This season Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation is proud to award $237,081 nonprofit organizations working to enhance quality of life in Emmet County. Congratulations to all recipients! A description of each organization’s project, and the grant amount awarded, is described below.

Our grantmaking is only possible through our generous donors. Thank you to all who contribute to our Fund for the Community, Fund for Youth, field of interest funds and/or donor advised funds. Your gifts help us address needs and advance opportunities throughout Emmet County.

If you would like to learn more about the Community Foundation, and how we can help you give back to this special region, please call us at 231-348-5820, email, or stop by our office at 616 Petoskey Street, Suite 203, Petoskey, MI.


Crooked Tree Arts Center
Refresh the art galleries with new flooring and lighting

Amount granted: $7,000
Each year, more than 50,000 people step inside Crooked Tree Art Center’s 118-year old building to visit the art galleries, enroll in a class, attend a concert, listen to a lecture, view a film, take a guided tour or enjoy special events. CTAC is in the middle of a multi-year effort to refresh its facility. Last fall the Center replaced its roof. Now it is focused on interior spaces. A grant to this project will help CTAC install an LED lighting system in the galleries, sand and refinish its well-worn wood floors, and upgrade to an accessible visitors desk area.

Great Lakes Center for the Arts
Promote diversity in American orchestras

Amount granted: $7,700
The mission of Great Lakes Center for the Arts is to inspire, entertain and educate through performing arts. It aims to offer our community year-round, world-class performances at affordable pricing. This winter the Center will host a performance by three Laureates of the Sphinx winners. The Laureates of the Sphinx is an international competition for up-and-coming Black and Latino classical string players, who are widely underrepresented in American orchestras. A grant to this project will help cover performance costs.

Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra
Design a striking website to attract and engage classical music lovers

Amount granted: $5,250
The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra (GLCO) delights classical music lovers with a dozen concerts and recitals each year. Last year GLCO took a deep look at how it advertises itself. Its board and staff decided that if GLCO wants to continue its strong presence in the community, then it needs to refresh its public image and “cast a wider net” among music fans. GLCO began a rebranding process with a local marketing firm, which resulted in an updated logo, print materials and street signage. A grant to this project will help GLCO with the second phase of its rebranding process, which includes a complete overhaul of its website.

Little Traverse Choral Society
Expand Choral Society’s capacity for the future

Amount granted: $3,025
The Little Traverse Choral Society performs distinctive choral music to enrich cultural life in Northern Michigan. To date, their musical contributions to our community have been achieved with no full-time staff and limited organizational investments. A part-time administrative director and volunteer board members use their personal computers for Choral Society work. The purchase of technology and software will enable the Choral Society to strengthen its organizational capabilities and position it to enhance its presence in the community. A grant to this project will enable Little Traverse Choral Society to purchase two iPad Pros, a laptop computer, and QuickBooks financial management software.

Thunder Bay Theatre
Bring educational theatre to local students

Amount granted: $3,500
Thunder Bay Theatre, a professional year-round theater, is producing an educational tour for students in grades K-12. The 2019 tour will include three productions: 3 Billy Goats Gruff (K-5), Goldilocks and the 3 Bears (K-5), and Binge the Bard (6-12). Each performance is 45 minutes long and is accompanied by an interactive workshop led by professional teaching artists discussing the academic and moral lessons with students. The performances make professional theatre accessible to all children in our communities. A grant to this project would allow Thunder Bay Theatre to bring four performances of each production to Emmet County schools and libraries, specifically in Alanson and Pellston.

Voices Without Borders
Promote international friendship and understanding through music and dance

Amount granted: $2,750
Voices Without Borders will present the 23rd Children of the World in Harmony International Choir and Dance Festival next July. This bi-annual festival brings young people together to learn about other cultures and to share in non-competitive music and dance performances. Local hosts invite the visiting singers and dancers from across the world into their homes to share their lives for several days. Hosts also learn first-hand about the customs of visiting singers and dancers.  A grant to this project will help cover artist fees and venue rental for festival activities.


Emmet County Board of Commissioners
Provide a safe work space for onsite responders during a disaster

Amount granted: $7,000
The Office of Emergency Management is a partnership between Emmet, Charlevoix and Cheboygan Counties to protect citizens from natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other human-caused catastrophes. Recently the Office identified a need to provide a secure work space for command staff during long-term disasters and/or disasters in tough weather conditions. A grant to this project will help the Office purchase a response trailer outfitted with heating/AC, generator power, table space for working, whiteboards and television displays.


Concord Academy
Upgrade technology to support digital arts learning

Amount granted: $2,040
Concord Academy believes that art and artistic performances help nurture confidence in its students. From its plays and musicals, to its student-teacher band, The Grapes, to the student-produced news show broadcast to all students every Friday, Concord students learn poise and confidence in front of an audience. However, the computers used to produce the student news show have reached the end of their usable life. A grant to this project will help Concord Academy purchase three new computers for students to use with the news show and other digital art projects.

Harbor Light Christian School
Purchase smart TVs for classroom education

Amount granted: $1,000
Harbor Light Christian School provides a Christian-based education for students in Emmet County from preschool through grade 12. Harbor Light seeks to purchase 10 additional smart TVs for classrooms to enhance the educational experience. These smart TVs will streamline the learning processes currently being implemented including videos, data, group projects, music and immediate access to current events. The project also aims to provide another medium for students to learn through, recognizing the difference in learning styles among today’s digital natives. A grant to this project will allow Harbor Light Christian School to purchase 10 smart TVs for classrooms.

Northern Michigan Antique-Flywheelers Club
Improve experience for patrons of the antique tractor and engine show

Amount granted: $4,391
The Northern Michigan Antique-Flywheelers Club is dedicated to preserving the past for future generations. The main source of income for the Club is entrance donations and food and beverage sales at its annual antique tractor and engine show held in July, which attracts approximately 5,000 people. In addition, annual Student Harvest Days draw more than 350 students from around Emmet County to learn about the history of forestry and agriculture to Northwest Michigan. Due to the importance of food and beverage sales, the Club is replacing two aging food buildings with one larger and better-equipped structure. A grant to this project would allow the club to purchase two new refrigerators and two new freezers.

Petoskey District Library
Teach reading to third graders in danger of being held back in school

Amount granted: $12,000
Recently Michigan passed a law mandating that third graders not reading at grade level will be held back a year in school. In Petoskey, 24% of K-2 students are below reading level and 48% of 3rd graders are not proficient or only partially proficient. To address this issue the Petoskey District Library, in partnership with Public Schools of Petoskey, will offer a “Growing Readers Together” program that provides free one-on-one reading tutoring for students in need. The Library will also organize Family Literacy Nights and “adventure packs” for students to take home to support their reading habits at home. A grant to this project will help cover costs to administer these activities.

Petoskey High School
Provide students real world skills to explore mechanical and tech industries

Amount granted: $10,000
In its effort to link what students learn in the classroom with the needs of real world careers, Petoskey High School has embarked on a pilot elective career and technical education course, Mechatronics. Mechatronics is a combination of mechanical, electrical and computer systems that prepare students to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operation of robotic systems.  After successfully running the Mechatronics course for a year, the school will be able to apply to the State of Michigan to become one of fewer than 40 school districts to offer Mechatronics as a fully qualified career technical education program. Qualification will allow it to be funded by the State of Michigan. A grant to this project will allow Petoskey High School to purchase materials for the design and construction of a partially autonomous robot.

Petoskey Public Schools
Teach students techniques to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and anger

Amount granted: $11,460
In 2017 a School Health Needs Assessment reported that 70 percent of staff believe their schools need more support to meet students’ mental health needs. The assessment concluded that older students often experience anxiety and depression, whereas younger students were more likely to experience anxiety and attention deficit disorders. Many students have difficulty verbalizing their needs and act out with disruptive behavior or misplaced anger. One powerful way to build emotional resilience is through teaching mindfulness to students and adults alike. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, and non-judgmentally. Studies have found that children who are taught mindfulness experience decreased stress and anxiety, increased attention, improved relationships and strengthened compassion. A grant to this project will support two trained facilitators to teach mindfulness techniques in Petoskey elementary school classrooms.

Raven Hill Discovery Center
Teach science concepts by imagining what it would be like to live in space

Amount granted: $6,000
For more than 25 years, Raven Hill Discovery Center has fostered connections between science, history and art through their museum exhibits and classroom programming. The Center’s latest classroom program, Halfway to Anywhere: Living In Space, will use space to reinforce science concepts in fifth grade classrooms.  Students will apply their knowledge about photosynthesis, hydroponics and more to imagine what it would be like to live in space. They will be challenged to construct a hydroponics system that would provide oxygen and food in their theoretical “space home.” A grant to this project will help cover staffing and materials to conduct this program in Petoskey elementary schools.


Little Traverse Conservancy
Improve public access to Lake Michigan shoreline

Amount granted: $3,302
The mission of the Little Traverse Conservancy (LTC) is to protect the natural diversity and beauty of Northern Michigan. Located a short distance from Cross Village, the Woollam Family Nature Preserve offers a short trail walk through rolling hardwoods and community access to Lake Michigan. Since its establishment in 2014, the preserve has seen a substantial increase in public use. Furthermore, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality classifies much of the property as critical dunes. In 2018 a professional botanist observed three state-listed threatened species on the preserve. Taken together, LTC believes it is essential to provide protection to the plants and educate visitors about the importance of staying on the trail and the environment around them. A grant to this project would provide a welcoming interpretive kiosk, durable trail maps and markers, a slightly expanded parking area, and newly constructed boardwalk and steps.

Mackinac Straits Raptor Watch
Establish a professional organization around raptor and waterbird migration

Amount granted: $10,000
What began in 2014 as a small group of raptor and waterbird enthusiasts, has since turned into a local powerhouse that protects and promotes the unique ecology along the Straits of Mackinac. MSRW’s signature annual event, RaptorFest, draws hundreds of people each spring to observe raptor migration and participate in other birding-related activities. Since its inception, MSRW has been fully volunteer-run. However, volunteers recently decided to hire a part-time Executive Director for the organization, who will sustain and grow MSRW’s operations. A grant to this project will help MSRW transition itself to a professionally-staffed organization, including support for salary and new bookkeeping software.

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
Test surface water to protect public health

Amount granted: $11,000
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council is dedicated to protecting our lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater throughout the Great Lakes Basin. Recently, it was discovered that Michigan has contaminated sites from high levels of fluorinated compounds (Per- and Polyflouroalkyl Substances, or PFAS). These chemicals are resistant to heat, water, and oil and have been widely used in over 11,000 industrial and firefighting sites. So far, PFAS have been confirmed in 36 sites in Michigan and testing continues. Research indicates health impacts that threaten infants, young children and pregnant women, in particular. Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council is partnering with Freshwater Future and the University of Michigan Biological Station to fill a void in water testing in our region. Currently, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is testing municipal water systems. To supplement the work of MDEQ, a grant to this project will allow Freshwater Future to test 200 individual drinking water wells and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council to test 29 surface water features for PFAS.


Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities
Encourage schools to provide more local, seasonal food for their students

Amount granted: $11,663
Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, formerly operating as Michigan Land Use Institute, was established in 1985. One of its focus areas is on food and farming in northwest Michigan. Recently Groundwork expanded its food and farming work into Emmet County. Its staff works with schools’ food service operations to help source more local food for student lunches, and conducts programs to help build a school-wide culture of health around local, seasonal foods. A grant to this project will help Groundwork develop initiatives in Harbor Springs, Petoskey and Pellston schools–such as student tastings of local produce, pop-up farmers markets, educational materials and more.

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
Mobilize school personnel, parents and healthcare practitioners to strengthen school health services

Amount granted: $7,000
In 2017 a School Health Needs Assessment found that Emmet County schools were overwhelmed with the health needs of students and their families. Compelled to take deeper action, the committee that originally led the assessment has since transitioned into a formal School Health Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is staffed by the Health Department. It meets every four to six weeks to review school health needs and pursue feasible solutions. A grant to this project will allow the Health Department to continue staffing the Advisory Board and help it stay organized, focused, and solutions-oriented.

Hospice of Northwest Michigan
Provide comfort and support for those grieving a loss

Amount granted: $2,500
Hospice of Northwest Michigan provides comprehensive physical, emotional and spiritual care to individuals and their families during and following life-limiting illness. Part of their care includes a grief support program administered in Petoskey and Harbor Springs. The grief support program includes a book with daily affirmations, monthly community meetings, two five-week sessions that provide concentrated support and an annual butterfly release memorial service to honor lost lives. The program is open to anyone suffering a loss, be it human death, pet death, divorce, etc.  A grant to this project will help cover staffing and supplies for the grief support program.

McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation
Help cancer patients and families cope and overcome barriers to care

Amount granted: $10,000
The Karmanos Cancer Institute (KCI) at McLaren Northern Michigan serves more than 1,100 radiation and medical oncology patients each year. To ensure seamless and coordinated care among physicians, diagnostic tests and cancer treatments, KCI provides Oncology Patient Navigators for patients. Serving more than 200 Emmet County patients diagnosed with breast, lung, and head/neck cancer each year, the Oncology Patient Navigators attend appointments with the patients to answer questions and provide support. They help patients navigate insurance coverage and to overcome barriers such as transportation, financial hardship, housing, and establishing an emotional support system.  A grant to this project will provide staffing and necessary software for the Oncology Patient Navigator program at McLaren Northern Michigan.

Northern Michigan Equine Therapy
Help low-income families with social, emotional or physical challenges receive equine therapy

Amount granted: $5,000
Northern Michigan Equine Therapy uses the healing nature of a horse as a therapeutic tool to enhance independence, self-confidence, and quality of life for children and teenagers with physical disabilities, emotional or mental health challenges, long-term stressors at home or in school, or youth who may be dealing with situational stressors such as loss in the family. At this time, equine therapy is considered an alternative medicine practice and often isn’t covered by health insurance plans–making it difficult for low-income families, or those who have exhausted other treatment options–to access this powerful and potentially life-changing therapy. A grant to this project will provide scholarships for children from low-income families in Emmet County to receive equine therapy at a substantially reduced rate.


Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan
Provide underserved youth service-learning and job training opportunities

Amount granted: $10,500
Child and Family Services strives to ensure the well-being of children, youth, adults and families in times of crisis, challenge and life transition. Based on the Depression-era New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps, YouthWork provides direct access to paid, service-based learning opportunities, job training, industry recognized certifications, independent living skills, adult mentors, college education awards and more to underserved young people ages 16-26. Projects may include planting trees, building boardwalks, restoring stream banks, removing invasive species, and other activities that help build an appreciation for the natural and environmental assets of our communities. A grant to this project will support the establishment of a YouthWork team in Emmet County.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Nourish middle and high school students in need

Amount granted: $8,000
Two years ago, Emmanuel Episcopal Church partnered with Petoskey Middle School to launch The Northmen Den, a food pantry within the middle school to provide supplementary weekend food, healthy school day snacks, essential school supplies, toiletries, and clothing for students in need. The program started with eight students and by year’s end it had grown to 55 registered students, serving an average of 23 students each Friday. Since then the program has expanded to Petoskey High School, and thanks to two former Youth Advisory Committee members, the Harbor Hut was started in Harbor Springs Middle School. By the end of the 2017-18 school year, the three pantries were serving approximately 70 students each week. A grant to this program will help Emmanuel Episcopal Church purchase food and supplies for middle and high school students in need.

Flowers for Friends
Deliver cheer to isolated community members with refreshed flower arrangements

Amount granted: $3,000
Flowers for Friends refreshes donated flowers from weddings, funerals, church services, and other events, which would otherwise be thrown away, and reassembles them into smaller arrangements that are delivered to isolated community members. Volunteers order and prepare supplies, make recyclable flower packets, pick and clean flowers, make flower arrangements, deliver flowers, and make contact with flower recipients. A grant to this project would purchase essential supplies to help Flowers for Friends expand its reach in the community.

Manna Food Project
Provide farm fresh produce to hungry people in Emmet County

Amount granted: $6,000
In 2017, the Manna Food Project launched its “Produce for People” initiative — a community wide effort to improve the quality, variety and nutritional value of the produce made available to its partner outlets, and ultimately to food pantry clients. Prior to the 2018 growing season, Manna was able to contract with local growers to plan for and commit a portion of future crops to Manna. They contracted for early, mid and late year harvest from each farm’s signature crop. As a result, Manna was able to acquire a much wider variety of produce — like asparagus, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, parsnips, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, turnips, and sweet corn. A grant to this project would allow Manna to contract with four new farms and renew contracts with eight participating farms to provide fresh, local produce for the upcoming growing season.

Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity
Build two homes for low-income families in Emmet County

Amount granted: $12,000
Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity (NWMHFH) is dedicated to helping meet the near crisis level need for affordable housing in our region. In the past year, NWMHFH has increased its capacity from an average of 1.5 homes built per year to four homes currently underway. Starting in spring 2019, Habitat for Humanity will break ground on three additional homes. While increasing the number of builds alone increases the funds needed, rising costs of construction are also creating a challenge. For example, skilled trade bids have come in 40 to 100 percent higher than previous years. While much of the work on Habitat for Humanity homes is provided by volunteers, certain projects like HVAC and electrical require a licensed contractor. A grant to this project will provide electrical, plumbing and mechanical finishing costs on a home in the Alanson Lantern Walk Subdivision and excavation for the new project to begin in 2019 in partnership with the Pellston High School trades program.

Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan
Provide shelter and comfort for families with sick children

Amount granted: $3,000
The Ronald McDonald House provides a “home away from home” for families traveling to Grand Rapids for critical medical and mental health treatment for their children. Families receive comfortable living accommodations at no cost, along with other supportive services such as shuttle service to and from medical treatment facilities, grocery store and pharmacies; personal care items; wireless Internet; children’s toys; free admission to various local attractions and more. On average Ronald McDonald House serves 11 Emmet County families per year, totaling 51 nights of service. A grant to this project will help underwrite housing costs for those families.

Social Responsibility Foundation
Take wounded veterans on deep water fishing expeditions

Amount granted: $5,000
Social Responsibility designs and implements evidence-based curriculums and programs to assist individuals with finding their purpose. In partnership with Operation Injured Soldier, Brave Hearts Estate, Operation Healing Forces and the Wounded Warrior Project, the Reel Liberty program assists injured combat veterans from Emmet County by bringing them on charter-style deep water salmon and trout fishing outings on Lake Michigan. The program aims to improve communication, improve a veteran’s access to resources, and expand their network. Fishing has proven over the years to be effective at improving human bonds and assisting people in the recovery process. A grant to this project will allow 50 Emmet County veterans to experience a deep water fishing trip.

The Salvation Army
Provide fellowship and nourishment through community dinners

Amount granted: $10,000
While there are many hot lunches offered in our community for those in need, there are a limited number of dinners. The Friday Night Live Community Dinner started as a pilot program that has grown rapidly from approximately 35 people, to an average of 80 people every week. The primary attendees are lonely individuals, homeless, low-income families, and a large population of seniors who are offered transportation from low-income apartment communities. For some, the dinner is the only hot prepared nutritious meal they eat all week. The Salvation Army also opens its food pantry during the meals and distributes food boxes to those in need. In addition, approximately 60 people attend the Addiction Recovery Support Dinners each month, providing support for those recovering from addiction. A grant to this project would support the purchase of catered food to serve at the weekly dinners.


Camp Daggett
Purchase a new pottery kiln for camper use

Amount granted: $4,000
Situated along the picturesque shores of Walloon Lake, Camp Daggett has delighted children and teens with quintessential summer camp experiences since 1925. Its mission is to provide quality character-building through educational and recreational programs in a safe, fun setting. Among many other activities, the camp offers arts and crafts–including pottery. In the past, Camp Daggett has relied on donated, used pottery kilns or has had to take pottery offsite to be fired elsewhere. The camp would like to have reliable equipment onsite. A grant to this project will help Camp Daggett purchase a brand-new pottery kiln for camper use.

Little Traverse Bay Area Pickleball Club
Build three outdoor pickleball courts at Riverbend Park

Amount granted: $7,000
Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in America. It is especially popular among senior citizens, as pickleball allows players to work on their balance, agility, reflexes and hand-eye coordination without putting excessive strain on their bodies.  There are two to three million pickleball players nationwide, projected to grow to eight million players by 2020. Locally the Little Traverse Bay Area Pickleball Club boasts about 370 members. However, there are very few public courts available for play. A grant to this project will help the Little Traverse Bay Area Pickleball Club, in partnership with City of Petoskey, to construct three outdoor pickleball courts at Riverbend Park in Petoskey.

North Country Trail Association
Build a bridge to improve safety and accessibility of the North Country Trail

Amount granted: $15,000
The North Country Trail Association develops, maintains, protects and promotes the North Country Scenic Trail through a trail-wide coalition of volunteers and partners. The Jordan Valley 45° Chapter seeks to build a bridge connecting the Petoskey River Road Sports Complex trail system on the south side of the Bear River with the North Central Michigan College Natural Area trail system on the north side of the river. The bridge would allow for development of a new segment of trail to greatly improve safety by eliminating approximately 3.5 miles of trail currently along busy local roads.

Petoskey Area Hockey Association
Create an opportunity for more girls to play hockey

Amount granted: $5,000
Women’s hockey is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. Petoskey Area Hockey Association (PAHA) has been nurturing women’s hockey in Emmet County. In its 2017-2018 season, girls represented 13% of PAHA players. PAHA would like to increase girls’ participation. They believe that any physical activity, especially when part of a team, is a great way for children to learn life-long lessons and social interaction. A grant to this project will help PAHA purchase additional equipment/gear, ice time and coaching so more girls may learn how to ice skate and play hockey.