2015 Love Your Community Grant Contest!

Written by cffmc Monday, 31 August 2015 00:00

What can you do with $500?

The Community Foundation for Muskegon County wants to know what YOU can do with $500 to make your corner of Muskegon County a little more lovable. So we’re launching the another Love Your Community grant contest with an invitation to get creative, share your ideas and show your love for Muskegon! (Download the application.)

Inspired by Peter Kageyama’s message encouraging citizens to declare their love for their community, we will award $500 mini-grants to five projects that demonstrate and share the love! Past Love Your Community projects have been big on love with lots of impact and include Movies on the Beach, the Lakeside Community Pocket Park, a Play It Forward benefit concert for the Snurfer Sculpture, Paint the Pavement, Portraits of White Lake exhibit, and Linenbottom and His Amazing Wowsical Traveling Show performing in neighborhoods across the city!

Unlike our traditional grants, Love Your Community grants are open to anyone, including individuals and businesses as well as nonprofits. Project ideas must be for the benefit of Muskegon County and its residents, whether for a specific neighborhood or community or the county as a whole; they are not for personal or business benefit.  

Submit your idea on this form by emailing it – including your picture/graphic and a 300 character description – to by 5pm on Friday, September 25, 2015.  

On October 1, we’ll post all of the submitted ideas on Facebook at and open up the voting! The five projects that have the most “likes” at noon on Thursday, October 15, will receive up to $500 to turn their ideas into reality!  The winning applicants will need to provide a more detailed one-page project description and a budget before funds are released.  As with all of our grants, decisions are subject to Foundation Board of Trustees’ approval.  




Community "Love Notes"

Written by cffmc Thursday, 01 November 2012 00:00

Noted author, speaker, and urban consultant Peter Kageyama visited Muskegon in 2011 and encouraged us to think about our relationship with our city, and the little things that matter. Those who are engaged in their cities provide what Kageyama calls "love notes."

Looking around our community, he found many examples: the statue of Charles Hackley sitting on a bench; the bikes painted by a mysterious artist and chained around town; the Monet Garden; the Muskegon Farmer's Market and the Splash Pad at Alcoa Celebration Square.

So that got us thinking. The Muskegon area is full of people with great ideas. Why not invite them to try those ideas out and create more "love notes" to our community?  The "Love Your Community Grant Contest" launched with an invitation to get creative and make a difference in your corner of the community. Grant winners from past contests have been great projects with amazing impact and include:

  • Movies on the Beach
  • "Portraits of White Lake" photography exhibit
  • Paint the Pavement
  • Lakeside Community Pocket Park
  • Hackley Library's designation as a National Literary Landmark
  • Harvey Linenbottom and his Amazing Wowsical Traveling Show in downtown neighborhoods
  • Murals on buildings
  • School recycling
  • Play It Forward benefit concert for The Snurfer sculpture

movies on the beach 500px

People are making good things happen in Muskegon County!



What's a Love Note?

Written by Heidi Sytsema Thursday, 14 July 2011 15:44

It’s the candy on the pillow, the hand-written card that goes with the gift…we all know the little things matter in our relationships with people.  But Peter Kageyama encourages us to think about our relationship with our city, and the little things matter there, too.  Filled potholes are great, but they don’t make us love the place where we live.  Public art, places to play, dog parks, mystery bikes, vacant lots turned into gardens, children’s fountains…these are the things that engender love! [See below for some more examples.]

For a little more information and inspiration, you can watch Peter’s TEDx talk or read the Chronicle's recap of Peter's visit to Muskegon.  And here are some of the Love Notes he refers to!


Intersection Art in Portland, OR, and St. Paul, MN makes people smile and keeps traffic moving slower.  


Painted bikes have mysteriously appeared throughout our very own Muskegon, MI!

Detroit is on its way to having a statue of RoboCop thanks to one person's idea and crowdsourcing:

This Muskegon Believes video is our love note to the community!

STL Style has created a fun line of t-shirts for locals that bear the "inside jokes" that St. Louis residents are proud to wear! 

PS - Several fun ideas for Muskegon t-shirts were generated at the "Loving Your Community" workshop.  Anyone wanna start a t-shirt business?  



Pennies For Your Thoughts?

Written by Heidi Sytsema Friday, 20 May 2011 19:24

altThe morning was a bit dreary as we walked into Nelson School in downtown Muskegon.  Armed with philanthropy videos, donor stories, and jars of pennies, we climbed three flights of stairs to Mrs. Roesler’s fifth grade classroom, the one we “adopted” this year.  Since January, on the First Friday of each month we’ve brought homemade goodies, fresh fruit, and classroom supplies to the kids.  It’s part of an effort within the Nelson & McLaughlin Schools to show the kids that there are business, churches, and organizations surrounding them that care about them and believe in them.  The first couple times we felt a little bit like a delivery service, but since then we’ve been building a relationship, and it’s been a lot of fun.  In May, Chris McGuigan made her legendary no-bake cookies and handed them out with copies of the recipe.  “I was about your age when I learned to make these cookies, so I thought maybe you could try making them too!”  

Today wasn’t a First Friday.  But Mrs. Roesler allowed us an extra visit, this time to talk about philanthropy…a big word for 5th graders!  Our Program Director, Marcy Joy, was a teacher before she joined the Foundation, and she expertly  talked them through the concept of giving your time, talents, and treasures to support the things that are important to you.  From our website the kids were able to read brief stories about some of our donors and identify what was important to them.  A whisper frenzy broke out “hey,that’s Mrs. Husid!” when they recognized a familiar face from their school on one story.  Another student could relate to Alta Daetz’s story when he learned she’d lived in Jefferson Towers:  “I used to live there, too!”  We hope many were encouraged when they learned that Ken & Clara Kolberg’s scholarship fund was there to support Muskegon Public School students – especially minority students – who wanted to become teachers.  Whatever donors care about…that’s what we do.  

To drive this message home, we gave each of the kids a stack of ten pennies.  Five Mason jars labeled Education, Health, Environment, Arts/Music/Theater/Culture, and Happy Neighborhoods awaited their contributions signifying what was important to them.  As their teacher called them forward, they thought carefully about where their pennies would go.  We overheard things like “health is the most important…none of the other things matter if you don’t have that,” and “yeah, but the environment is really important, too.”  One little girl came forward with eight pennies in one hand and two in the other, but in the end all ten went to education.  “Education is really important, because then you can work on the other things.”  

We left Nelson school and the day was much brighter, inside and out.