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 attracting and holding permanent endowed funds from a wide range of donors, addressing needs through grant making and providing leadership on key community issues.

Clothing INC Gets Organized

Clothing INC has operated a clothing closet in our community since 2005.  The mission of Clothing INC is to make an impact on the lives of underprivileged in the area by providing free clothes to those in need.

The Staples Family Fund and the Weisenburger Family Fund provided grant funding in 2017 for Clothing INC to  purchase three-drawer storage carts, large bins, 177 totes and a computer. Before the grant award, undergarments were stored in totes under the clothes and on racks. It was difficult for guests to find their sizes because they were required to go through all of the bags and totes.

On April 22, 2017, more than 20 Eydent Insurance employees volunteered at Clothing INC to arrange clothing by size, and to label the large bins for use in the closet. A guest recently commented, “I like the look of your closet. The storage carts help me find what I need without assistance.”

Since moving to 1114 W. High Street in Mt. Pleasant, the amount of new and gently used clothing donated by community members has increased to fill a full shed more than once a day. Volunteers regularly sort and organize the donations, using the bins and totes. Items that are unsuitable for distribution are taken to other local charities.

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Counseling Services Exceed Expectations

The Family Initiative Project was born out of a need for affordable counseling services for Isabella County families and individuals. Faye Schaeffer, Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan (CCMM) employee, described the lack of affordable counseling as a “need especially among lower income families in the community. The financial hurdle, along with the mental health stigmatism makes reaching this demographic very difficult.” The impact of this program results in more stable families, community and local schools.

Every three years, the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee conducts a Youth Needs Assessment to ascertain the top issues facing Isabella County youth today. Stress, school pressure, depression and loss have consistently been identified as some of greatest struggles. The YAC recommended support for the Family Initiation Project from the Kellogg Youth Fund as a way to address a top need identified in their survey. The Fabiano Family Fund, a community impact fund, also partially funded this project.

CCMM offers services to anyone in need, regardless of their ability to pay. Employees felt pleasantly surprised at how far they were able to stretch the grant funding and the overall number of families and youth that were served. The total number of child and adolescent sessions held exceeded 85 with 100% of the services being provided at a reduced rate. CCMM reports that 73% of families will continue with services beyond the date of the project. CCMM will continue to offer services at affordable rates without ever turning anyone away due to an inability to pay.

Members of the Youth Advisory Committee present a check to CCMM volunteer, Kim McBryde

Members of the Youth Advisory Committee present a check to CCMM volunteer, Kim McBryde

Project Weidman Builds New Playground

Project Weidman was formed in 2016 with the goal of bettering the Weidman Community. They recently completed Project Playground, a rebuild of Mitchell Memorial Park Playground, in Weidman, Michigan. Project Weidman took interest in the project when Gleaner Life Insurance brought the poor condition of the recreational facility to their attention after a company picnic.  

The Access to Recreation fund, the Brewster Access to Recreation Fund, the Mary Ellen Brandell Access to Recreation Fund, and the Janet Maar Strickler Access to Recreation Fund have provided funding to assist in purchasing the equipment for the new playground. The Project Playground Committee took about a year to plan for the new recreational facility, and built it in two days. On August 26, 2017, construction was completed. The old playground was more than 60 years old and had become unsafe for children to play on. This left Weidman residents without a safe play structure for their children unless they traveled to neighboring cities.

Since the new playground has been constructed, Weidman residents have been seen using it every single day. Children play on the equipment while adults lounge at the picnic tables reading books and watching their kids. The playground has even become a venue for birthday parties. A sidewalk is to be added in the spring, and there are plans for a pavilion and decorative landscaping to be added in upcoming years. The Weidman community now has a safe space for their children to play.

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Sacred Heart Academy Uses Technology for Interactive Teaching

Sacred Heart Academy (SHA) recognizes that engaging with the newest technology is important for their students. Sixth grade teachers at the school believe that one of the best ways to engage children in math and science is to use short-throw projectors. These projectors essentially turn any classroom whiteboard into a SMART board.

The Kellogg Youth Fund recently provided funding for Sacred Heart Academy to purchase two short-throw projectors for the sixth grade classrooms. The projectors connect to teacher computers and allow students to engage in problem solving in math and science using interactive websites.

For example, students are able to follow along in math lessons, actually seeing the work steps needed to solve an equation. According to sixth grade teacher Kathy Wyman, "I am able to project an entire math problem and the steps necessary to solve it. By being able to do so, the students are able to see how our work flows and fits together throughout the entire problem rather than seeing it in chunks or individual pieces. We see the complete puzzle."

The short-throw projectors are easier to see compared to flat screen television screens. The entire whiteboard turns into an interactive avenue for the students to learn. Thirty SHA students have benefited from the new technology this year, and future sixth graders will too.

Mt. Pleasant High School Improves Baseball Stadium

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools and the Oiler Athletic Boosters have combined efforts to improve the Carlo Barberi Varsity Baseball Field inside the Joe “Iron” Epple Athletic Complex. In the spring of 2016, stadium seating for 120 spectators was constructed, as well as safety railings, a new press box, and landscaping. The stadium is now a handicap accessible place for youth and adults to watch baseball.

The project was made possible, in part, by assistance from the Kellogg Youth Fund and the LaBelle Family Fund of the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation.

The new stadium facility will allow the Mt. Pleasant community to serve as host for all Mt. Pleasant High School baseball tournaments and games, as well as for larger regional tournaments. Teams from the local community will have access to the stadium for both practice and play. And, the field is expected to be sought after by many companies that host large tournaments in the state of Michigan. This will, in turn, bring baseball teams and spectators from many parts of Michigan to the Mt. Pleasant area.

More than 500 youth and their families will directly benefit from use of the new stadium and field annually.

Art Wave through the Great Lakes Bay Region

ArtWave is a multi-year, cross-county promotional campaign, sponsored by the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance Arts & Entertainment Council, to raise awareness about arts and entertainment options throughout Bay, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw Counties.

To demonstrate the wealth and variety of art and entertainment assets in the Great Lakes Bay Region, ArtWave encourages regional collaboration as well as the pooling of resources. Each month, ArtWave spotlights events and activities in one of the counties in our Region, promoting awareness and encouraging everyone that great arts and entertainment–from museum exhibits to sporting events–can be found right here.

A grant in support of ArtWave was recently awarded to the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance from the Barbara A. Bissot Fund, a community impact fund of the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation.

The mission of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance is to encourage, support and celebrate regional collaboration and initiatives to help improve economic vitality and quality of life in the Great Lakes Bay Region. The ArtWave campaign demonstrates that a quality place to live is a place with a thriving economy and flourishing art and entertainment opportunities.

From concerts in the park, to sidewalk art fairs, to festivals that celebrate our rich heritage and cultures, ArtWave celebrates art and entertainment opportunities right here in our region.

Students Build New Shed for Mt. Pleasant Soccer Club

The Mt. Pleasant Soccer Club strives to promote the growth of youth soccer in the Central Michigan area by providing young athletes with the opportunity to hone their skills and to help them be the best soccer players they can be, while maintaining a healthy approach to a competitive sport.

In the spring of 2016, the Mt. Pleasant Soccer Club was in need of a bigger enclosure to properly house their lawn maintenance equipment and extend the longevity of their mower. So, the organization teamed up with the Gratiot Isabella Technical Education Center (GI-TEC) to devise a solution. A much larger and aesthetically appealing building was constructed by students enrolled in the Building Trades Program and is now located next to the old shed. Students gained gain real-life building experience while supporting the Mt. Pleasant Soccer Club and ultimately the youth of our community who play the sport.

The Building Trades Program provides high school students from Isabella and Gratiot Counties a solid foundation in residential building. The construction skills and techniques taught include: framing, insulation, roofing, drywall framing and hanging, window and door installation, and finish/trim work.

In support of the Mt. Pleasant Soccer Club and the Building Trades Program, the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation awarded a grant from the John R. and Constance M. Harkins Community Fund to purchase the building materials needed for the new structure.

The soccer fields are used daily by 200 plus young athletes as well as by local community members such as college students from Central Michigan University and Mid-Michigan Community College.