Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation

For good. For ever.

Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Isabella County, now and for generations to come, by holding and attracting permanent endowed funds from a wide range of donors, addressing needs through grant making and providing leadership on key community issues.

Community Foundation Grants $140,329.83

MT. PLEASANT, MI - The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation Board of Trustees recently awarded more than $140,000.00 in grants to organizations impacting Isabella County.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midland County received $1,000.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund to facilitate field trips and $1,000.00 from the Ralph and Sonja Baumgarth Family Fund to support site-based one-to-one mentoring.

Central Michigan University received $3,000.00 from the Coyne Family Fund for CMU Mobile Recreation: Play on the Way supplies and equipment.

City of Mt. Pleasant received $2,794.10 from the Healthy Youth Healthy Seniors Fund, $1,100.00 from the Ranck Family Fund and $663.90 from the Rapaport Family Fund to purchase automated external defibrillators to be installed in four city parks: Island Park, Sunnyside Park, Horizon Park, and Yost Park.

Coe Township received $3,334.00 from the Access to Recreation Fund and $1,500.00 from the Shepherd Community Fund in Honor of Robert Bates to purchase and install universally accessible picnic tables at Coe Township’s Federal Road Park.

Community Compassion Network received $1,306.28 from the William Ellis Brockman Infant Assistance Fund to purchase products that can be shared with struggling Isabella County families with infants and toddlers.

Cultural & Recreational Commission of Isabella County received $2,473.78 from the Richard Brandell and Joseph Sweeney Recreation Fund to sustain and develop youth programs at Morey Courts Recreation Center and the I.C.E. Arena.

The Dictionary Project received $1,800.00 from the Kiwanis Club of Mt. Pleasant Fund to provide a dictionary to all 3rd graders in Isabella County.

Friends of the Broadway received $660.15 from the Friends of the Broadway Fund to offset costs for the Louisell Family Band which played for the Beverly Hillbillies production. 

Gratiot County Parks and Recreation Program received $9,800.00 from the Mid-Michigan Community Pathways Fund to reimburse Gratiot County for funds spent on the design of Phase II of the Mid-Michigan Community Pathway.

Hopewell Ranch received $1,000.00 from the Access to Recreation Fund in support of Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Certification.

Hospice of Central Michigan received $5,867.62 from the Dick and Mary Ellen Brandell Family Hospice House Fund, $1,236.02 from the Bob and Jeanne Long Hospice House Fund, $2,320.67 from the Lon Morey Family Hospice House Fund, $5,113.85 from the Bill and Dolores Myler Hospice House Fund, $1,003.85 from the Dennis and Sandra Olson Hospice House Fund, $902.27 from the Jim and Naomi Stark Hospice House Fund, $825.14 from the Bill and Janet Maar Strickler Hospice House Fund and $19,722.78 from the Hospice of Central Michigan Fund. This funding will support benevolent care.

Isabella Citizens for Health received $475.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund to provide a safe and educational waiting room including easy to sanitize educational books and children’s seating.

Isabella County 911 & Emergency Management received $5,000.00 from the Fabiano Family Fund, $3,324.00 from the Bandit Industries Community Fund and $11,000 from the Community Impact Fund to upgrade radio consoles and improve radio communication.

Listening Ear Crisis Center received $20,000.00 from the Listening Ear Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Fund for the treatment of child sexual abuse in Isabella County.

Mid Michigan Community College received $5,000.00 from the Women’s Initiative Fund to host an 8th grade girls’ luncheon to emphasize options and opportunities in post-secondary education, with a focus on STEM.

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools received $663.15 from the MPPS Esther Kraus Peacemaking Fund that celebrated 184 kindergarten through high school students during the annual Peacemaking Ceremony.

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools received $1,414.00 from the LaBelle Family Fund to provide updates and improvements to the baseball complex.

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools received $1,350.00 from the Mt. Pleasant Business Professionals of America Fund to assist chapter members who competed at the BPA National Leadership Conference in Boston, MA in May.

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools received $1,500.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund and 1,500.00 from the Jerry M. and Marilyn A. Morey Community Fund to partner with Michigan Reading Corps for one-on-one tutoring for K-2 students.

Mt. Pleasant Youth Football received $1,104.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund and $1,335.00 from the Lon Morey Family Fund for new shoulder pads for 3rd and 4th grade athletes.

Museum of Cultural and Natural History at CMU received $10,000.00 from the John R. and Constance M. Harkins Community Fund for educational program development and to offset costs associated with outreach and busing for Mid-Michigan school children to experience the Museum.

Sacred Heart Academy received $1,560.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund to purchase an online music curriculum providing sequential lessons and activities for students in grades K-5.

Shepherd Area Historical Society received $1,177.00 from the Shepherd Community Fund in Honor of Robert Bates to purchase sign easles, a TV and a DVD player and $3,823.00 from the Lon Morey Family Fund for building restoration/preservation.

Winn Area Activity Center received $1,680.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund to provide students with electronic tablets to support their academic needs before and after school.

In total, the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation awarded $140,329.83 in its second grant cycle of 2016. Applications for the next competitive grant cycle are due September 28, 2016. For more information on grant eligibility, and ways to support the endowed funds that make these grants possible, visit www.mpacf.org.

Community Foundation Grants more than $84,000

MT. PLEASANT, MI - The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation Board of Trustees recently awarded more than $84,000 in grants to organizations impacting Isabella County.

Art Reach of Mid Michigan received $848.18 from the W. Sidney & Judith French Smith Community Fund to support Art Walk Central 2016, an art competition and cultural events held throughout Mt. Pleasant August 20th-September 10th.

Beal City Public Schools received $3,635.18 from the Beal City Public Schools Education Foundation for scholarships, grants, and a test preparation project.

Beal City Public Schools received $3,700.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund and $7,400.00 from the Community Impact Fund to purchase 14 new laptop computers.

Central Michigan University Clarke Historical Library received $571.71 from the William J. Strickler Clarke Historical Library Fund to digitize historic Mt. Pleasant newspapers.

Chippewa Watershed Conservancy received $1,400.15 from the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy Fund and $1,121.71 from the William Brehm Memorial/Chippewa Watershed Conservancy Stewardship Fund to help offset monitoring and stewardship costs associated with preserves in Isabella County.

Child and Family Enrichment Council received $1,349.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund to purchase furniture and create a more comfortable environment in their child forensic interview room.

City of Mt. Pleasant received $7,500 from the John R. and Constance M. Harkins Community Fund as a match contribution and challenge to the community to support the Potter Playground Project, an effort to revitalize the play-lot on the corner of Maple and Pine Streets.

Community Compassion Network received $3,977.54 from the Mt. Pleasant Oil Industry Food Pantry Fund and $1,022.46 from the Kimber and Judy DeWitt Family Fund to support twice monthly mobile food pantries for 200+ local families. CCN also received $5,000.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund to support Nutrition Club, a weekend food assistance program for nearly 700 students throughout Isabella County.

Flat Mountain Mechanics (Central Michigan Robotics Association) received $1,000.00 from the Darlene Bond Memorial Youth Fund and $1,000.00 from the Bovee Family Fund to purchase computers.

Great Lakes Bay Foundation received $5,000.00 from the Barbara A. Bissot Fund for Art Wave, a marketing initiative designed to highlight art and entertainment venues in Bay, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties throughout May-September, 2016.

Isabella Community Soup Kitchen received $1,740.25 from the Olson Family Fund to purchase a new washer and dryer for the facility.

Isabella Township received $2,200.00 from the James Dale Ervin Memorial Fund to purchase goals and nets for the soccer field being developed for the children of Rosebush.

Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum received $1,500.00 from the Optimist Club of Mt. Pleasant Fund and $1,675.00 from the Barbara L. and George W. Dunn Family Fund to develop a fun, educational, and artistic outdoor space that will include an art garden, mud pie kitchen, sculpture walk, sound garden, theatrical circle and storage barn.

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools received $1,800.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund and $600.00 from the Joe and Jeanne Epple Family Fund for the Mt. Pleasant High School baseball and softball stadium renovations.

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools received $3,000.00 from the Morning Sun Community Fund for professional development with author and educator, Eric Jensen. Staff and administration will take away brain-based learning strategies that can lead to academic success for economically disadvantaged students.

Renaissance Public School Academy received $1,700.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund, $1,700.00 from the Robert and Geraldine Krapohl Literacy Fund and $2,600.00 from the Community Impact Fund to purchase books for a new school media center/library.

Shepherd Public Schools received $7,000.00 from the Access to Recreation Fund to install rubberized ground surfacing around new playground equipment in the school’s athletic complex. The Play Zone is designed for all children--including those with physical, developmental, cognitive, and sensory disabilities--to experience accessible, independent, self-directed play and increased fitness.

Shepherd Public Schools received $300.00 from the Kellogg Youth Fund to host a safe and fun afterprom party for high school students on May 7th.

Shepherd Railroad Museum Association received $437.00 from the Shepherd Community Fund in Honor of Robert Bates to paint the Shepherd Depot Caboose.

United Way of Isabella County received $7,001.50 from the United Way of Isabella County Fund to facilitate a strategic visioning process for the Board of Trustees and $4,659.52 from the Volunteer Center of Isabella County Fund to develop and implement a wide-ranging public relations effort to promote volunteerism.

Women’s Aid Service received $1,740.25 from the Olson Family Fund to be used where it is most needed. In total, the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation awarded $84,179.45 in its first grant cycle of 2016.

Applications for the next competitive grant cycle are due May 25, 2016.

Community Foundation Reaches $1 Million Goal for Community Impact

Mt. Pleasant, MI – To celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary in 2015, the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation challenged community members to add $1 million to permanent endowment funds focused on community impact. During a recent meeting, the Board of Trustees celebrated the final tally of gifts and pledges made - $1,016,000.19.

More than 500 individuals and businesses stepped up to accomplish the ambitious goal. During the appeal, 14 new community impact funds were started—named for families and local companies. Many donors contributed to existing community impact funds, further building community capital to meet the needs of future generations.

Community impact funds are flexible endowments not tied to a single cause. Assets are invested and only a portion (currently 4%) is available each year. Annual grantmaking resources from community impact funds can be used to address significant and emergent issues throughout Isabella County as things change.

“Community impact funds allow the Foundation the flexibility to meet needs that are not met through other endowments,” said Jan Strickler, co-chair of the anniversary appeal. “Because of these generous gifts, we’ll have around $40,000 more every year to help organizations with the best ideas to improve our community.”

“Grants could be made for education one year, and support health care or transportation the next,” added co-chair Bill Strickler. “This community resource is forever, and we’re proud so many community members wanted to be part of it.”

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation is a tax-exempt public charity that serves as the center of philanthropy in Isabella County. Since 1990, more than $4.5 million has been awarded in local grants and scholarships, all while maintaining the value of every endowment gift ever received.

Erin Smith-Gaken joins MPACF Board of Trustees

Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) welcomes Erin Smith-Gaken, 31, as one of the youngest directors to join the MPACF Board of Trustees.

The newly-appointed Smith-Gaken, who has served as an adult member of MPACF’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) since 2012, began her tenure Jan. 1 of this year. Smith-Gaken brings professional experience to her new role, as she is the assistant director of Recruitment and Enrollment at Central Michigan University’s College of Education and Human Services.

Smith-Gaken attended Central Michigan University and received undergraduate and master’s degrees, the latter in 2009. A St. Charles native, Smith-Gaken spent a year working in Saginaw, but since returning to Mt. Pleasant for her master’s degree, she has become an active member in the Mt. Pleasant community. Knowing the reach of the MPACF, Smith-Gaken is excited to make her own impact as a board member. “I am looking forward to this opportunity in order to increase my involvement within the community and impacting individuals within Isabella County. Many current and past board members have already made a significant impact and I look forward to working alongside them,” Smith-Gaken said.

While taking on more responsibility as a MPACF board member, Smith-Gaken will continue to serve as an adult member of the Youth Advisory Committee. “I view my new board position as an opportunity to expand my knowledge and understanding of the MPACF and its operations. What I learn will only benefit me as I continue my role within the YAC. I also see my role within the YAC benefiting my role on the board, as it will allow me to advocate for what the youth within the YAC believe to be of top priority within the community,” Smith-Gaken said.

In addition to Smith-Gaken, Lon Morey and Janet Maar Strickler return to the MPACF board after a one-year hiatus. Board members may serve up to three terms of three years each. The twenty-four member Board of Trustees meets bi-monthly.

MPACF Awarded Grant through Michigan Health Endowment Fund to Improve Health and Wellness of Isabella County Residents

Mt. Pleasant, MI – The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation today announced it has been awarded a grant of more than $80,000.00 from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to support initiatives aimed at improving the quality of health for residents of Isabella County.

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation grant dollars will support the building of an integrated care team to deliver primary medical care at Isabella Citizens for Health, a newly designated Federally Qualified Health Center serving the residents of Isabella County and surrounding communities. This model addresses the needs of an expanding patient population and an increased number of insured people during a primary care physician shortage. Specific outcomes of the project will include better coordination of preventative care, more opportunity for patient education on chronic disease management, and coordination and referral services related to other social determinants of health that contribute to a person’s overall health--all through a single medical home.

“We are thrilled to partner with Isabella Citizens for Health to begin building their integrated care team in 2016 by adding, and co-locating, behavioral health services within the Health Center,” said Amanda Schafer, Executive Director of the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation.

More than 30 community foundations across the state applied for funding through the Michigan Health Endowment Fund’s fall 2015 grant application process. Grant requests focused on areas such as: prenatal care and infant mortality; health services to support adopted and fostered children; healthy food access; wellness and fitness programs; access to mental health services; technology enhancements; health related transportation needs; access to care/integrated care; and teen pregnancy prevention.

“The Michigan Health Endowment Fund board is proud to support a variety of very successful programs already positively impacting the health of Michigan’s children and seniors as a result of our first grant funding effort,” said Rob Fowler, board chairman. “We look forward to building additional relationships with Michigan’s community foundations and other non-profit organizations as they continue their focused work to improve the health of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents.”

The mission of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund is to improve the health of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care, with special emphasis on the health and wellness of children and seniors. The fund was created as part of 2013 state legislation that allowed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to become a nonprofit mutual health insurer. Nearly $38 million in grants were awarded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund last year.

“We are excited to collaborate this year with community foundations on projects that seek to enhance the well-being of Michigan’s children and seniors in their local communities,” said Paul Hillegonds, executive director of Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

Additional information can be found at the Michigan Health Endowment Fund website at mhealthfund.com or by visiting the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation website at mpacf.org.

More than Ninety Scholarships Available

Mt. Pleasant, MI - The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) is now accepting applications for more than ninety (90) scholarships. Most are available to local students who will be completing their senior year of high school or GED this spring. There are also a dozen scholarship opportunities for students already enrolled in, or planning to return to, some form of higher education. Frequently asked questions and a link to the online application system can be found at: www.mpacf.org. The application deadline is Friday, March 4, 2016.

Since 1990, the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) has transformed the unique charitable dreams of individuals, families, and businesses into the reality of permanently endowed charitable funds that support a wide range of worthy causes in the community. One-third of the permanently endowed funds held by MPACF provide scholarships, making the Community Foundation a leader in awarding scholarships to deserving students in the local area. Last year, MPACF awarded more than $79,000 in scholarships to 86 students in and around Isabella County (photo below).

2015 Scholarship Recipients

2015 Scholarship Recipients