complete list of phase two awardees is below.

In the last ten months, the COVID-19 Community Response Fund has awarded over $124,000 in phase one and phase two grants to Marquette County nonprofits and charitable causes.



COVID-19 Community Response Fund Phase Two Grant Recipients

906 Community Church

Bay Cliff Health Camp

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marquette and Alger Counties, Inc.

Cancer Care of Marquette County

Care Clinic

Forsyth Township Police

Girl Scouts

Hope Free Lutheran Church

Ishpeming Historical Society

Janzen House

Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly

Marquette Alger Resolution Services

Marquette Regional History Center

Moosewood Nature Center

Negaunee Senior Center

NICE Community Schools

Room at the Inn

St. Anthony’s Catholic Parish

Superior Children’s Advocacy

Superior Housing Solutions

The Salvation Army – Marquette and Ishpeming

Trillium House

UP Children’s Museum

Catalyst Award Recipients Announced

Catalyst Award Recipients Announced

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.