2023 Catalyst Award Recipients Announced

2023 Catalyst Award Recipients Announced

The Community Foundation of Marquette County held their annual celebration on September 6th, 2023.  This year CFMC celebrated their 35th year of impact as a foundation providing vital support to programs, projects, and initiatives across the entire county.  Each year as a part of the celebration, the foundation recognizes individuals, businesses, and service organizations who go above and beyond to make a difference in their community and inspire others to do the same.

These catalyst awards are given in different categories based on nominations that have been made to the Community Foundation of Marquette County’s Board of Trustees.  Catalyst award recipients have demonstrated a commitment to the Marquette County community through their gifts of time, talent, and treasure to help make life better for the people of Marquette County. They have had a positive impact over a period of time, demonstrate humility in their efforts to improve the Marquette community and serve to inspire others by their example.

The Community Foundation of Marquette County’s five 2023 Catalyst Honorees are: 

After teaching for 5 years in Flint, Don and his wife Barb moved to the Upper Peninsula. Don served his last 11 of 30 additional years in education administration as the Negaunee Superintendent of Schools. When asked, “What do you love most about your community and living in Marquette County,” Don had this to say: “Small towns offer such a great environment for raising kids: Safe, amicable, caring and abounding with opportunities through organizations and schools that are the ideal size.” His own amicable and caring nature is evident in his many years of service to various organizations in our community, including our very own Community Foundation of Marquette County and Negaunee Area Community Fund. Don was instrumental in growing the Community Foundation affiliate funds and served on the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation and is currently an Honorary Board Trustee.  Don has been an active and dedicated visionary community leader, volunteering with Negaunee Lions Club and was recently inducted to the Negaunee Public Schools Hall of Fame for his contributions to the legacy of Negaunee Public Schools.

INDIVIDUA YOUTH AWARD – Allyana Grochowski 
Allie has served on the Ishpeming Youth Advisory Committee for 5 years where she served her community in many ways. With Allie’s assistance, the YAC created personal hygiene Kits for local students, volunteered at local Community Dinners, made blankets and hats for the St. Vincent de Paul Cheer Club, picked up litter at parks and along roadsides, and so much more. Allie is a 2023 Westwood High School graduate, and she was in Key Club, Student Council, Band, Business Professionals of America, and the High School Bowl. She continues to give her time to the community by being a Fire Fighter for Michigamme-Spurr Fire Department, and she is in the process of earning her EMT license as well. Allie is attending Michigan Tech.

This year the Community Foundation was honored to present a posthumous award to Susan Maynard in memory of her husband Jerry Maynard. Jerry was an environmental attorney from Chicago, retiring to Marquette in 2009.  But retire, he did not.  With his spirit of volunteerism handed down to him from his family and two years in the Peace Corps, Jerry could not simply live for himself.  Many know him as co-founder of the Raptor Center but he was also a mediator for Marquette Alger Resolution Services and a volunteer for North Country Trail and Trout Unlimited.
Jerry was also a board member of the Superior Watershed Partnership. When Rio Tinto came to the Superior Watershed Partnership with the idea of funding an independent monitoring program at Eagle Mine, Jerry was there every step of the way offering his environmental legal expertise crafting the fund agreements.
Because of his work, the success and longevity of this globally unprecedented environmental monitoring program, involving Lundin Mining, the Community Foundation of Marquette County, the Superior Watershed Partnership, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, continues 13 years later. As a board member of the Superior Watershed Partnership, Jerry demonstrated his commitment to our Marquette community.
Jerry passed away just one year ago but his volunteer spirit and tireless, unselfish efforts will be felt well into the future and serve to inspire all of us.  It was a great honor to present this catalyst award to Susan Maynard.

SERVICE ORGANIZATION – Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Conservancy
In its journey, the Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) has evolved to protect not only the environment but also the well-being of our watershed’s residents. This connection between environmental care and human welfare was evident during crises like the Father’s Day flood, the COVID-19 response, and the fight against climate change.
A standout initiative, the Great Lakes Climate Corps, epitomizes SWP’s commitment to both environmental and social causes. Each summer, they employ 40 young individuals, maintaining gender balance. These dedicated workers make a lasting impact on our region.
SWP operates entirely on grants, showcasing their ability to secure resources for community-benefiting projects. Their management of the Michigan Energy Assistance Fund (MEAP), aiding with energy costs and home weatherization, underscores their unwavering assistance to those in need.
Furthermore, SWP serves as a land conservancy, protecting 1,250 acres in the Upper Peninsula near vital water resources.
Under SWP’s leadership, we’ve seen a substantial reduction in Lake Superior mercury levels, removal of hazardous waste, and preservation of fish populations. They’ve also planted thousands of trees, enhancing our environment.
SWP’s collaborative spirit is evident in their partnership with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) and educational initiatives within our watershed.
Their mission is clear: protect the Great Lakes, assist our communities, and help our people. As they celebrate 23 years of service, we extend our gratitude to SWP’s founder and Executive Director, Carl Lindquist, for his unwavering leadership.

Eagle Mine is a shining example of corporate responsibility and community engagement. They measure success not in ore tons, but in safety, environmental protection, and community betterment. Over two decades, they’ve enriched our region by $4.3 billion, yet their impact transcends figures.
Eagle Mine invests in local youth via the Technical Middle College program, offering hope to at-risk and economically disadvantaged students while meeting employment needs with a $190,000 annual contribution. Initiatives like the Eagle Emerging Entrepreneur Fund and Accelerate U.P. have spurred 300 jobs and $14 million in capital investment.
During COVID-19, Eagle supported small businesses with $100,000 through the Love on Local program. They’ve united stakeholders to form the Trail Sustainability Coalition, vital for community well-being and growth.
Their dedication to the environment is remarkable. The Community Environmental Monitoring Program, in partnership with the Community Foundation, Superior Watershed Partnership and Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, has invested $3.6 million in monitoring environmental impacts, showcasing transparency and stewardship.
Eagle Mine’s story is one of conscientious corporate citizenship, leaving a legacy of progress, partnership, and environmental responsibility.

John D. Voelker Foundation Partners With CFMC to Establish the Native American Law School Scholarship Endowment Fund

John D. Voelker Foundation Partners With CFMC to Establish the Native American Law School Scholarship Endowment Fund

Pictured Above: John D. Voelker fly fishing at his beloved Frenchman’s Pond. Photo: Sunday Magazine of the Detroit News (June 18, 1967)

The Community Foundation of Marquette County (CFMC) is very pleased to announce the John D. Voelker Foundation Native American Law School Scholarship Endowment Fund. Earlier this year, Rich Vander Veen and Fred Baker, officers of the John D. Voelker Foundation, approached the Community Foundation about becoming the new home for the scholarship fund, which was established more than 30 years ago to honor a great and gifted man.

Born in Ishpeming in 1903, John D. Voelker was many things: a lawyer, Michigan Supreme Court Justice, renowned novelist and outdoor writer, along with being a skilled and passionate fly fisherman. John loved the U.P. and lived here all but a few years of his life.

He wrote 12 books, including Trout Magic and Anatomy of a Murder, which became a famous film and made him, as he described it, “a promising young author at the age of 52.”
Vander Veen and Baker, two Michigan attorneys who knew Voelker through their work, had been visiting John in the U.P. for some years when it occurred to them “that we should do something to honor him and preserve the legacy of his love for the U.P. and his humanity,” Baker said. “We agreed with the late Voelker Board member and journalist Charles Kuralt’s assessment of John: He was the ‘nearest thing to a great man’ either of us had known.”

The John D. Voelker Foundation was established in to do “a few good things in his name.” One of those good things was assisting Native American scholars to achieve the dream of a legal education. The fund was created from contributions from members of the Foundation, who subscribed to limited editions of Laughing Whitefish, Trout Madness, and Traver on Fishing signed by Voelker when the Foundation was established.

Justice Voelker hoped and believed that providing such assistance would help Native American people to overcome past injustices by empowering “warrior lawyers” to assist, defend and represent their communities in the legal profession. To date, Foundation members’ contributions have helped 34 Native American scholars from Michigan and Wisconsin tribes achieve the dream of a legal education.

To raise funds to establish the John D. Voelker Foundation, its founding members first republished Laughing Whitefish as a limited edition of 300, with each signed by Voelker. To date, Foundation members’ contributions have helped 34 Native American scholars from Michigan and Wisconsin tribes achieve the dream of a legal education. Now endowed, the fund will grow in perpetuity to help others become “warrior lawyers.”

With donations from several generous donors, the Voelker Foundation partnered with the Community Foundation to create a permanent endowment for the scholarship fund, which will provide fund administration services and annually disburse the proceeds available for distribution to scholars, based on the recommendation of the Voelker Scholarship Committee.

Of its new partnership with the Community Foundation, Baker said, “The John D. Voelker Foundation is beyond pleased to announce that, after 31 years of giving away our scholarship funds as fast as we raised them since the first grant in 1991, we were at last able to establish a permanent endowment this year to ensure perpetual existence for the John D. Voelker Foundation’s Native American Law School Scholarship.”

“It is our hope and expectation that this permanent endowment fund will grow over the years to enable us to assist students who are enrolled members of a federally recognized Michigan or Wisconsin tribe to pursue the dream of a legal education, which was the first objective John chose for the Foundation,” added Baker.

CEO Zosia Eppensteiner said, “We are honored that the John D. Voelker Foundation has chosen Community Foundation of Marquette County as the new home for the Native American Law School Endowment Fund and to be a part of continuing John D. Voelker’s amazing legacy and commitment to supporting Native American scholars in the future.”

Celebrate Community Together!

Celebrate Community Together!

You’re invited to the Community Foundation of Marquette County’s 2022 Annual Celebration on Wednesday, September 14 at 5:00 p.m. The event will be held at the Northern Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University.

The evening will be a celebration of the Community Foundation’s philanthropic impact on Marquette County and the work we do together as a community. We’ll share stories of our collective positive impact, including the Catalyst Awards presentation, which will honor local people, organizations, and businesses who’ve made a big difference in Marquette County. We’ll also share an exciting update on Kid’s Cove, Marquette’s Playground for All, which is in the home stretch of its campaign. And of course, we’ll enjoy delicious food and drink while listening to live music.

Join us for an inspiring evening!

Annual Celebration – October 3, 2017

The Community Foundation has been working attentively for over 28 years to build, inspire and impact our quality of life in Marquette County. On October 3, 2017 in conjunction with its affiliate funds, the Foundation will observe its 28th anniversary through a donor appreciation celebration and fundraiser. The event, open to both past and potential patrons, will be held at 5:00 pm in the University Center at Northern Michigan University.