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What is a Community Foundation?

If you think a community foundation is a nonprofit organization created by local residents to improve their communities, you’re right. But that’s just the beginning.

We work with donors, grantees, advisers and our communities to identify and support the issues that shape our area. By bringing people together around a common mission, and creating links between resources and your vision for the future, we’re helping ensure that our communities remain vital and strong.

To learn more about the foundation please contact:

Bob Chapla,
VP, Development
Click here to email Bob.
or call (231) 332-4111




Heidi Sytsema,
Donor Services Director
Click here to email Heidi,
or call (231) 332-4107

 
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Legacy

Jacoba “Jessie” George has deep-rooted ties to this community. Born in Fremont, she married Earl Benton and lived in Muskegon where she raised her family. Jessie lived most of her life as a devoted homemaker and mother, but after the death of her husband, she ran the family business – the Muskegon Paper Box Company – until she retired in 1964.

Years later, Muskegon received a surprising gift. Because she loved this community, Jessie chose to leave a half million dollar unrestricted gift to the Foundation. Thank you, Jessie, for your legacy and for caring about Muskegon County.

You've also made an impact on this community, so don't stop now. Leave a legacy by putting your Community Foundation in your will or trust. It’s easy! Name us as the beneficiary of a retirement account or life insurance policy, or work with your advisors to build an estate plan around your goals. If you already have, let us know. We want to say thanks and make sure that your wishes are carried out.

Have you lost a friend or relative that had a place in their heart for youth, the arts, community growth or education etc.? Leave a memorial gift in their memory to any of our more than 1,200 community funds. 

Bob Chapla,
VP, Development
Click here to email Bob.
or call (231) 332-4111



Heidi Sytsema,
Donor Services Director
Click here to email Heidi,
or call (231) 332-4107

 
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Donor Advised Funds

Donor Advised Funds

There is no better way to define Rosemary Lambert than through the title of her blog, “Live Simple, Love Like Crazy.” After being diagnosed with ALS, she started writing letters to family and friends, stories of her childhood, her dreams and what she’s grateful for.

“I see kindness in the form of a beautiful card, a smiling visitor or caring hands that help me function. I’ve enjoyed more amazing candlelit dinners in the past year than I’ve had in my whole life. I think I will be able to live the rest of my life with the happiness that has filled my heart up to this point. Everything else feels like a bonus.”

Rosemary’s dream is to support students who are pursuing theirs. She and her husband started the Mark and Rosemary Lambert’s Dream Fund for students at Reeths-Puffer and Muskegon Catholic schools. Whether it’s running shoes for track or a dress for senior prom, Rosemary will help for years to come.

Starting a fund is easy. Whether you know exactly where you want to give, or you just know you want to show love for your community, we can help you turn inspiration into reality. 

Bob Chapla,
VP, Development
Click here to email Bob,
or call (231) 332-4111

 

Heidi Sytsema,
Donor Services Director
Click here to email Heidi,
or call (231) 332-4107

 
Read more
Committees Doing Good

Committees Doing Good

Yvonne "Bonnie" Smith lived in the village of Fruitport for over sixty years. Upon her death in 2011, Bonnie left The Fruitport Education Foundation a generous estate gift from her trust. Her contribution represents a life-long dedication to her community and the education of its future students.

The Fruitport Community School's Education Foundation is one of many school districts with a "Committee Advised Fund" created to help students. In addition to estate gifts like the one left by Bonnie, a large number of Fruitport employees choose the option of payroll deduction to help out the Fund. Like many other schools, a fund like this is separate from the School Board, and completely ran by community members and school employees.

Kiwanis and Muskegon Rotary are also Committee Advised Funds. The Kiwanis Fund helps to support community organizations, while the Muskegon Rotary Fund makes grants through a competitive process. Recently, Muskegon Rotary made a grant to Pathfinders located in Muskegon Heights and another to Goodwill.

A Committee Advised Fund is much like a Donor Advised Fund. It uses the help of a committee made up of interested community members to support any cause of your choice. Talk to us about how one of our many committees can help you to make a difference in what matters to you most.  

Bob Chapla,

VP, Development


Click here to email Bob.
or call (231) 332-4111


 

Heidi Sytsema,
Donor Services Director
Click here to email Heidi,
or call (231) 332-4107

 
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Unrestricted Funds

Unrestricted Funds

Don and Nancy Crandall love this community. They wanted to give back in so many ways, but needed a little help deciding where their gift will make the most impact.

Donors who create an unrestricted fund leave the legwork to us. They trust our team to carefully consider how to make the most of their gift. We constantly talk to non-profit organizations and look for areas of need in our community. Then, we have the flexibility to match our unrestricted dollars to fill in the gaps.

A wide range of nonprofits are helped with these dollars each year. Last spring, a couple of the programs included supporting the establishment of a Spanish-English bilingual library and bringing Double Up Food Bucks to the Muskegon Farmers Market.

Let's work together to make sure you're making the most of your dollar. We can show you how easy it is to start an Unrestricted Fund.

Bob Chapla,
VP, Development
Click here to email Bob.
or call (231) 332-4111

 

Heidi Sytsema,
Donor Services Director
Click here to email Heidi,
or call (231) 332-4107

 
Read more
Education

Education

2013 was a big scholarship year for us. Two new funds directly benefit our White Lake area.

Robert Eilers started the Viola Mikkelsen-Robert Eilers Nursing Scholarship Fund in honor of his big sister. When he was young, Viola saved his life by nursing him through a severe illness. Without her, Bob said he probably wouldn’t have made it. Through his estate, Bob paid it forward by creating this fund, which will help Montague High School grads pursue nursing degrees.

The Roesler Memorial Scholarship Fund was created by his family in memory of Henry Roesler, a well-known community leader in Montague. As if being mayor and a former police chief weren’t enough, Henry liked to be involved in a variety of community initiatives in the Montague area. Henry’s love and generosity for this community can still be felt today by graduating seniors of Montague Area Public Schools.

Sometimes scholarships do more than pay tuition; they connect us to important history and our future. Let us help you begin a scholarship fund. 

Bob Chapla,
VP, Development
Click here to email Bob.
or call (231) 332-4111

 

Heidi Sytsema,
Donor Services Director
Click here to email Heidi,
or call (231) 332-4107

 
 
 
Dana Scott,
Scholarship Coordinator
Click here to email Dana,
or call (231) 332-4104
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo credited to Mlive
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Community

Community

For years, the Muskegon Farmers Market has welcomed people from all across West Michigan. As part of the rebuilding of our downtown, a group of community leaders initiated a campaign to raise $4M to build a new market on Western Avenue. Thanks to foundations, our own match challenge, and amazing support from community donors, the market opened in 2014.

The new market has room for year-round indoor events, more space for vendors, and utilities at every stall. Better yet, the location is now accessible from every bus line and within walking distance to banks, the post office, and many other businesses. The market has become a cornerstone of downtown Muskegon!

Next to the new Farmers Market, little ones can frolic all summer long in the new children’s fountain and splash pad at Alcoa Celebration Square. The splash pad is free to the public and open 11am to 8pm in the summer months through Labor Day.

Improvements like these can't happen without the community's support. Let's talk about how we can start something great in your community!

Bob Chapla,
VP, Development
Click here to email Bob.
or call (231) 332-4111

 

Heidi Sytsema,
Donor Services Director
Click here to email Heidi,
or call (231) 332-4107

 
Read more
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Grants

Healthiness is happiness, and healthiness starts with our food. The HEALTHY Muskegon program (Healthy Eating and Access – Local Teams Helping Youth) is committed to the goal of providing fresh, local, healthy food for everyone in our community. Through a re-granting program, network meeting, learning journeys and shared knowledge and experience, we work together with HEALTHY Muskegon to improve our community’s health. Click here to learn more about HEALTHY Muskegon and to see a list of Grantees!

If your organization has a project or need, our Foundation staff are here to help. We can provide details on our Grantmaking process, and even walk you through how to submit a proposal. 

Janelle Mair,
Director of Grantmaking
Click here to email Janelle.
or call (231) 332-4116

 

 

Teresa Taylor Williams,
Program Officer
Click here to email Teresa.
or call (231) 332-4124

 
 
 
 


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Contact Us

425 W. Western Ave | Suite 200 | Muskegon, MI 49440

T: (231) 722-4538 | F: (231) 722-4616

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