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.
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.
The Community Foundation of Marquette County, including four affiliate funds – Negaunee, Greater Ishpeming, Marquette, and Gwinn Area – granted a total of $58,334 this year in the annual competitive grant
Forty-one percent ($24,000) was awarded to programs that involved Youth and Education, including: Forsyth Township Public Library for a summer reading program, Big Brothers Big Sisters for the Big Neighbors program, Girl Scouts Leadership Experience, and Lake Superior Village’s summer programming, among others.
A quarter of granted funds ($15,300) were awarded to programs related to human services, including: Feeding America’s food pantries, Lake Superior Hospice Association’s bereavement program, SAIL’s steppingstones to housing independence program, and emergency needs for the Women’s Center, among others.
Eleven percent (over $6,000) was awarded to health programs, including: resident care equipment for Trillium House, CPR and first aid training for the Caregiver Incentive Project, and patient care services for Cancer Care of Marquette County, among others.
Eight percent of funding ($4,825) went toward environmental and recreation programs, including: Marquette Senior Center’s Senior Sampler, Courage Inc.’s 2020 Summer Adventure Season, U.P. Land Conservancy’s Peshekee Headwaters Nature Preserve Partnership Trail, and Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve’s Community Forest Trail Improvement and Stream Bank, among others.
Eight percent ($4,700) funded community improvement programs, including: Ishpeming’s Hematite Art Park, United Way’s Service Leaders, Marquette Beautification Committee’s Project Sparkle, and the Michigamme Township DDA to install handicap accessibility in their library, among others.
Six percent ($3,325) was granted to programs that involve art, culture, and music, including: Marquette Regional History Center for an archaeology heritage program, Superior Arts Youth Theater for 2021 winter program, and Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum to open a gift shop, among others.
In addition, $10,000 was awarded to MAPS Education Foundation for the 1st to Finish Childhood Savings Accounts Program from the Marquette Area Community Fund. Each affiliate fund also granted funds to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund for efforts in their area.
Congratulations Peninsula Art Appreciation Council/Vista Theater!
On Wednesday evening, November 7th the Greater Ishpeming Area Community Fund and the Negaunee Area Community Fund held a Business After Hours event at the Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Ishpeming. The event highlighted six nonprofits that competed for a $3,000 grant from the two funds. The community got a glimpse of what the Community Foundation does every grant cycle, those who attended were able to vote (with their dollars) for the nonprofits that they felt were most deserving. Each organization walked away a winner with the monies used to vote for their program. The overall winner of the $3,000 grant was the Peninsula Arts Appreciation Council/Historic Vista Theater to launch the development of professionally written strategic plan for the organization which will not only help the theater, but will help enrich the community. Other participating nonprofits were, UPAWS, UP Children’s Therapy, Big Brother Big Sisters, US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, and the Hiawatha Amateur Radio Association.