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.

COVID-19 Community Response Fund

COVID-19 Community Response Fund

On March 19, 2020, nine days after Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Michigan, we partnered with United Way of Marquette County and announced the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. A dedicated committee of volunteers began meeting weekly to review and award grants with the goal of quickly distributing aid to nonprofits on the front lines responding to the needs in our community. The Fund was set up in three phases, outlined below.

Nonprofits: applications for the Community Response Fund are currently closed, but if your organization has an immediate/emergency need, please get in touch with our office directly: info@cfofmc.org

Together, we raised over $178,000

Our community stepped up to help in a big way. Our affiliate funds, including three Youth Advisory Committees, provided support. Individual donors, businesses, and foundations gave generously, knowing their donations would make an impact that was swift and meaningful. We have been honored to be a trusted resource, directing much-needed dollars where they made a difference.

Phase One:
March – December, 2020

64 grants were made totaling $89,561.19 to support nonprofits and charities meeting the basic needs of residents in Marquette County. This rapid response phase supported the work of organizations and agencies assisting the most vulnerable in our community.

Phase Two:
December 2020 – February, 2021

23 grants were made totaling $35,620.00 to support operating expenses for Marquette County nonprofits, including program assistance and revenue loss from canceled events.

Phase Three:
Being Prepared for the Next Emergency

The magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis demonstrated the need for emergency funding to support county-wide efforts in addressing emergency and disaster relief. To improve our preparedness and increase our ability to respond to emergencies of all types, the Community Response Fund was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2020. Because the fund is endowed it can also continue to grow, extending the impact in perpetuity.

Marquette County has always been committed to coming together in supporting each other during times of crisis and ensuring those who struggle financially and economically are supported in every way possible. Working together, we will continue to survive and thrive. Click here to donate the Community Response Fund.

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

Huron Mountain Club Fund Distributes $56,000 to Local Nonprofits

Huron Mountain Club Fund Distributes $56,000 to Local Nonprofits

The Community Foundation of Marquette County, on behalf of the Huron Mountain Club Fund, is pleased to announce $56,000 in grants and awards to nonprofits in Marquette County. Several Big Bay organizations received support as well as other local nonprofits, including Bay Cliff Health Camp, Powell Township Elementary, Powell Township EMT, Powell Township Fire Department, Peter White Public Library, Yellow Dog Watershed Partnership, and Trillium House.

Clare Lutgen, Executive Director of Bay Cliff Health Camp expressed the importance of the funding from the Huron Mountain Club Fund, particularly right now: “The rapid development and delivery of Bay Cliff Virtual Camp 2020 demonstrated Bay Cliff Health Camp’s resilience and commitment to service. The Bay Cliff staff is currently hard at work developing robust 2021 programming options that can be adapted to any situation while keeping therapy central to our work.  Support from the Huron Mountain Club and the Community Foundation will help us ensure that children living with a disability will receive life-changing, individualized therapy within a community composed of their peers and caring adults.”

Jill Bevins, Superintendent of Powell Township Schools also noted the importance of the support from the fund, especially this year: “Powell Township School has benefited tremendously over the years because of the generous donations from the Huron Mountain Club. We have been able to provide a variety of enrichment activities, ranging from school/community dramatic productions to ski outings for our student population. Currently, the funds have helped us through the COVID pandemic by providing enhancements for internet connectivity for distance learning for our staff and students. Ongoing support from the Huron Mountain Club and the Community Foundation will enable us to continue to provide the best possible education for all our students. We are very grateful for the impact this fund has made on our school and community.”

Huron Mountain Club members conduct an annual solicitation of their membership that results in their ability to contribute annually to these nonprofits. Since being established in 1999, the Huron Mountain Club Advisory Committee has given back over $1,000,000 in support to area nonprofits.

Four Rain Gardens Installed in Marquette, Benefiting Residents and Businesses, Creating Educational Opportunities

Four Rain Gardens Installed in Marquette, Benefiting Residents and Businesses, Creating Educational Opportunities

As part of the Great Lakes One Water (GLOW) partnership, and in collaboration with the Superior Watershed Partnership, the Community Foundation of Marquette County is proud to announce the completion of four rain gardens in the City of Marquette.

The Great Lakes One Water partnership is a multi-year, basin-wide initiative focused on engaging shoreline community foundations as a force to advance a new era of water management to benefit people and businesses in the Great Lakes Basin. Led by the Council of Michigan Foundations, the Community Foundation of Marquette County served as the hub for the Lake Superior/Upper Peninsula region. Each partner in the region, with local collaborators, developed a project to advance water infrastructure to improve health, economic development and equity in their communities.

This spring, the Community Foundation of Marquette County, with major logistical support from the Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP), announced the Rain Garden Challenge, an open call for applications to install rain gardens in the City of Marquette. Rain gardens are a sustainable and cost-effective way to absorb stormwater, avert flooding, and prevent harmful pollutants—such as lawn fertilizers and pesticides, automotive fluids, and dirt and debris—from entering the Great Lakes. A panel of experts reviewed the applications to select four sites based on location, including elevation, relation to stormwater runoff and potential for public education.

Despite minor delays due to COVID-19, the SWP’s Great Lakes Conservation Corp installed four rain gardens this summer: two located at residences, one at a the McDonald & Wolf Law Office adjacent to the bike path in Lower Harbor Park, and an educational rain garden at Bothwell Middle School. Funding for the purchase and installation of materials was made possible by the GLOW project.

Gail Anthony, CEO of the Community Foundation of Marquette County said, “We are honored to work with the Superior Watershed Partnership on another successful project. The goal of the project was to show how individuals, businesses and organizations can do their part to protect the lake that we all love. With a small investment and some elbow grease, anyone can have a beautiful natural habitat in their own yard that also helps preserve our fresh water. Pedestrians and bicyclists will have the opportunity to read the educational signage and students at Bothwell Middle School will enjoy an outdoor classroom for years to come. This will all add up to a greater understanding and appreciation of the interconnected water systems we all depend on.”

SWP Executive Director Carl Lindquist agreed, “Community projects like this show the power of local organizations working together to protect Lake Superior. It’s important to point out that this is more than gardening; these projects are a classic example of “green infrastructure.” You could also look at them as a series of small Great Lakes protection projects. The SWP staff looks forward to many more collaborative community projects like this!”