“What are the major problems and challenges the community faces, what would you like to accomplish in your community, and if money was no object, what would your dream be,” asked Gail Anthony, CEO of the Community Foundation of Marquette County. The Community Foundation secured a grant through the Council of Michigan Foundations to help facilitate development in the county. The grant helps find funding from across the state that will then go to projects in the community. “So while there are no dollars that are being expended right now, the plan is in the future to really see where the community foundation should be placing their dollars,” said CEDAM executive director Jamie Schriner. Community members at the focus groups consisted of city officials, service providers, business owners, and youth and educational professionals. The most common issues brought up by the groups were blight issues, education, a need for community pride, and above all else, housing.
The Paul F. Blewett Legacy Funds were established at the Community Foundation of Marquette County in 2010, to provide support to multiple local and regional organizations that Paul cared most about. This year, a total of $ 76,192.65 was distributed. Following the wishes of the donor, the fund supported eighteen organizations this year, including: Bethany Lutheran Church, Michigan Education Association, National Education Association Foundation, National Planned Parenthood, Ishpeming High School, Ishpeming Skiers Training Facilities, Inc., Bark River Harris School District, The American Civil Liberties Union, WNMU FM 90 Radio, National Public Radio, American Cancer Society, National Alzheimer’s Association, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp, Salvation Army & Salvation Army – Ishpeming, and American Red Cross.
Amanda Rasner, Camp Director at Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp, had the following to say: “Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp is honored to receive money through the disbursement from the Paul F. Blewett Fund through the Community Foundation of Marquette County. These funds have been earmarked for a Young Adult Retreat emphasizing self-care that will take place in February of 2022 at Fortune Lake…. The main hurdle for hosting this event had been funding, as young adults may not have the financial resources to attend a full weekend retreat. With the reception of the Blewett funds, this hurdle has been removed, and we can continue to prepare for what we hope will be a first annual retreat. The money will provide sponsorships for up to 23 young adult participants from throughout the U. P. and Northern WI.”
Born in Ishpeming in 1940, Paul Blewett studied at Michigan Technological University and Northern Michigan University, where he received a master’s degree in mathematics. He enjoyed a nearly 43-year career as a math teacher at Bark River-Harris High School. He also gave back as a volunteer and officer in many different education associations, most notably as a member of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Education Association for 24 years. His biggest fulfillment came from seeing the students he taught excel at school and in life. Paul was a lifetime member of the Bethany Lutheran Church in Ishpeming, where he enjoyed taking photographs for weddings and church functions. He died in 2009, leaving behind his legacy of giving back to the community and organizations he loved and respected.