Grants Awarded

Spring 2023 Grants Awarded

Local elementary students will have the support of a therapy dog for their emotional needs. Teen moms will have the ability to connect and find support through a dedicated camp program. A local township will improve public access to Pickerel Lake. Backpack programs will ensure kids have the food and supplies they need to grow and thrive. Programs ranging from housing and food support to recreation and cultural arts will help improve the quality of life for people in Emmet County.

The Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation is awarding $314,413 in grants as part of its Spring 2023 grant cycle. A total of 44 organizations including nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and municipalities that serve the people of Emmet County will receive grant awards for a variety of services, programming, and capital improvements.

"The Community Foundation is proud to support the invaluable work of local nonprofits with these grants,” said Jenni Attie, chair of the foundation’s Grant Distribution Committee. “We believe in the power of collaboration, and these grants will make a significant difference in our community, improving the lives of many individuals and families. We look forward to seeing the positive outcomes of these grants and continuing our support for local nonprofit partners."

As part of the overall awards, the foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) recommended $70,406 in grants from the Fund for Youth to 17 organizations after conducting in-person interviews. The YAC is comprised of 23 area teens, eighth grade through seniors. YAC members Avery Sears, an eighth-grade student at St. Francis Xavier School, and Alex Carlson, a senior at Petoskey High School and a member of the foundation board, presented their funding recommendations to the foundation board recently.

Support for the grant cycle came from a variety of funds held at the Community Foundation including field of interest funds addressing specific areas such as senior citizens, housing, and natural resources. Support also came from donor advised funds, which are created by individuals and families to carry out their charitable giving.

Attie added that the foundation’s ability to partially or fully fund all of the grant requests was made possible thanks to donor advised funds, which contributed 15 percent of the total dollars granted.

Arts & Culture

Provide “Rock Jam” band experience for middle and high school students
Amount granted: $4,980
Big Water Creative Arts promotes the arts through education, instruction, interaction, and performance. The primary way they accomplish this is to bring free music classes, workshops and programs to local middle- and high-schoolers. “Rock Jam” is currently being offered to middle school and high school students in Alanson and Pellston Schools. The program has been running since fall of 2021, and has been very successful, particularly in Alanson. Through Rock Jam, students are taught how to play musical instruments (primarily guitar, bass, drums), with an emphasis on performing as a band/ensemble. They’re taught rudimentary skills on their chosen instruments, then learn and memorize songs for the group to perform together. This process teaches the kids a number of skill sets with long-ranging applications and contributes to their cognitive development, interpersonal communication skills, critical thinking, and empathy too. A grant to this project will support 12 weeks of instruction in Alanson and Pellston schools.

Refurbish an essential community arts space
Amount granted: $15,000
Crooked Tree Arts Center (CTAC) operates out of a historic building in downtown Petoskey. Most recent renovations to the theater occurred over 20 years ago, and this essential community arts space has begun to deteriorate. The theater walls, rafters and ceiling are showing the wear and tear of time. Paint is chipped, faded and dirty. The theater carpeting has been stretched to capacity. It is worn, faded, and, in some areas, torn. To help bridge the time before a full restoration of the theater can be pursued, a fresh coat of paint and new carpet will be an immediately noticeable improvement for CTAC patrons and partners and match the caliber of the arts programming within. A grant to this effort will support the labor and materials needed to repair and paint the theater walls, ceiling, and trusses.

Build capacity for long-term sustainability 
Amount granted: $15,000
Good Hart Artist Residency (GHAR) has reached the stage where paid full-time leadership is necessary to transition the residency program from the founder's vision to a sustainable organization. GHAR hosted its first artist resident in 2014. Since that time GHAR achieved non-profit status, built new residency and studio buildings, hosted 64 residents, and conducted 95 community art events attended by over 6,000 local participants. Susan and Bill Klco provide leadership to GHAR on a primarily volunteer basis. A new associate director will work closely with current executive director (ED) Susan Klco for 12-18 months to experience a full cycle of the program, including: artist selection, hosting residents, event facilitation, fundraising, and all other ED duties. If successful, the candidate will be promoted to ED, an essential step toward establishing a sustainable, community-supported program. A grant to this project will allow Good Hart Artist Residency to hire a full-time associate director, the first paid staff position.

Enrich summer programming in Harbor Springs 
Amount granted: $5,850
Harbor Springs Area Historical Society (HSAHS) seeks to enrich two of its most important, and longest-running, programs: Shay Days and the Blessing of the Fleet. 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of Shay Days. To commemorate Ephraim Shay’s connection to the logging industry, HSAHS seeks to purchase “Builder Boards.” These are similar to life-size Lincoln Logs and support open-ended construction play. HSAHS will also be hosting a musician and historian, Bill Jamerson, for two lectures on logging. In addition, this summer the Historical Society  will once again host the Blessing of the Fleet. This annual event honors our maritime history and includes a boat parade, history presentation, and boat tours. A grant to this project will allow HSAHS to purchase “Builder Boards” for Shay Days, offset the cost of Mr. Jamerson's honorarium and travel, and commission the schooner, “Madeline” and “Gracie L,” a Mackinaw boat, to come to Harbor Springs. “Madeline" is a floating classroom that teaches the history of sailing and focuses on water conservation and stewardship.

Provide books for students to support home literacy 
Amount granted: $5,850
Created in 2016, the Harbor Springs Festival of the Book strives to present some of the best creative minds in the worlds of writing and illustration. Each year's event is curated to be relevant, diverse, surprising and captivating for both attendees and presenters alike. In addition to presenting dynamic programming to the general community, the Festival is committed to educational outreach. The Festival believes the opportunity to provide our area students with classroom visits from authors/illustrators, in conjunction with the distribution of books to students, is one of the vital services the organization provides. A grant from the Community Foundation will be used to purchase books for K-12 students in Emmet County schools (underserved communities are prioritized) where a Festival author/illustrator is scheduled to visit.

Purchase portable, universal sound and light station
Amount granted:  $1,794
Little Traverse Civic Theatre (LTCT) is a Michigan non-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) status which is completely managed by volunteers. They rely heavily on their volunteers, which often includes using their own personal equipment to complete projects and help with the tech aspects of a production. The organization is in need of its own universal and transportable sound/lighting station. The universal dashboard would allow for one volunteer to be able to run both sound and light cues all from a single iPad. This would take the burden of needing their own equipment off the volunteers. This setup would also be easily transportable and able to hook into other venue’s board setups, which would allow LTCT to be able to utilize other venues for productions. This would open up the possibility of taking shows on the road to reach a broader audience. A grant to this effort will support the purchase of a universal sound/light station.

Perform chorale music in a world-class performing arts venue
Amount granted: $4,600
Northern Michigan Chorale (NMC) performs annual concerts for the community that provides a non-auditioned opportunity for community members to participate in choral singing. Their repertoire includes music thought to be “light and non-classical,” including show tunes and beloved American music. NMC plans to hold its 2023 concerts at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts (GLCFA). GLCFA provides a number of advantages over other free or lower-cost venues in the area, including professional sound and light technicians, loading dock for ease of riser transportation and setup, advertising by GLCFA to its members, handicap accessibility, and access to the venue for dress rehearsals that doesn’t require setup and tear down. A grant to this project will support the rental cost for NMC’s spring and fall concerts.

Provide rich cultural and historical experience for school children
Amount granted: $5,000
Michigan Humanities has named Raven Hill as one of six sites for the 2023-24 Smithsonian Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Spark! Places of Innovation in Rural America national exhibit tour. The MoMS Spark! exhibit will be at the Center from August 26 to October 7, 2023. Raven Hill, along with local businesses, organizations and individuals, will present a variety of tech-related programs over the course of the six-week exhibit at Raven Hill and other sites in the community. This Smithsonian Spark! Places of Innovation in Rural America exhibit is a chance to highlight for the community-at-large the importance of northern Michigan’s innovative history and cultural significance to this area. Raven Hill is committed to having as many northern Michigan residents as possible experience this world-class exhibit. A grant to this project willl allow Raven Hill to bring local schools to the exhibit during the 24 school days after Labor Day when the Spark! exhibit is on display.

Purchase equipment to support music events for the recovery community
Amount granted:  $5,500
Recovery NOTES was first established in early 2019 to bring the recovery community together in a safe, fun and supporting environment. There is so much talent in the recovery community, and Recovery NOTES provides an opportunity for people to showcase that talent by providing an open mic night. Recovery NOTES first started at Red Sky Stage, and when it closed in 2019, moved to the Carnegie building, where the number of people attending exceeded capacity. In need of a bigger venue, Recovery NOTES partnered with Crooked Tree Arts Center (CTAC) and has held five indoor events from September 2022 to February 2023. Recovery NOTES relies completely on volunteers, and they borrow public address (PA) equipment from friends to make these events successful. With its growth, Recovery NOTES is in need of its own equipment. A grant to this project will go toward Recovery NOTES purchasing its own PA system, a digital piano, rented heated storage for the equipment, paying rent at CTAC, and an iPad to run the sound mixer.

Provide scholarships to ensure access to choir experiences
Amount granted: $1,850
Voices Without Borders (VWB) is seeking scholarship money to assist in covering tuition costs for students interested in participating in the Great Lakes Treble and Youth Choirs (GLYC). In the past, VWB has offered tuition-free participation in the choirs, but the choir directors and board felt the singers needed some financial investment to ensure full participation. The current financial situation in Michigan is making it difficult for families to enroll their children in the GLYC. There was a significant interest in the beginning of our season by parents and children in the Northern Michigan areas of Pellston and Levering, but the tuition costs were a strong factor in parents not being able to afford to be part of the GLYC. Scholarship monies would remove at least one barrier to participation in the choirs. A grant to this project would allow Voices Without Borders to provide scholarship assistance to families in need.

Community & Economic Development

Repair damaged infrastructure to keep Alanson Hillside beautiful
Amount granted: $7,650
The Alanson Beautification Center exists to stimulate interest in gardening and preserve and enhance the natural beauty of Alanson. They are responsible for the Hillside Gardens that run through downtown Alanson. Currently, the Michigan Department of Transportation is performing a major reconstruction on US 31 through Alanson. Currently, Miller Pipe is installing a new gas pipeline across the length of Alanson Hillside Gardens, after which the road will be excavated to place drain lines and utilities under the road. As part of the reconstruction process, the sprinkler and waterline on the Hillside Gardens property will be dug up, resulting in the need to replace over 600 feet of sprinkler line. A grant to this project will help the Alanson Beautification Center replace the sprinkler line so they can continue to irrigate the garden area during the summer months.

Assess the needs and well-being of farmers and farming in the Northern Farms Foodshed
Amount granted: $14,817
Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology works to build strong communities through the intersections of art, farming, ecology, and economy. In partnership with the Local Food Alliance, conversations with area farmers have revealed at least 10 who are ceasing or scaling back operations, which has raised broader concerns about the well-being of farmers in the region. They propose to conduct farmer livelihood interviews to gain a deeper understanding of conditions in the local farming community. They will use a structured farmer interview and analysis process led by Michigan State University (MSU) National Science Foundation Research Fellow, Emma Gaalaas-Mullaney. Farmer livelihood interviews will capture enough context to interpret what we learn from farmers and do so in a way that protects their privacy and confidentiality. Following the interviews, they will convene a conference to bring together farmers and other stakeholders in facilitated discussions to identify needs, opportunities, and action potential based on research findings. A grant to this project will help Crosshatch Center conduct interviews, analyze results, and share learnings through a conference format.


Enable quality preschool experience for all children
Amount granted: $8,500
The Great Start Preschool Scholarship Project (GSPSP) fills the State and Federal preschool funding gap in our counties. Upon capacity of government funded preschool programs, GSPSP provides preschool tuition for eligible children ages 3-5. Eligibility standards require families to be living at 250% or below poverty level and takes into account other factors such as developmental delays. Scholarships are awarded for assistance up to 100% for preschool enrollment to high-quality programs. Preschool partners are selected based on participation and rating in the state's improvement process system. A grant to this project would allow Great Start Collaborative to provide preschool scholarships for children in need of a high-quality preschool experience.

Update equipment for youth robotics programs
Amount awarded: $6,344
The Harbor Springs Robotics program aims to promote STEM-related fields and activities at all ages. The program reaches students from grades K-12. In order to offer students the best learning environment, the program needs to purchase Lego Education Spike kits, which will allow them to move to the new standard of technology for the FIRST Lego League. The program was able to purchase several of the Lego Education Spike Essential kits last year for their K-3 teams, and purchasing 2 more will ensure that all of the members of our 5 teams will have access to the newest technology. At the high school level, they were able to purchase one swerve drive chassis this season. Purchasing a second chassis would allow their programmers and builders, particularly the younger students, access to the same hardware that will be used for their competition robot. A grant to this project will help Harbor Springs Robotics update its equipment to prepare students with the latest technology.

Purchase developmentally appropriate materials for preschool children
Amount awarded: $2,522
Petoskey Children’s Nature Preschool (PCN) is a nonprofit, tuition based preschool serving 3-4 year olds. They rent space in a local church and were sharing a kitchen set with the church, but they have taken it to use in their nursery area. Donated kitchen sets from parents are small and not commercial grade so they are not holding up to the wear and tear of regular use by numerous children. The art area cubby is a much needed storage space for the children to help themselves to art supplies to create their visions and unique projects. Free play and open-ended art are key components to PCN’s curriculum and help the developmental needs of children of this age. A grant to this effort will allow PCN to update its dramatic play materials. 

Build playground spaces for young children to explore
Amount awarded: $15,000
Petoskey Montessori Children’s House (PMCH) is a year-round nonprofit childcare and education center. Spending time outside is a cornerstone of Montessori philosophy. PMCH believes outdoor play is imperative not only for physical health, but also for social-emotional development, sensory processing, increased cognition and focus, and fostering a love for the natural environment. Currently, PMCH has no existing structural equipment and most of their miscellaneous outdoor play items have fallen into disrepair. A grant to this project would allow PMCH to install 2 sets of playground equipment; one for infants and toddlers and the second for preschool-aged children.

Support elementary students’ emotional needs with therapy dog
Amount awarded: $3,000
Petoskey High School has had a therapy dog available to comfort students for several years with great results. The power of dogs is incredible. They can comfort students, and they can celebrate with them. They make the school feel welcoming and comforting to each and every student who walks through the doors. Following the success of the project at the high school, the Public Schools of Petoskey has agreed to pilot the initiative at an elementary school. The therapy dog will be trained to support students’ emotional needs by greeting students and helping students de-escalate after having emotional outbursts in school. The school district will support the ownership and insurance expenses, and grants have been secured for a portion of the dog’s training. A grant to this project would cover the remaining cost of specialized training for the therapy dog.


Replace the Douglas Lake Road culvert crossing with a timber bridge
Amount awarded: $10,000
For years, Conservation Resource Alliance has been working with conservation and government partners to restore and “free-span” the Maple River in Emmet County. The final phase of the Free-Span the Maple River Initiative will be complete with the removal of one last problematic stream crossing at Douglas Lake Road over the East Branch of the Maple River. The crossing consists of two undersized culverts that function more like dams due to debris blockage and act as a severe velocity barrier to aquatic species. The implementation of the bridge will stabilize embankments and manage road runoff to reduce sedimentation. The bridge, once complete, will have restored full connectivity to the entirety of the Maple River—the first free-spanning of a major river in the Midwest. Funding of this proposal will help to construct a full channel-spanning timber bridge, restoring the river's natural flow.

Help residents safely dispose of household hazardous waste
Amount awarded: $10,000
Emmet County Recycling (ECR) operates a hazardous waste program to provide free chemical drop-off days for Emmet County residents, yet costs for hazardous materials hauling are increasing. In 2022, ECR spent $45,000 hosting three events. They’ve been told by their vendor to expect those costs to increase by 50% for 2023. To offset costs, ECR is only hosting two drop-off events this year. In 2022, 520 residents used the free drop-off days and ECR collected 56 tons of household hazardous waste material. ECR believes fair and equal access to the disposal of hazardous waste is essential to protecting our environment and waterways, and aims to keep the service free for residents. A grant to this effort will help ECR keep the household hazardous waste disposal program free for residents.

Build a dock to improve wetland access at a local nature preserve
Amount awarded: $6,000
Providing places for people to access nature is a key part of the Little Traverse Conservancy (LTC) mission of fostering appreciation of the environment. Twenty-six trails are established in Emmet County. LTC works to keep trails in good condition and look for ways to enhance visitors’ connection to nature. The Sally and Jack Clark Nature Preserve is the only nature preserve within the city limits of Petoskey. To make the entire natural area more accessible, LTC seeks to build a viewing platform and dock to access a pond on the preserve. LTC’s Environmental Education team brings local students from Petoskey schools to this preserve and will be able to provide hands-on wetland ecology programs. Additionally, LTC will repair an eroding part of the preserve’s trail with new steps to continue to facilitate safe and inviting nature viewing for the Petoskey community. A grant to this project will help construct the viewing platform and dock at the Sally and Jack Clark Nature Preserve.

Install public art to educate public about rain gardens
Amount awarded: $8,000
Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council (TOMWC) has built rain gardens throughout Emmet County, but it is not feasible to install interpretive signage at every location. Rain gardens help manage stormwater runoff while creating ideal habitat for pollinators, birds, and other small animals like frogs and turtles. The Community Rain Garden Mural will serve as community art to enhance Downtown Petoskey and be used for educational tours to teach school children, teachers, and the public about the benefits of rain gardens. A Michigan muralist will paint the west facade of our Petoskey headquarters adjacent to the parking lot. It will illustrate how native plants with long root structures filter and retain stormwater, attract pollinators important to local gardens and farms, and beautify our community. The lower portion of the mural will show how sand, soil, pebbles and stones create a natural bioretention area slowing down stormwater and filtering pollutants before cleaner rainwater makes its way into Little Traverse Bay. Each feature of the mural will have a QR Code for visitors to take a self-guided tour using a smart phone to access information about native plants best suited for rain gardens, pollinators they attract, and where and how to build rain gardens to protect our fresh waters. A grant to this project will help Tip of the Mitt install a community rain garden mural on their building. 


Update equipment to ensure safety in the event of a cardiac emergency
Amount awarded: $3,109
According to the National EMS Information System, it can take an average of 13 minutes in rural areas for first responders to arrive on the scene of an emergency. According to the American Heart Association, every minute delayed in treating a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) victim decreases their chance of survival by 10%. Alanson Public School recently became a MI HEARTSafe School, and through that process discovered that the two Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are beyond their expiration dates. The typical life of a units is 5-10 years based on manufacturer recommendations: Alanson’s units are 11 and 17 years old respectively. The replacement of the two existing AED units is paramount for the safety and best chance of survival in the event of a cardiac emergency, not only for the school members but the community as well. A grant to this project will support the purchase of two new AED units and the rescue supplies for each unit.

Recruit a stable workforce to serve our most vulnerable residents
Amount awarded: $10,000
The vision for Bay Bluffs’ workforce capacity-building campaign is to develop and implement a marketing campaign in order to recruit a stable workforce to better serve our community.  The COVID-19 pandemic has had more than just a mild impact on the operations of the county care facility.  The sustainability of Bay Bluffs depends on recruitment of new staff and retention of current staff.  Nursing homes do not have the best reputation as a great place to live or work. The pandemic has only worsened the already predicted nursing staff shortages locally, statewide, and nationally. Bay Bluffs aims to change the narrative about working in long-term care with careful crafting of messages that highlight the quality care provided by an outstanding team of care partners. Grant funding will help Bay Bluffs engage with a professional team who can provide the rebranding framework the organization needs to rebuild staffing and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Connect healthcare, wellness, and local food for area providers
Amount awarded: $8,500
After a two-year pause during the pandemic, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities is bringing back the Farms, Food and Health Culinary Medicine Training. The training will bring together health practitioners, employers, teachers, school administrators, poverty reduction advocates, human resources professionals, farmers, and foodservice directors to connect healthcare, wellness, and local food through panels, lectures, workshops on skill training, resources, and action items for change. Groundwork aims to expand outreach to more family and federally qualified health centers. Scholarships are for individuals needing adequate continuing education funding, or who have barriers to join. These learning opportunities for medical providers move the needle so every person sustains nutrition security as a community baseline. A grant to this project will allow Groundwork to offer scholarships to allow health care professionals to participate in this important training.

Provide housing support to attract family medicine residents to northern Michigan
Amount awarded: $10,000
The McLaren Northern Michigan (MNM) Family Medicine Residency Program is being implemented in partnership with McLaren Flint. Residents will complete their first year of training in Flint and two years of training at MNM. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, two of the strongest predictors that a physician will choose rural practice are specialty and background. Creating medical residencies is considered one of the best ways to engage physicians interested in practicing in a rural community and keep them there. In our challenging housing market, finding a suitable place for the training physicians to live is a critical barrier. The first class of Family Medicine Residents will arrive at MNM this July. Grant funding from the Community Foundation will directly support an employer-assisted housing program to ensure residents have housing over the course of their two years of training.

Provide a place to stay for families facing medical treatment far from home
Amount awarded: $3,500
When the best treatment for a critically ill child takes a family far from home, Ronald McDonald House Charities West Michigan eliminates worry and financial burdens by providing a free place to stay. In addition to lodging, they provide compassionate hospitality through food, transportation, and other amenities. Their goal is to provide parents, caregivers, and siblings of pediatric patients a place of respite and opportunities for self-care. Funding from the  Community Foundation will contribute to their Care & Comfort Fund, to support families from Emmet County who need to call on this service in a time of need.

Human Services

Recruit and retain foster families in Emmet County
Amount awarded: $5,000
Since 1981, Child and Family Services’ (CFS) Harbor Springs office has served Emmet and nearby counties. Over the years, they have worked with dozens of Emmet County foster families, youth, and children. CFS has 71 licensed foster homes. But just 3 of them serve all of Emmet County!  Recruiting and retaining foster care families is critical to ensure resources are available in their home community when a child is in need. In addition, there are many pressures (financial and emotional) on foster families as they care for youngsters who have been neglected and/or abused. Often foster families need additional beds, home repairs, a winter coat, childcare assistance, or music and sports fees as they serve a child. An added ability to meet foster family needs will make a big difference in retaining foster families. A grant to this project will enable a foster family recruitment campaign as well as funding to provide for the unmet needs of foster families as they arise.

Give children from low-income families backpacks with needed supplies
Amount awarded: $5,000
Christ Child Society of Northern Michigan promotes the well-being of infants and children in northern Michigan. The organization collaborates with Head Start, a provider of free preschool for low-income families, to give each Head Start preschooler a backpack filled with needed supplies. The backpacks contain school supplies, a toiletry kit, a change of clothing, and a handmade fleece blanket. In late autumn, Christ Child Society also delivers hats and mittens to the same students who received backpacks. These backpacks give the 3- and 4-year-olds and their parents a fresh start to begin their first exposure to a formalized learning environment.  A grant to this project will help Christ Child Society purchase backpack supplies for Emmet County children.

Educate SNAP participants about benefits to access fresh produce
Amount awarded: $2,553
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan received a 3-year 2020 USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant to promote our local farmers markets, supporting our local economy and healthy eating. The Downtown Petoskey and Harbor Springs Farmers Markets both accept food assistance (SNAP) and have either been approved or applied for Double UP Food Bucks (DUFB), that allows participants to match SNAP dollars to purchase local produce. Many SNAP recipients are not aware that they can use their benefits at farmers markets. We propose to increase outreach by partnering with our local DHHS office to send postcards directly to each SNAP-participating household in Emmet County. This strategy has worked in previous years to inform low-income families how to access healthy foods. A grant to this project will allow the Health Department to educate families on this benefit, and will serve as part of the required match for their USDA grant.

Provide backpacks with nourishment for children
Amount awarded: $10,000
One in five children in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties lives in a household where there is inconsistent access to healthy food. As a result, many children face challenges at school. Manna offers help by sending home shelf-stable healthy food options for children on the weekends. Children receive a Manna "backpack" of food going home Friday after school. With the help of dietitians and student surveys, Manna frequently updates the contents in the backpacks to make sure they are healthy, and kid approved. When a child does not get enough to eat, it puts them at a serious disadvantage. Children facing hunger are more likely to have health conditions. Children may have to repeat a grade, or experience developmental impairments and display behavioral problems. The Manna Food Project distributed 53,440 backpacks in 2022. Manna expanded the program to feed children during the summer months as well. A grant to this effort will be used to purchase food for the backpacks.

Help individuals with social, emotional, or physical challenges receive equine therapy
Amount awarded: $5,700
Northern Michigan Equine Therapy (NMET) is an outpatient rehabilitation facility that uses the healing power of horses to improve lives. Through its Equine Assisted Occupational Therapy (EAOT) and its HorseSense® programs, NMET uses a horse as a therapeutic tool to enhance independence, self-confidence, and quality of life for individuals with physical disabilities and mental health needs. As a policy, NMET will never deny a client care because of inability to pay for services but does ask clients to contribute what they can. For this purpose, NMET created a Therapy Assistance Fund, bridging the gap for approximately 60% of all clients to ensure services are accessible to our community. A grant to this effort would cover the cost of 40 HorseSense® and 18 EAOT sessions dedicated to youth in Emmet County.

Provide housing and transportation assistance for people in need
Amount awarded: $10,000
Saint Vincent de Paul feeds families, provides beds, warm clothes, energy assistance, and other urgent needs to individuals in need. Over the past several years, they have experienced a more than 80% increase annually for assistance. So far 2023 shows a 42% increase over the same period last year. Two of the top areas where assistance is provided include housing and transportation. These are challenges for many in our community. Housing is not affordable in and near our cities, forcing people to live in more rural areas. Moving to rural areas requires transportation to and from work, schools, doctors, shopping, etc. Vehicles become lifelines to income. We are able to help clients obtain or keep their housing by assisting with a down payment or security deposit, repair their vehicles, and, when necessary, provide temporary transportation to meet specific needs. A grant to this effort would allow St. Vincent de Paul to provide housing and transportation assistance to an estimated 25 additional individuals or families.

Improve safety and comfort for senior citizens
Amount awarded: $3,050
The Friendship Center of Harbor Springs provides meals, educational programs, and special events and entertainment to older adults in Harbor Springs. Presently, the chairs at the Friendship Center are difficult for older adults to get in and out of. The legs of the chair are a tripping hazard. It is important that the participants feel safe and capable entering and exiting the chairs. The Friendship Center of Harbor Springs also needs to provide a safe and hazard-free environment. Grant funding would support the purchase of new, safer, and more comfortable chairs.

Provide summer camp experience for teen moms
Amount awarded: $4,000
YoungLives camp is a 5-day camp experience for teen moms and their babies. This summer YoungLives plans to send 5 teen moms, their babies, 4 mentors, and 3 childcare workers to experience the best week of their lives. For teen moms, the pressures of the adolescent years are compounded by the pressures of parenting. YoungLives camp is a week where they are taken care of and can enjoy friendship with other teen moms. There are adventurous activities and family-style meals, but most campers say the best part of their week is the encouraging and challenging talks they hear at club each night at camp. This grant would support teen moms attending YoungLives camp as well as one teen as a childcare worker to serve at camp.


Provide an evening of music, art, history, and recreation in Bay View Woods
Amount awarded: $1,750
Bay View Association (BVA) has been an area treasure for 148 years. The campus is open to the public year-round.   Bay View Association enriches life in communities in the Little Traverse Bay region by preserving its history and beauty, working as an integral community partner, and responsibly stewarding the natural environment. Following on a successful inaugural event in 2022, Bay View Association will host its second annual Woods Walk on July 3, 2023. This event offers the community—free of charge—a multi-disciplinary, multi-generational evening of music, art, information, and celebration while hiking historic trails in Bay View Woods, a 149-acre protected woodland in the heart of Petoskey. A grant to this project will help offset the expenses associated with offering this event.

Construct new docks to expand sailing program on Crooked Lake
Amount awarded: $7,500
Crooked Lake Sailors (CLS) provides learn-to-sail programs to area youth. Over the past several years, participation in CLS has grown as their local community outreach plan, implemented a few years ago, began to grow wings.  Simply put: more community people want to learn how to sail. This growth came from Crooked Lake Sailors’ intentional outreach to local youth. With this growth comes the need to expand their dock footprint on Crooked Lake. This additional dock footage will allow CLS to safely instruct students without endangering anyone. With the additional docks, they will continue to expand their sailing program and introduce more people to the joy of sailing. A grant to this project will help CLS construct new docks at its location on Crooked Lake.

Provide housing support for summer interns
Amount awarded: $7,000
For the past decade, the First Tee of Northern Michigan has made a positive impact on thousands of young people in the northern Michigan area by using the honorable game of golf to teach kids important life lessons. Their core values include confidence, courtesy, honesty, integrity, judgement, perseverance, respect, responsibility, and sportsmanship and at least one value is utilized in every golf lesson. First Tee’s programs have produced many success stories including a participant that has recently earned the prestigious Evans Scholarship that includes a full ride to Michigan State University as well as other perks along the way. In order to continue to provide these structured lessons to and shape the future of many more youth in our region, First Tee is on a quest to hire the best summer interns possible. With housing being a challenge in our area, especially during peak summer months, it is necessary for First Tee to provide housing to their interns. A grant to this project will help cover the cost of intern summer housing.

Purchase new backstroke flags and lane lines for pool safety
Amount awarded: $4,434
The mission of the Hammerhead Swim Club is to develop swimming skills and encourage sportsmanship, integrity, and teamwork through a competitive swimming experience. While swimming is a simple sport without a lot of technical equipment, there are two pieces of equipment that are vital to a properly functioning pool environment: backstroke flags and lane lines. Lane lines are used to separate the six lanes of the pool and to deter waves from growing out of control. Backstroke flags are placed five meters from the pool wall, and they alert swimmers to prevent them from hitting their heads. The Club’s current equipment was purchased in the 1990s, and they are now in a state of deterioration. The cables on the lane lines have grown jagged and broken. The plastic pieces are cracked and falling apart. The backstroke flags are torn and faded. Grant funds will be used to purchase new backstroke flags and lane lines for the Hammerhead Swim Club.

Provide scholarships for sailing instruction to Emmet County youth
Amount awarded: $10,000
Little Traverse Sailors (LTS) is focusing on expanding its reach to local, year-round families in northern Michigan. In the past the organization felt it focused too much on the summer residents and not enough on the local students and families that make up the fabric of Harbor Springs and the surrounding area. Last year, LTC re-instituted a local rate along with helping students with scholarship funds. LTS’ mission is to Build Lifelong Sailors and they want everyone to have an opportunity. A grant to this effort would enable LTS to offer a local discount rate and provide scholarships to families who can’t afford the cost of instruction.

Construct batting cages to create a safe batting practice environment
Amount awarded: $7,000
North Emmet Little League (NELL) is dedicated to teaching young athletes the fundamentals of the games of baseball and softball, concepts of teamwork, commitment, and respect. Currently, Pioneer Park does not have the facilities or equipment necessary for age 6-14 baseball and softball players to conduct batting practice in a controlled environment, putting league participants at a significant disadvantage compared to their local counterparts. By installing two batting cages equipped with pitching machines, NELL seeks to "level the field" with local competition while improving the conditions and experience of youth athletes from Alanson, Pellston, and Mackinaw. A grant to this area will allow NELL to create a safe area for hitting practice.

Enrich local chess program
Amount awarded: $2,910
The Petoskey District Library (PDL) plans to grow its chess program via US Chess Federation-rated tournaments. This will enrich the chess-playing experience within our community by promoting inclusiveness, sportsmanship, and positive character traits. The PDL chess program began in 2011 for kids ages 8 -18. They successfully attract youth to chess by offering opportunities for informal play. The group meets weekly and offers monthly tournaments and a championship event. As with other library programs, PDL offers its program to youth free-of-charge, online, and in-person. To advance the youth chess program additional equipment is needed to enable hosting of USCF-sanctioned tournaments in Petoskey so that players can receive nationally recognized chess ratings. A grant to this effort will allow Petoskey District Library to purchase timers, game boards and pieces, scoring software, and a computer and mobile printer. 

Update Pickerel Lake park for enhanced shoreline access
Amount awarded: $15,000
Springvale Township Park, developed as a multiuse shoreline facility with 300 feet of shoreline, is located on Pickerel Lake. The park has been in existence for over 50 years with little to no improvements. The park is open to all 2000+ residents as well as thousands of non-resident visitors that frequent the township. The aesthetic character of the park rests with its shoreline beauty, wetland ecology, and wildlife. The township plans to upgrade the shoreline by removing rocks and debris.  A sand playground area will be added above the lake level for children to play. They would also like to add benches as a resting place when viewing the beautiful sunsets. Funding for the refurbishment of the Township Park will be a public/private partnership with the private funding coming from grants and the public funds coming from tax dollars. A grant to this project will help Springvale Township initiate phase one of its park enhancements, to create a more user-friendly, appealing environment.

Construct top notch mountain bike trails at Offield Family Viewlands
Amount awarded: $15,000
The Offield Family Viewlands Flowtrack Mountain Bike Trail Expansion project will support 26,400 feet of new construction and 200 linear feet of steeltrack trail features, including the property's first loop trail - which will begin and end in the main parking lot. This trail—the Blue Trail—will be beginner friendly and include added features to make the entire loop engaging and exciting for riders of all skill levels and experience. The project will create an innovative, intuitive experience that will allow riders to feel as though they are floating through the landscape. These expanded trails will help to strike a balance between making environmental-based experiences available to riders of all ages and ability and protecting the native ecosystems of the Offield Family Viewlands. The trails will allow greater opportunity and accessibility for experiences that will foster passion and inspire future environmental stewards. A grant to this effort will help Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Assocation construct new mountain bike trails.

Improve public kayak access on Crooked River
Amount awarded: $7,000
The Village of Alanson seeks to increase access to Crooked River in Alanson by installing a Freestanding Launch Port System, used to easily board and launch a personal craft with a freestanding dock and launch system. The system is ideal for controlled bodies of water with minimal water fluctuation like the Crooked River. The proposed kayak launch will be installed near Sanctuary Island in Alanson to provide access to the community and to complement the existing informational infrastructure including displays that include photos and artifacts on each community along the entire water route throughout the Crooked River. A grant to this project will support the purchase of a freestanding kayak launch.