What is a Foundation home page image

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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Memorials & Bequests Image

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

 
Read more
Donor Advised Funds

Donor Advised Funds

Michael and Mary Hendon were long-time schoolteachers in Muskegon County, so it’s fitting that nearly 25 years ago the couple began their lives together with a surprise staff meeting wedding at Nims school. Their student at the time, Muskegon’s Jay Wallace, and three of his classmates, surprised them later in the day with a bouquet of wedding flowers for their special day.

Two decades later, Michael and Mary Hendon chose the same Jay Wallace to be their financial advisor. Thanks to advice from him, and inspiration from friends Mike and Kay Olthoff, the Hendons recently started an Advised Fund, which they named the Michael and Mary Hendon Fund. The couple is grateful to be able to use a small inheritance to give back to the community they love.

Since Advised Funds allow donors to choose where to give, the Hendons can make grants to Muskegon Public Schools today, the art museum tomorrow, and wherever else their heart pulls them in the future. They also plan to name the foundation as a beneficiary in their trust and their two sons will be successor advisors.

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

 
Read more
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

Joe and Joanne Beyrle started the Beyrle-Hollowell Scholarship Fund in 1995. The Fund was made to honor the memory of their parents while also helping students interested in studying abroad.

Their motivation for starting the Fund came from seeing the impact it had on their own son, John Beyrle. In 1975, John received a $300 scholarship from the Community Foundation to continue his Russian Studies program overseas. Thanks to someone planting a seed in their son, John Beyrle is now recognized for serving as Deputy Chief of Mission to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

The Beyrles have since passed, but their gifts continue to impact students in the Muskegon area. Their Fund has given 18 scholarships to students attending college.

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

The Farmers Market has been an important part of our community for years. People from all across West Michigan support the fresh, locally-grown produce, flowers, and crafts.

Thanks to several donations during the 2013 campaign, the Farmers Market is getting some serious love. In the spring of 2014, the market will move to its new $3 million downtown location on the corner of West Western and Terrace Street. The new location is bigger, more accessible, and is sure to be another downtown attraction. 

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 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
Grants Home Page Image

Grants

When the City of Muskegon officials had to cut their longtime youth summer program in 2010, the Thomas and Geraldine Seyferth Fund stepped in. Their grant, along with a partnership with the Muskegon Family Y, allowed the program to continue.

Thanks to the Seyferth's Fund, children can still have safe, fun, and supervised activities in any number of Muskegon's beautiful parks.

In 2012, the Foundation awarded 1,138 grants totaling $6,389,890 toward community impact. Our competitive grant process happens each fall and spring through this website. It's open to any greater-Muskegon organization recognized as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS. Also, each fall, Muskegon County teachers can apply for mini-grants up to $500 toward helping out in the classroom.

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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