Grants Awarded

Fall 2023 Grants Awarded

Emmet County senior citizens will receive nourishing meals delivered to their homes. School-age students will have assistance with entry into Cub Scouts, expanded options for sports, and key support from food pantries within the local schools. 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 $225,980 in grants as part of its Fall 2023 grant cycle. A total of 28 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 humbled by seeing the width and breadth of work our partners are doing,” said Jenni Attie, chair of the foundation’s Grant Distribution Committee. “The work these partners do in our community every day makes our work possible. And it makes our community stronger."

As part of the overall awards, the foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) recommended $64,803 in grants from the Fund for Youth to 13 organizations after conducting in-person interviews. The YAC is comprised of 23 area teens, eighth grade through seniors. YAC members Grace Hayhurst, a junior at Harbor Springs High School, and Devin Marvin, a junior at Petoskey High School and a member of the foundation board, presented their funding recommendations to the foundation board recently.

In addition to the Fund for the Community and the Fund for Youth, 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 youth needs, youth recreation, and science initiatives. Support also came from donor advised funds, which are created by individuals and families to carry out their charitable giving.

Thank you to the following donor advised and field of interest funds for supporting this grant cycle:

  • Tom and Susie Carruthers Fund
  • Circuit Controls Corporation Charitable Fund
  • Clarke Family Fund
  • Jack Michael Duff Memorial Fund
  • Erickson Family Fund
  • Ted and Brenda Frey Donor Advised Fund
  • Ann K. Irish Charitable Fund
  • Susan Irish Stewart Charitable Fund
  • Birchwood Outreach Fund
  • Deb Greenwald Foster Family Care and Support Fund
  • Jeff Kring Outdoor Youth Education Fund
  • Schulze-Stern Fund for Young People
  • Science for the Future Fund
  • United Way Health and Human Services Fund

Arts & Culture

Help make a unique performing arts experience accessible in northern Michigan
Amount granted: $10,000
The Great Lakes Center for the Arts provides year-round performing arts experiences to northern Michigan. Traditional circuses of the past traveled from place to place, pitching their tents in fields under the iconic big tops. Today, circuses have evolved, relying on cutting-edge technology and astonishing acrobatics, necessitating well-equipped stages in major urban centers. This shift has made such performances largely inaccessible to many in northern Michigan. To address this, the Center has found a solution in the form of Cirque Mechanic's touring show, "Zephyr - a Whirlwind of Circus," which explores humanity's connection with the wind. The Center has secured two performances of Zephyr for Center Stage, including a general audience evening show and a complimentary student matinee. GLCFA is seeking grant funding to reduce ticket prices for the evening performance, aiming to make this a memorable experience for a wider audience.

Modernize the library’s technology resources
Amount granted: $5,000
The Harbor Springs Library serves our community by providing modern library resources free of charge for all visitors. Technologically speaking, these resources include public Wi-Fi, wireless printing, Wi-Fi hot spots, an extensive digital catalog of e-books and audiobooks, and public-access computers. The four public-use laptops, consisting of two Mac laptops from 2011 and two PCs from 2016, are now obsolete. The library would like to replace these four laptops with more updated technology while still offering the option of two Macs and two PCs. In addition, the library would like to purchase a laptop for library staff use and an Owl 360-degree camera/speaker device to fulfill their video conferencing needs. A grant to this project will directly contribute to the purchase of updated laptops and necessary equipment to provide a modern library experience for all.

Celebrate 35 years of music with a special premiere concert
Amount granted: $5,000
In anticipation of their 35th anniversary in 2024 and to honor their former executive director and a devoted member, the Little Traverse Choral Society (LTCS) has commissioned a new piece of music by local composer Jeff Cobb, tentatively titled "Seasons of the Firekeeper." The premiere performance of this composition will be the centerpiece of LTCS’s Spring 2024 concerts. LTCS concerts aim to provide audiences a chance to enjoy a wide variety of classical and contemporary choral works at accessible venues and at a reasonable price. Funding for this project will support the costs of hiring professional local instrumentalists, and other expenses associated with delivering the premiere performance at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts, helping keep ticket prices accessible.  

Strengthen and expand the creative community in northwest lower Michigan
Amount granted: $7,500
Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network supports and strengthens the collective power of artists, culture bearers, and arts and culture organizations to cultivate vibrant communities. While the Network serves and connects regionally, the creative work and those they serve are at the local level. Geography, seasonality & economics create isolation & disconnects ‘up north’, limiting access to resources, expertise & opportunities. The creative sector is especially impacted by these regional forces as well as statewide funding challenges. Artists & organizations often function in isolation from peers, best practices, economic opportunities & access to resources. With this project, the Network aims to raise awareness and engagement in the Little Traverse area, fostering connections and deepening community roots. Grant funding will provide essential resources to boost the Network’s presence in Emmet County, facilitating outreach, technology enhancements, and engagement with local artists and organizations to strengthen and expand the creative community.

Construct a recreation of the historic Ponshewaing flag stop depot
Amount granted: $10,000
Throughout the early 20th century, trains were a primary means of travel for those coming to northern Michigan. In May 2023, a group of local citizens formed the Ponshewaing Steering Committee to explore recreation of a historical flag stop along the old rail bed that is now the North Western State Trail.  The funding will be used to recreate the Pon-She-Wa-Ing "Flag Stop" train depot along trail near US 31 & Milton Road in the original location of the former Grand Rapids and Indiana train depot. The Flag Stop will be used as a rest stop for trail users with historical photos and information about the Ponshewaing community on Crooked Lake and the Inland Waterway Route. The Top of Michigan Trails Council is acting as the fiscal sponsor for the steering committee. Funding from the Community Foundation will be used toward the construction of the replica flag stop depot.

Produce a concert series that spotlights local artists
Amount granted:  $3,000
Zion Lutheran Church believes people gathering purely for the appreciation of local music is a rare occurrence. Local musicians often play in bars or restaurants where the audience is only partially engaged. That’s why, before the pandemic, the church began organizing a quarterly “For the Love of Music” concert series to spotlight local musicians. These concerts are free, open to the public, and secular—the church does not promote its religious doctrine. Additionally, all musicians are paid for their time. Each concert features several diverse acts, followed by a reception afterwards. The concert series hopes to foster a high level of networking and collaboration among local musicians and inspire people of all ages to appreciate and participate in the musical arts regardless of their financial status. A grant to this project will underwrite a portion of “For the Love of Music” concert production costs, such as marketing and promotion, and lodging and musician fees.

Community & Economic Development

Enhance donor management and organizational effeciency
Amount granted: $3,500
Harbor Inc., a non-profit serving Harbor Springs since 2001, has seen its donor base grow to approximately 1,250 individuals. Managing these donors, however, is currently a cumbersome process involving Excel spreadsheets and manual sorting. To streamline their operations, they are seeking funding for the Network for Good Non-Profit Fundraising Software, which can house all 1,250 donor names, simplify reporting, offer trend analysis over years, and enhance communication with custom surveys, campaign letters, newsletters, and more. This software also provides a secure online donation platform, unlimited support, fundraising coaching, and training opportunities, reducing the need for multiple tools. A grant to this cause will empower Harbor Inc. to operate more efficiently and effectively, benefitting their mission and community support.


Provide new STEM learning tools to enhance K-8 student education
Amount granted: $7,500
The Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District (Char-Em ISD) provides leadership and services to local school districts. The Street STEM initiative is a mobile program aiming to bring STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) directly to schools, offering students hands-on experiences in coding, robotics, problem solving, and much more. This program also empowers teachers to integrate interactive STEM learning into their classrooms. Support for the Street STEM initiative would allow the program to acquire cutting-edge magnetic levitation kits for the Char-Em Street STEM mobile trailer and media center, benefiting K-8 students in our local school districts, particularly enhancing 3rd Grade science standards in 14 Emmet County classrooms.

Advance youth leadership and aerospace education in Emmet County
Amount awarded: $3,500
Tip of the Mitt Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the official U.S. Air Force auxiliary and a non-profit organization, enriches Northern Michigan with youth leadership and aerospace programs. Funding will bolster CAP’s initiatives, enabling local youth to engage in hands-on aviation education. Grant support will enhance CAP’s 3rd annual Community Aviation Open House at the Harbor Springs Airport, offering youth immersive aviation experiences. With grant support, attendees will take home rocketry kits, facilitating interactive learning and culminating in a summer Rocket Launch Day. Moreover, 40 local teachers will receive Aerospace Educator Memberships, empowering them to integrate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) materials into classrooms. Funding will also equip the CAP Cadet Program, ensuring affordable access and providing youth with field trips and leadership training opportunities.

Host a youth summit to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs
Amount awarded: $3,000
Junior Achievement of Northern Michigan (JA) empowers youth for success in the global economy. Expanding on their successful entrepreneurial programs in Emmet County schools, JA will host the Junior Achievement Youth Summit at North Central Michigan College on March 19, 2024. Tailored for 50 students from the Petoskey-Harbor Springs area, this event promises a unique, full-day entrepreneurial experience. Participants will collaboratively tackle a competitive business simulation, making critical decisions and formulating strategic plans for success. Additionally, local business leaders will support students throughout the experience, sharing their entrepreneurial expertise and offering students an invaluable networking opportunity. Support for the Youth Summit will help inspire the next generation of entrepreneuers in Emmet County.

Supply materials to encourage early literacy in low-income households
Amount awarded: $12,000
PoWeR! Book Bags (PBB) stands for Play, Write, and Read, emphasizing the pivotal role of these activities in children’s language and literacy development. With a vision to provide language and literacy tools for every child in northern lower Michigan, PBB initiated its mission in 2016 by supplying books and resources to underprivileged children. In 2020, PBB expanded its reach to Emmet County in collaboration with the Women’s Resource Center and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Bolstered by additional funding, PBB has amplified their impact, benefiting more children in the Early Head Start and Maternal Infant Health Programs. This year, PBB is dedicated to furnishing language and literacy materials to children enrolled in these assistance programs and at local vaccination clinics, ensuring equitable access to these transformative resources for families. Grant support will permit PBB to provide these invaluable materials and the power of early literacy to those who need it most.

Provide exciting new methods for boosting youth literacy in Pellston
Amount awarded: $5,870
The Gaylord Chapter of the State Trooper Outreach Partnership (STOP) responds to the immediate needs of residents in five lower northern Michigan counties. They provide essential aid, from car repairs to emergency supplies for domestic violence victims. Additionally, STOP is committed to nurturing children’s development, as is exemplified by their donation of four book vending machines to local elementary schools in the past two years. Support for STOP will enable the acquisition of an Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machine for Pellston Elementary School, innovatively advancing student literacy and behavior through the joy of reading. Inchy’s Bookworm Vending Machines reward students for good behavior with a take-home book, create an exciting experience at the vending machine, and help students build their own in-home library. Beyond the immediate benefits, this initiative equips students with an invaluable skill, propelling them forward in their academic journeys.


Strengthen the skills of youth service providers through essential education
Amount awarded: $5,000

Since its establishment in 1982, the Child Abuse Prevention and Education Council (CAPE) of Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties has been dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect by raising public awareness and providing education. The annual CAPE Council conference, held every spring, brings renowned national speakers to our community, offering vital professional development for educators, healthcare professionals, social workers, law enforcement, and those working with children and families. Support will bolster the hosting of this crucial event, covering a variety of expenses essential to its success, such as marketing, venue rental, speakers’ fees and travel, lodging, and continuing education credits.

Equip adults with knowledge and confidence to tackle sensitive topics
Amount awarded: $8,000
Planned Parenthood of Michigan (PPMI) provides top-tier healthcare and sexual health education for teens and adults. Recognizing parents, guardians, and trusted adults as crucial sources of sexual health information for young people, PPMI aims to engage these groups to address a common challenge. These essential figures often lack their own confidence and knowledge in sex education, feeling ill-equipped to offer vital support. To bridge this gap, PPMI will engage with youth, parents, guardians, and trusted adults in Emmet County. Beginning with youth focus groups, PPMI will pinpoint young people’s needs, gaps, and questions regarding sex education. These insights will inform subsequent workshops for parents and trusted adults, empowering them to be more approachable, informed, reliable, and confident educators in the lives of young people. Support will open the door to more direct and honest conversations on important topics between adults and youth in Emmet County.

Human Services

Support families with essential toiletries and pantry products
Amount awarded: $8,000
For more than a decade, Cross of Christ Lutheran Church has operated a paper pantry and provided people in need with essential household goods. In fact, it is the only paper pantry in Emmet, Charlevoix or Cheboygan counties. Monthly supplies, such as shampoo, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, soap, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, and dish soap, are bought from the dollar store. Toilet paper and paper towels are acquired from the Manna Project, where products can be purchased by weight and Petoskey Plastics generously donates trash bags for clients. In 2022, the pantry served 762 different families and distributed 1,524 bags of household goods valued at approximately $25 dollars per bag. A grant to this project will help the paper pantry purchase essential goods for individuals in need.

Support the delivery of nourishing meals to seniors through a new vehicle
Amount awarded: $10,000
Food is a basic need that folks cannot do without, and 92% of Meals on Wheels recipients feel that the program aids in their ability to remain in their homes. The Friendship Centers of Emmet County offers homebound seniors a nutritional safey line buy preparing and delivering hot meals on weekdays and frozen meals for weekends and holidays. In addition, the Meals on Wheels driver also serves as an important daily wellness check for isolated seniors, many of whom receive little or no human contact This regular visitation not only enhances emotional well-being but also provides a sense of security. For many elderly individuals, disruptions to their daily routine can be distressing and disorienting. A new delivery vehicle will offer the reliability needed to prevent breakdowns, ensuring seniors receive their scheduled meals consistently. Grant support for this proposal will enable the Friendship Centers of Emmet County to replace an aging delivery vehicle.

Aid families through the loss of a loved one with Grief Support Services
Amount awarded: $10,000
Hospice of Michigan is the largest hospice provider in the state of Michigan. Their Grief Support Services serve both adults and children who are coping with the loss of a loved one. The program provides an increased understanding of the grieving process and helps bereaved individuals build skills for coping with grief. Grief Support Services creates and implements an ongoing schedule of support that includes grief education, individual grief counseling, support groups, memorial services, grief seminars and workshops. Focusing on shared experiences, all grief support activities are designed to offer a supportive, caring, and non-judgmental environment that addresses the many types of loss that occur. With these services, community residents can navigate their grief journey with knowledge, tools, and a professional and reliable support system. Grief Support Services are not reimbursed through Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance. A grant to Hospice of Michigan will allow them to provide Grief Support Services in Emmet County.

Create a compelling video to build success for a capital campaign
Amount awarded: $2,500
Northern Community Mediation (NCM) helps people meaningfully resolve conflicts in Emmet and Charlevoix counties. In March 2023, NCM realized a long-term dream by purchasing its own office condominium. In doing so, NCM moved into a facility that was handicap accessible, had convenient parking for its clients, had technological capacity and provided a professional appearance. The purchase price was $220,000, NCM made a down payment of $45,000 and mortgaged $175,000 though Honor Bank. To ensure financial independence within five years, NCM is launching a capital campaign. This effort not only secures their "Forever Home" but also fortifies the organization's overall capacity, ensuring NCM's continued impact. Support of this grant request will result in the production of a compelling five-minute promotional video that will be shared with donors and supporters.

Stock local food pantries to feed hungry students
Amount awarded: $15,000
Northmen Den Youth Pantries Inc. (NDYP) nourishes our neediest students through a comprehensive approach that values their dignity and individuality. Startling statistics reveal the harrowing reality that almost 1,000 6th to 12th graders in Emmet County are facing hunger, with many from low-income backgrounds going without meals after school and during weekends. NDYP’s school-based youth pantries, open every Friday, provide a lifeline for 11 to 18-year-olds, offering access to a variety of nutritious foods to sustain them through 6 to 7 balanced meals. From their modest beginnings in 2016, serving 8 students at Petoskey Middle School, NDYP has now expanded to encompass 14 pantries, offering vital assistance to 340 children every Friday. NDYP aspires to extend its reach to over 400 students this year, but the rising food prices present a significant hurdle. Grant support can ensure that NDYP continues to make a profound and lasting impact on the lives of Emmet County’s more vulnerable students.

Provide critical infrastructure for a new affordable home in Alanson
Amount awarded: $15,000
Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity works to ensure Emmet and Charlevoix County residents have a safe, decent and affordable place to call home. In 2021, they kicked off the Foundations for Our Future campaign with the goal to build 43 homes by 2025. So far, 10 homes have been sold resulting in a brighter future for 11 children and the retention of 14 hard-working professionals including: a baker, a florist, trades professionals, a non-profit professional, factory workers, an insurance agent, and two administrative professionals. In addition, 18 more homes are under various stages of construction and Habitat for Humanity is on track to beat their goal. Requested funds will support our build located at 7856 Lantern Lane in the Village of Alanson. This is home seven of eight in one of our neighborhood developments within walking distance of schools and stores. The home build is underway, and funds will help cover costs associated with the home's well and septic system estimated at $18,000.

Purchase fire suppression blankets to combat electric vehicle fires
Amount awarded: $8,100
Readmond Friendship Cross Village (RFC) Fire and Rescue, serving the rural areas of Readmond, Friendship, and Cross Village in northern Emmet County, is a dedicated volunteer fire department. With the increasing prevalence of electric vehicles on the roads, the need for updated tools to combat chemical or battery fires, particularly electric vehicle fires, has become evident. These fires are exceptionally intense, emitting hazardous chemicals and often requiring between 3,000 to 8,000 gallons of water for control, and sometimes over 60,000 gallons in cases involving Lithium-Ion fires, such as those found in Tesla vehicles. Being a rural fire department, RFC Fire and Rescue transports water to fire locations, making the vast water demands impractical. More importantly, safety of firefighters and bystanders from the noxious emissions from such fires would be greatly enhanced and structures could more likely be protected. Support for this project will allow RFC Fire and Rescue to purchase fire suppression blankets to more safely and effectively combat electric vehicle fires.

Provide emergency financial assistance for households in need
Amount awarded: $15,000
The Salvation Army's Emergency Financial Assistance Program (EFAP) supports low-income families, individuals, and seniors facing financial hardships. EFAP provides essential aid, such as assistance with heating, electricity, water, shelter, and other basic necessities, safeguarding households' stability. The demand for assistance has surged, driven by increased inflation and the ongoing economic challenges following the post-pandemic crisis. Notably, the amount of emergency financial aid provided has tripled. This aid is often the lifeline that prevents vulnerable community members from experiencing cold, dark nights, eviction, hunger, and more. Support for this proposal will enable the Salvation Army to continue offering vital emergency financial assistance to households in Emmet County grappling with financial difficulties.

Bring technology up to date in a new facility
Amount awarded: $15,000
Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) is committed to equality, justice and the well-being of women. Empowering Bright Futures is a visionary campaign for a capital project that will enhance and expand critical WRCNM programs and services. Following a multi-year assessment and planning process, WRCNM is engaged with commercial builders to renovate an agency-owned building owned in Petoskey. The renovated facility will serve as a hub for various programs, including the Children's Learning Center (CLC), WRCNM Preschool, Children's Advocacy Center (CAC), licensed therapy, advocacy, community prevention education, and all administrative operations. All housing-centered programs and the 24-hour helpline will remain at the Safe Home and its attached offices. A grant to this project will support custom trauma-informed design elements, state-of-the-art security features, and current technology to fit the unique needs of women, children, and families participating in various WRCNM services.


Supply new equipment to ensure safety and enhance fun  
Amount awarded: $4,460
Camp Daggett fosters character development through enriching educational and recreational programs, all within a safe and enjoyable environment. Camp Daggett’s waterfront activities are an important ingredient to the eight-week summer camp and extended programs. These sessions, tailored for ages 7-14, provide a secure environment for children to explore the 1,400 feet of Walloon Lake waterfront, honing essential skills in sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming. Survey data from the 2023 season consistently highlights how these outdoor experiences cultivate confidence, self-esteem, and enduring camaraderie among campers. While Camp Dagget’s offerings are well-received, respondents expressed interest in expanding options to include stand-up paddle boards and replacing worn-out life jackets. With grant support, Camp Daggett aims to procure four inflatable paddle boards from local sources. These lighter alternatives will enhance water access, and alongside new life vests, will ensure their inventory meets the highest safety standards for all campers.

Modernize an impactful therapeutic technique for youth with special needs
Amount awarded: $5,000
The Exceptional Riders Program (ERP) provides transformative horseback riding lessons for individuals with diverse support needs, including physical, mental, and emotional challenges. Their mission to enrich the lives of these individuals through equine-assisted activities and therapies simultaneously imparts the art and sport of horsemanship. Through therapeutic riding sessions, ERP empowers their special needs participants to surpass their limitations, fostering a sense of achievement and self-assurance in the face of physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and behavioral obstacles. With grant support, ERP aims to acquire specialized and individualized equipment crucial for accommodating a diverse range of students, some of which have been in use since ERP’s inception in 1983. This updated equipment will empower ERP to maintain its profound impact on the lives of its students.

Replace and enhance an atheletic development tool in Pellston
Amount awarded: $15,000
Pellston Public Schools is embarking on an expansion of their baseball program by enhancing their facilities. The proposed funding aims to introduce a modern, state-of-the-art batting cage at Pioneer Park in Pellston. The current facility is obsolete, and needs to be replaced. A reliable batting cage is pivotal for player development. It provides a secure environment for batting practice at game-level speeds, removing safety concerns for both players and bystanders. This new addition will serve as a hub for a multitude of drills and activities, benefiting players of all levels. The existing batting cage already sees daily use from community members, aligning with Pellston Public School’s goal of offering constructive, safe activities for every youth in the community. By investing in this project, Pellston ensures that young people have positive outlets, steering them away from potential pitfalls and towards a brighter future. A grant to this project will allow Pellston to purchase and install a new batting cage.

Preserve youth travel baseball opportunities in Petoskey
Amount awarded: $5,500
The Petoskey Baseball Club (PBC) is a newly established youth travel baseball organization, driven by parents determined to sustain youth baseball opportunities. With this recent disbandment of Petoskey Riptide, the previous youth travel baseball organization, Petoskey has lost opportunities for youth to compete in this format. PBC is dedicated to filling this gap, while honing skills, instilling sportsmanship, and fostering a competitive and community-centered environment. The organization seeks assistance securing critical startup equipment, encompassing baseballs, catching gear, hitting nets, and team hats. In their inaugural year, PBC aims to prioritize safety and well-being, ensuring every player has standardized team gear. Additionally, they aspire to foster team identity by outfitting each player with essential uniforms and equipment. Grant support will not only sustain travel youth baseball in Petoskey, but also provide young athletes with the support they need to succeed on and off the field.

Provide assistance to allow everyone the opportunity to be a Cub Scout
Amount awarded: $8,050
Boy Scout of America, Pack 5, is dedicated to shaping the leaders of tomorrow. In the face of rising costs, Pack 5 seeks funding to register their current scouts and leaders with Boy Scouts of America and cover the cost of uniforms for their new scouts. Pack 5 stives to eliminate the financial barrier that prevents children from joining scouts, which can cost families several hundreds of dollars annually. The escalating cost of living has left many families struggling to make ends meet, making it challenging for them to afford the fees associated with scout membership. Grant support will ensure that every child, regardless of financial circumstances, can embark on this transformative journey of leadership and personal growth.