Lou Eklund, A Quiet Philanthropist

For years, Louis E. Eklund, Jr., was a quiet philanthropist; a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. A self-made businessman, Eklund gave what he could when he could. He faithfully tithed to his church, the way his mother taught him as a child. He supported local causes that caught his interest, and reflected his heart, but he did so without fanfare, his generosity casting a low profile in the community. Make no mistake, Eklund was no stranger in town. People from Muskegon knew him; and...




George Hansen

CFMC Ambassador and the Foundation’s first paid (part-time, after his retirement as leader of Lumberman’s Bank) executive staff, George W. Hansen,  passed away at age 102 on 9-20-12.  He was on board when the 1976 Trustees agreed to buy the Michigan theater, and he told me his thought was  “now what?” as he moved his stuff into the office portion of the inactive theater. He was a wonderful representative of the early Foundation, and of Muskegon. He and his wife Virginia established an Unrestricted Fund at the Foundation.  Service arrangements will be announced later by the Clock...




Working Together

Photo: our Youth Advisory Council (YAC) students making sack suppers for Kids' Food Basket   “Connecting people who care to causes that matter” is a phrase often used to describe the work of community foundations.  Recently our donors have taken up this mantra on their own!   Fran Anton has been using her family’s Donor Advised Fund for years to provide support to the organizations and causes they believe in.  She does her homework (sometimes with a little help from us) and then recommends grants from the Fund to worthy projects.  She often volunteers her time with them as...




One in '21

After learning that Muskegon ranked 64th out of Michigan's 82 counties in County Health Ranking studies, the Muskegon Rotary Club's Health & Wellness Committee convened a summit of community partners to strategize.  Out of this has grown the "1in '21" vision:  Muskegon will be the healthiest county in Michigan by 2021.  It's an ambitious goal, but we can do it if we all work together!   So...what's your role?  Here are  21 Healthy Ideas to Get You Started! 1.  Get some kind of exercise every day...make it a habit! 2.  Take the stairs. 3.  Drink more water. 4.  Eat...




Laurie Poppen - Next Generation

When Laurie Poppen created her Next Generation Fund, she was following the example set by her parents, Sherman & Nancy Poppen.   In Nancy Poppen's memory, lives are being changed through her arts scholarship program for kids in grades 3-12 at Muskegon Public Schools.  And Sherm's scholarship fund helps some of these same promising artists continue their education and training after graduation.  (Sherm is also being honored for the role his "snurfer" played in the creation of snowboarding with a sculpture that depicts it.  Stay tuned for details!) But back to Laurie...She is carrying on this giving tradition with her Next Generation Donor...




The Robert Dodge Memorial Fund

When Patty Dodge's son, Robert, finally succumbed to his nearly 30 year battle with Leigh's Disease, a rare neurometabolic disorder, she was at a loss.  Robert's need for 24 hour care had consumed her, and with his death came a loss of purpose.  Patty regained some of that purpose when she began a relentless campaign to keep Robert's name alive while simultaneously helping other special needs children by starting the Robert Dodge Memorial Fund.  The family's tireless efforts to build this fund through various fundraisers, letters, and personal contributions paid off, and Patty will now be able to make grants from this Donor Advised Fund in Robert's name.  Robert's...




Lakeshore Trails Match Challenge!

Love our lakeshore trail?  Here's a chance to show it:  give a gift to the Lakeshore Trails Improvement Fund and it will be DOUBLED! Thanks to a grant from the Darl & Kathleen Staley Charity Fund, gifts to the Trail Fund will be matched dollar for dollar until the $25,000 match pool is exhausted.    You can make a gift now with your credit card, and keep reading to find out about all the community Love Notes that are tied to the Lakeshore Trail!       Our beautiful Lakeshore Trail inspires much love! 2006 - City-owned




Happy Anniversary to the Heissers!

While we're very excited about our 50th anniversary, we're not the only ones celebrating a big one this year.  Fruitport's Matt & Amy Heisser observed their 25th wedding anniversary in May and marked the occasion with a round of golf...and by creating a Next Generation Donor Advised Fund!  Through Amy's work with Alcoa and its foundation (full disclosure: she also serves on our Board of Trustees) and Matt's...




Glenda's Friends

By Sally Diepen, classmate [10th reunion photo: Glenda is seated in the center] Fifty years ago this past June our class graduated from Montague High School. Over the years we had the usual class reunions, and Julia "Glenda" Sanders Huls was always one of the first to get the planning started.  After our 40th class reunion dinner, we were invited to Glenda and Larry Huls' for a Sunday picnic lunch, and that was the beginning of our annual summer reunion picnics. I believe these simple, informal reunion gatherings have helped our bonds of friendship grow stronger over the years. Every one of our class members...




Solving Unemployment and Underemployment

15 years ago, George and Josephine Anacker created the Anacker-Fitzpatrick Fund to support the unemployed and unemployed and provide scholarships to students looking to improve their job prospects through education. Such an important service in our community - thank you George and Jo!




A Pleasant Surprise

The Community Foundation was surprised and honored to learn from a trust officer at Huntington Bank in December of 1998 that it had been left $1.8 million as the result of a Charitable Remainder Trust established by Alta Daetz.  Ms. Daetz was a second-grade teacher for Muskegon Public Schools for many years, living in Jefferson Towers until shortly before her death in 1994.  Those who knew her thought she was penniless and would say she "lived like a pauper".  She was very intelligent and an avid reader, walking to Hackley Library and everywhere else she went because, everyone assumed, she could not afford a car or even bus fare.  According to her wishes,...




Next Generation

The first Next Generation Donor Advised Fund has been created!  Dan & Sarah Rinsema-Sybenga had been considering a DAF – or building up to one through a Build A Fund – for the last couple of years.  “We were planning to do it,” Dan said, “and when we learned we could start one this year for half the normal amount, we knew it was the right time.”   Dan, aka “Downtown Dan” of Muskegon Main Street fame, is now the Public Information Manager at Muskegon Community College, and Sarah is the Executive Director of Community enCompass, a nonprofit neighborhood development organization.  Together, they’ve biked throughout Michigan for fun, and...




Winter Dreams

The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is a unique blend of winter sports facilities: a Lodge, the longest lighted cross-country ski trail system in the Midwest, a multi-use skating rink, and one of three luge tracks in the United States. This extraordinary complex is a centerpiece for winter tourism and economic development in Muskegon County. The complex is managed by the Muskegon Sports Council (MSC). By partnering with the Muskegon Luge Club and the West Michigan Speedskating Club, MSC offers leagues, instructional clinics, special competitions and events for youth, families and adults. The MSC Board of Directors realized that it needed a sustaining fund to underwrite...




Keeping the Faith

You can't talk with Mary Tyler for very long before the topic of faith enters the conversation.  Mary's faith in God, and in the Roman Catholic Church where she's been a lifelong member, is her foundation.  Her 44-year marriage to Stan Tyler was built upon this faith, and faith is what has carried her since Stan unexpectedly died in November of 2001. Eight years ago, Mary established the Stan Tyler Catholic Education Fund at the Community Foundation.  Each year the Fund awards a scholarship to a student from Muskegon Catholic Central High School to attend Notre Dame University, Stan's Alma Mater. Mary wanted to take advantage of the Community Foundation's wide...




Modest Living for a Permanent Legacy

Throughout her 40 year career as a secretary for Continental Motors, lifelong Muskegon resident Edith Anderson made a modest living. But she invested her earnings wisely and upon her death left her entire estate to the Foundation to create a fund to support Hospice of Muskegon-Oceana. The gift was established for use as an endowment to provide services to people who would otherwise be unable to afford care at the new "Leila and Cyrus Poppen Hospice Residence" in Fruitport Township. More than 200 people per year use the Hospice Residence to live their final days.  On more than half of the nights in the year someone will receive care courtesy of Edith Anderson's generosity...




Clara Kolberg's Legacy

Mrs. Clara A. J. Kolberg, age 90, passed away on Friday, January 7, 2011. Her legacy will live on through the Ken and Clara Kolberg Family Scholarship Fund.  The fund supports Muskegon students pursuing careers in education, especially minority students so greatly needed as teachers in our school systems. Clara married Kenneth C. Kolberg on March 4, 1943.  They were happily married for 68 years. Clara was an active member in the Lincoln School District. While her children were growing up, she was a room mother, 4-H leader, involved in Brownies & Cub Scouts, election poll worker, and a school census taker, and worked at the Mona Shores High School bookstore from 1962...




Dee Swanson Scholarship Fund

Dee became a Ravenna resident when she married Don Swanson over 50 years ago.  She taught and mentored new teachers at Ravenna Public Schools for 32 of those years while he ran the family business, Swanson Pickle Co., Incorporated.  She established this Fund to provide scholarships to graduates of Ravenna High School, and to give back to the school and community that has been so good to them and their family.




Giving Is A Privilege!

One of our favorite people, Joan Majeski, was featured in the Chronicle's recent Women Who Achieve supplement.  Not only does Joan give of her time, talent and treasure today, she has also made estate plans to ensure that her influence continues after she's gone.  Read on to be inspired by this energetic, giving woman! Giving Is A Privilege For Tireless Volunteer By Susan K. Treutler Thursday, November 11, 2010 Years ago when Joan Majeski admitted her mother to the hospital for treatment of a stroke, her mother asked her to please go and deliver the pot of chili she had made for a neighbor.  The request was typical of...




The Story of Root Memorial Park

Mary Bytwerk's remarks at the re-dedication of Root Memorial Park on September 22, 2010 (Chronicle photo by Kendra Stanley-Mills) I am thrilled to be here and speaking on behalf of our family at this beautifully revived Root Memorial Park!  Annie Galbraith Miller, my great-grandmother, was an entrepreneur of her time.  Annie donated Root Memorial Park, a triangular park at First Street, Seaway Drive, and Apple Avenue, to the City of Muskegon in 1902 in memory of her daughter, Byrde Miller Root. As the tale goes, Byrde died of a broken heart just five months after her husband, Russell Lee Root, was killed in a tragic train accident.  Byrde could not go on without...




Nature Preserve Campaign

Following a successful campaign to build the Riverwalk in 2006 – 2008, the Muskegon Environmental Research & Education Society has launched a second campaign:  to expand parking and build an education center at the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve.  The Community Foundation is pleased to be providing administrative support for the campaign through our Nonprofit Support Services. John S. Hausman | Muskegon Chronicle NORTH MUSKEGON -- Muskegon Environmental Research & Education Society, which developed and operates the Muskegon Lake Nature Preserve is raising money for the next stage of development: purchase of land for parking and...




Gary Bogner Donates Building

United Way of Muskegon County receives office buildings for much needed new headquarters from philanthropist and developer Gary Bogner through a Foundation grant. Gary wants to "...offer services that really meet the needs of the community." Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle MUSKEGON-- As an international bow hunter, Gary Bogner has seen that there are plenty of legitimate human needs in the world, including in his hometown of Muskegon. Bogner said he wants to help the human service agencies that help people in Muskegon County. He's donated two office buildings that will become the new home of the United Way of the Lakeshore and allow it to open...




Tribute to Rose Smith

Rosaline M. Smith, a former Treasurer for the City of Muskegon, passed away on Monday, April 12, 2010.  She and Darrell Smith, a longtime employee of the Muskegon Post Office, cared deeply for each other and shared  more than 50 years of marriage. Music was something they loved and had very much in common. In 2005, Rose created the Darrell H. and Rosaline M. Smith Fund to honor her husband, who passed away in 1999, and to provide a helping hand to graduating seniors of any Muskegon County HS who have demonstrated academic achievement and will pursue a music degree.  Through her will, Rose left an additional gift to her fund to help students even more.  ...




Through His Philanthropy...

Through his philanthropy, Charles Hackley influenced the city of Muskegon in unparalleled ways.  With gifts including a hospital, art museum, school, and library, he helped shape the character of our community.  Yet retired SPX executive Peter Turner realized there was no public likeness of Charles Hackley honoring these contributions.  Through his philanthropy, Peter established a fund at the Foundation to create this approachable bronze sculpture.  Since October of 2009, Charles Hackley has watched over his park from a bench at the corner of 3rd and Clay.  Thank you, gentlemen, for your gifts to Muskegon!




For the Good of the Community

"For the good of the community" is how A. Harold Frauenthal wished his substantial bequest to be used by the Community Foundation.  When the wrecking ball was ready to swing at the boarded up Michigan Theater in 1976, the Foundation set a bold course and used his gift to purchase the entire Western Avenue block.  In 1998, renovations breathed life back into the theater and adjacent buildings, and the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts emerged! This cornerstone of downtown Muskegon turned 80 in 2010.  Our beautiful theater has been the home of movies, musical performances, live theater, graduations, and even weddings since it opened in 1930. ...




Planting Seeds Together

When Dick Witham approached the Foundation about his desire to start a fund to support entrepreneurial efforts in Muskegon, it stemmed from his strong history in business.  "I want to utilize my skills to create an environment where people grow and prosper," he explained.  Little did he know that would turn into support for an urban farm!  But when the McLaughlin Grows project was brought to his attention, it coincided nicely with some gardening projects of his own taking place at his second home in Traverse City.  McLaughlin Grows is a unique...




50 Years of Purpose - a Timeline

Timeline




Shoreline Sport & Spine - A Firm with a Heart

David Van Andel and Marty Sytsema are quickly building the kind of practice they dreamed about while in the Physical Therapy program at CMU. After broadening their experiences at different therapy practices, they joined forces four years ago to open Shoreline Sport & Spine. Their reputation grew right along with the office floor space, from 1800 sq. ft to maxing-out their current location at 5400 sq. ft and 14 employees. Early on they also identified a key part of their future business plan – to give back. “It was always part of our plan to give corporately,” explained Dave. So, along with hiring new employees, adding floor space, taking down walls and adding equipment –...




WayPoint Academy - A Part of the Solution

About 10 years ago a group of Muskegon industrialists gathered to talk about the need for a technical center to prepare high school students to be career ready. It was during one of these meetings that Buzz Kersman and others had an “a-ha” moment when they were asked if they served on a school board. The answer was no. “You can’t have much influence unless you are there. That is, you can’t complain about bad results if you are not part of the solution,” explains Buzz. WayPoint co-founders Kersman and John Workman recognized that the future of Muskegon business needed a career prep academy and encouraged others to embrace their vision. Buzz added, “There is nothing more...




Commitment to Community Defines the Cutlers

“People make decisions on what they are keenly interested in,” stated Bob Cutler with a clear sense of his past actions. For Bob and wife Betsy – those interests span decades of support and involvement well beyond their family and his 32-year career at Howmet. Bob’s parents set solid examples of how to serve their Kokomo,IN community, modeling behavior that Bob would come to later relish in his adult life. Betsy’s mother was the 1st woman to serve on the school board in Wheaton, IL, likely setting the stage for Betsy’s future 20-year career at Reeths Puffer schools. It wasn’t long after coming to Muskegon in 1956 that Bob threw his hat in the ring for the Reeths-Puffer...




The DeYoung Sisters - Consistency is their Nature

Known affectionately around the community as the DeYoung Sisters or the “Sealed Power Girls” it is easy to forget that these sisters are actually in their early 90’s. Still vigorous volunteers – these women keep busy! They also make serious business of their charitable goals. With the same determination that finds Lila on the golf course at 92, they decided to start the Norma & Lila DeYoung Donor Advised Fund in 2008. “We thought we’d take care of this now and learned we could transfer our IRAs without tax penalty,” explained Lila. They plan to use their fund to help needy children obtain dental care. “When times were tough for our family we went to the school...




A New Vision for Hilt's Landing

George Hilt has cherished memories of the family cottage in the White Lake Area. The 300+ acre property, purchased in the 1920’s by his father, John R. Hilt, is a recreational and historical jewel. George remembers times filled with picnicking along the White River, searching for Indian arrowheads and watching his mother, Margaret, cook on the big kerosene stove. “Cooking was her joy and we were big eaters,” George fondly reminisces. It was here that the Hilt kids (1 girl, 5 boys) were taught how to fish and hunt and became avid anglers & hunters. As youngsters, times spent at the cottage were limited to Sundays when the family’s Muskegon business, originally a paint and...




“You Can’t Take It With You”

as told by Gary Olsen - April 2007 I believe in the philosophy that you can’t take it with you. As life moves on and I’m 87 years old now, you don’t want to end up with a bunch of “I wish I would have’s.” I had three misfortunes in my life that shaped who I am from an early age. I was born to Norwegian parents in Holton. My father, Ole, was 65 years old when I was born and my mother, Gina, was his second wife. My father had many vocations in his lifetime, first a sailor, then a lumber mill worker, next a pastor and finally a farmer. He never learned English, which was a hardship with his first wife, as she didn’t speak Norwegian. After she passed, he went back to...




Her Legacy – To Beautify Muskegon

Eunice Nash Bush was born in Morley, Michigan in 1903 and was one of nine children. Unique for her time, she graduated from Ferris State University with a degree in business. When Eunice later moved to Muskegon to work as a business manager for a local real estate office she met and married Sidney Bush, who owned the Francis Jiroch Candy and Tobacco Company. The two lived a quiet and private life. Eunice was always passionate about helping professional women and the community. She helped to organize the Muskegon Zonta Business Women’s Organization. She was also serious about efforts to beautify the City of Muskegon. Her generous donations to the downtown planter project, the...




He Paid Attention to his Community

Carl Orton lived a quiet and satisfying life well off the screen of anyone’s radar. Born in 1914 in Grand Rapids, he came to Muskegon to begin his career at Brunswick as a quality control inspector. He moved into the YMCA at Third & Clay and there he stayed – working for Brunswick for a steady 40+ year span and didn’t leave the “Y” until it closed in the 1980’s. Like many men of that era, he honorably served his country in WWII. For Carl, it was presumably a simple decision to stay where the cost of living was low. Material things didn’t matter to him – he never owned property, had few possessions, no phone, no TV. An old acquaintance, Greg Woodring, remembers...




Alex' Greatest Gripe was Taxation

A Swiss native, Alex Homberger made his mark at the historic 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, where he took home both silver and bronze medals as a member of the Swiss National Rowing Team. After earning his engineering degree at the University of Zurich he left Switzerland and came to America—a place he believed held great promise. He eventually settled in Michigan and brought the Michigan Steele Company—MISCO—to Muskegon during the 1940s. Later he moved to Ann Arbor to start his own company, the International Automation Corporation. While there, he reconnected with Jean Corfield Hannan—a woman he’d met decades earlier while working for her father. Following a 13 year...