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.

Foundation RFP for Investment Management Services

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) has more than $20,000,000 in endowed assets and is requesting proposals for custody and investment management services from qualified financial service organizations. Proposals must be submitted to our office by 5:00pm on June 4, 2018 in the format provided in the Request for Proposals (RFP).

Our timeline is as follows:

April 2                         RFP posted online at www.mpacf.org

June 4                         Proposals submitted to MPACF

June 19                        Finance Committee determines 3-5 providers to invite for presentations

July/August                 Presentations from providers to Finance Committee

September 18              Finance Committee recommendation made

October 25                  Board of Trustees selects service provider(s)

One original proposal with signatures, and ten (10) additional copies for review by our Finance Committee, must be submitted.

Some of our assets have been managed by Fund Evaluation Group (FEG) since 2004, and by Isabella Bank/Financial Counselors, Inc. (FCI) since 2011. It is our policy to seek competitive proposals from investment management service providers every 5-7 years.

Community Foundation Surpasses $20 Million Milestone

Members of the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) Board of Directors recently celebrated a major milestone. With $2.6 million in contributions in 2017, the Community Foundation has surpassed $20 million in total assets.

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“We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone in our history. The fact that we have doubled our assets in just seven years speaks volumes about the generosity in our community, and the commitment that Isabella County residents are making to future generations,” said Jill Bourland, President. Community foundations bring together the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses to support effective charitable organizations dedicated to improving the lives of people in a particular geographic area. “The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation allows anyone and everyone to become a philanthropist, and there is no doubt that every gift, large or small, when properly invested, can enhance the lives of others,” added Mary Ann O’Neil, Vice President. MPACF’s investment returns exceeded 14% in 2017.

Holding assets across 275 endowment funds, the Community Foundation works to meet the charitable goals of donors as well as the most pressing needs in Isabella County. “We work with families, attorneys, and other professional advisors on gifts which maximize benefits for donors and critical organizations in Isabella County,” said Jan Strickler, Development Chair. Individuals and groups may contribute any amount of money to a fund through the Foundation, and the Foundation invests gifts for growth and income, using a portion to make grants in the community based on donor wishes and identified community needs. Since its inception in 1990, MPACF has awarded nearly $6 million in grants through its community impact, field-of-interest, donor advised, organization and scholarship endowment funds—all while maintaining the value of every gift ever given to the Foundation.

“When people give to the Community Foundation, they are creating a legacy. We are proud to have reached the $20 million mark, but we are not stopping there,” said Executive Director Amanda Schafer. “Over the next 40 years, the estimated transfer of wealth from one generation to the next in Isabella County is approximately $4 billion. We want to keep that money local. If just 5% of that projected transfer was designated for charities in our area, $200 million would be retained for people who live, work, and learn in our community. And, if that $200 million was endowed with MPACF, we could make $10 million available for area nonprofits every single year.”

Community foundations play a key role in identifying and solving community problems. “Look around our community,” said Al Kaufmann, Secretary. “So much of what you see and enjoy is, in part, a result of charitable giving: the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum, Woodland Hospice, City parks and trails, the Isabella Community Sportsplex, and the annual peacemaking awards in Mt. Pleasant Public Schools.” Many local organizations, such as Listening Ear, Women’s Aid, Art Reach, and Beal City Public Schools have funds with the Foundation. These organizations provide education, human services, health, recreation and youth development, all making our community a better place.

Bob Long, Past President commented, “More and more, we are focusing on our role as a community leader—convening residents around local issues, educating one another on community needs, and building partnerships to make the greatest impact possible.” While Foundation financial assets have grown, so too has momentum and the willingness to cultivate bold solutions to improve the quality of life for all in Isabella County. “We want to thank donors, volunteers, and our partner organizations who are a force for good in our community,” said Marcie Otteman Grawburg, Community Relations Chair. “And, we invite them to help us look for new and creative approaches, perspectives, and ideas to address what matters most to the people and community we serve.”

Community Foundation Sponsoring Isabella County Needs Assessment

What does our community need? Where is the greatest potential to improve the quality of life in Isabella County?

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation has contracted with the Center for Applied Research and Rural Studies (CARRS) at Central Michigan University (CMU) to complete a survey of Isabella County residents as part of an effort to answer these questions. CARRS was founded in 1995 to assist community groups needing the social science research expertise of CMU faculty, staff, and students. CARRS partnered with the Community Foundation to develop the community needs assessment with input from several local leaders.

A random sample of Isabella County residents will be contacted over the course of the next few weeks, which means all households in Isabella County have an equal opportunity for participation in this research project. To maintain the scientific quality of the sample, we encourage all households that are contacted to participate. Some households will receive a telephone call from CARRS, and an adult member of the household will be asked to complete the survey over the telephone. Others will receive a print version of the survey through U.S. mail. All responses will remain confidential, and no information that could identify individuals or households will ever be published.

A summary report of the assessment findings will be shared with the community this fall.

Over one hundred Scholarships Available

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) is now accepting applications for more than one hundred (100) scholarships. Most are available to local students who will be completing their senior year of high school or GED this spring. There are also more than 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: mpacf.org.  The application deadline is Friday, March 2, 2018.

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 90 scholarships totally more than $87,250 to students in and around Isabella County (photo below).

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2017 Youth Needs Assessment: Local Youth Say Bullying is Number One Concern

National studies suggest that one in four children are bullied. But, is that the case here in Isabella County?  Six hundred and thirty Isabella County students completed an online survey last spring and bullying topped the list of their concerns.

The survey, conducted by the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), asked eighth and tenth graders to help identify the greatest issues being faced by youth in our community.  Students from Beal City Public Schools, Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, Sacred Heart Academy, and Shepherd Public Schools participated in the 2017 Youth Needs Assessment.  

Top issues identified varied by grade, gender and school. Overall results showed that the greatest concerns for youth in the community are:

  • Bullying - 57%

  • Stress/School Pressure - 52%

  • Depression/Suicide/Loss - 46%

  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse - 46%

  • Self-Esteem/Respect for Yourself and Others - 43%

The YAC is comprised of 7th-12th grade students from all schools in Isabella County, and serves as a pivotal agent in the empowerment of youth and in the development of young leaders. The YAC advises the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees on the awarding of grants from the Kellogg Youth Fund, an endowment that supports charitable projects and events that benefit the young people of Isabella County. YAC student leaders spend time positively influencing their community while learning about service and civic engagement. The YAC meets at least once per month to review grant applications, to receive leadership and philanthropy training, and to plan community service projects.

Every 2-3 years, the YAC surveys 8th and 10th graders in Isabella County to help identify what they see as the greatest needs and problems facing youth in the community. The Youth Needs Assessment helps the YAC determine funding priorities as they review grant applications. View  a full summary of the 2017 Youth Needs Assessment results here.

Over the past 25 years, the YAC has awarded more than $560,000 in grants from the Kellogg Youth Fund, and YAC members learn how to raise funds to continue to grow this endowment fund too. Members have planned a social media campaign to raise additional funds for the Kellogg Youth Fund between now and #GivingTuesday on November 28th. The YAC would like to raise $25,000 to add to the Kellogg Youth Fund to celebrate 25 years of youth philanthropy in Isabella County. Donations to the Kellogg Youth Fund may be mailed to the Community Foundation at PO Box 1283, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48804, or may be made online.

Community Foundation Grants $53,103.50

MT. PLEASANT, MI - The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation Board of Trustees recently awarded more than $53,000 in grants to organizations impacting Isabella County.

Central Michigan University’s Museum of Cultural and Natural History received $5,000 from the John R. and Constance M. Harkins Community Fund to support school field trip busing.

Chippewa Watershed Conservancy received $185 from the Steve and Sue Pung Family Fund to print rack cards for promoting visitor use of 22 preserves complete with names, locations, visitor access information and suggested activities.

Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan received $2,500 from the Community Impact Fund and $2,500 from the Women's Initiative Fund to provide a weekly support group, led by licensed counselors, for local women experiencing issues related to postpartum mental health.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew 7648 received $600 from the Bob and Nancy Wheeler Fund for Scouting to provide bike trailers for a high adventure trip.

Community Mental Health for Central Michigan received $1,500 from the Ruth S. and Gerard R. Felter and Florence F. Battenfeld Family Fund, $500 from the Bovee Family Fund, $1,000 from the Community Impact Fund, $2,000 from the Isabella Bank Director Memorial Fund and $3,000 from the Kellogg Youth Fund to provide Multisystemic Therapy, a treatment model for adolescents experiencing Severe Emotional Disturbance or a Severe and Persistent Mental Illness. This program works to rehabilitate young people within their own community.

The Dictionary Project received $1,600 from the Kiwanis Club of Mt. Pleasant Fund to provide a dictionary for each 3rd grade student in Isabella County.

First United Methodist Church Boy Scouts of America Troop 604 received $100 from the Bob and Nancy Wheeler Fund for Scouting to support summer camp.

Humane Animal Treatment Society received $1,211.71 from the LaBelle Family Fund to support the mission of HATS.

Isabella Citizens for Health received $1,210 from the Bandit Industries Community Fund and $1,210 from the Community Impact Fund to purchase two Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for both their Family Medicine and Pediatric clinics.

Isabella County Parks and Recreation received $10,000 from the Rise Family Fund to plant trees and preserve natural spaces in Coldwater Lake Park.

McBride Quality Care Services received $1,359.79 from the Community Impact Fund and $1,300 from the Kellogg Youth Fund to replace broken cafeteria tables.

Mid Michigan Community College Foundation received $1,413 from the Kellogg Youth Fund and $1,000 for the Women’s Initiative Fund to support the Isabella County 8th Grade Girls’ CHAT (Character, Heart, Attributes, and Talents) Luncheon. This event, in its second year at the MMCC Isabella County Campus, focuses on introducing students to a college campus, with an emphasis on the options and opportunities that await them in post-secondary education, specifically areas of STEM.

Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum received $1,000 from the Jane McNamara and Louise Williams Fund, $1,500 from the Kellogg Youth Fund, and $500 from the Ranck Family Fund to support a new museum exhibit focused on engaging with the environment through camping.

Mt. Pleasant Fire Department received $600 from the Isabella County First Responders Fund to support a 40 hour basic fire investigation class for members of Isabella County Fire Departments. This course will equip fire fighters with the skills needed to determine the causes and origination points of fires.        

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools received $880 from the Chris Maniteau Memorial Wrestling Fund to send members of the Mt. Pleasant High School wrestling team to a CMU team camp.

Project Weidman received $4,108 from the Access to Recreation Fund, $659 from the Brewster Family Access to Recreation Fund, $711 from the Mary Ellen Brandell Access to Recreation Fund and $1,191 from the Janet Maar Strickler Access to Recreation Fund to build a new playground structure in the heart of Weidman.

Sacred Heart Parish received $965 from the Kellogg Youth Fund to purchase an Earthquake Tremor Table, which will allow students to build structures and compete to see whose structure best withstands an earthquake.

Shepherd United Methodist Church Boy Scouts of America Troop 623 received $300 from the Bob and Nancy Wheeler Fund for Scouting to repair the troop’s equipment trailer.

Women's Aid Service, Inc. received $1,500 from the Women's Initiative Fund to support the restoration of the shelter’s front steps, which have been a safety hazard, especially during the winter months.

Applications for the next competitive grant cycle are due September 27, 2017. For more information on grant eligibility, and ways to support the endowed funds that make these grants possible, visit www.mpacf.org.

Community Foundation Receives National Recognition

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) recently received accreditation with the nation’s highest standard for philanthropic excellence. National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® establish legal, ethical, effective practices for community foundations everywhere.

“Meeting the National Standards benchmarks is a rigorous, comprehensive process,” said Randy Royster, Chair of the Community Foundations National Standards Board. “This accreditation is a significant accomplishment that indicates the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation demonstrates a commitment to transparency, quality, integrity, and accountability as it carries out its mission.”

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® program requires community foundations to document their procedures for donor services, investments, grantmaking, administration, and community leadership. MPACF submitted policy documents and other samples to a rigorous review of 41 National Standards in six key areas of community foundation operations. With over 500 community foundations accredited nationwide, the program is designed to provide quality assurance to donors, as well as to their legal and financial advisors.

“Our accreditation provides assurance that we have sound policies and practices in place,” said Terrie Zitzelsberger, MPACF President. “When people make a charitable bequest or establish an endowment fund, they are putting their trust in us. They are counting on us to manage the investment wisely and honor their charitable wishes. The National Standards accreditation says our house is in order.”

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation works to meet critical community needs and support local causes, including human services, education, health, sports and recreation, volunteerism, community and economic development, and others. MPACF offers a range of charitable funds, allowing donors to advance a cause, support an individual organization, provide flexible support for community needs or recommend individual grants. In addition to affirming the organization’s philanthropic services, the accreditation validates MPACF’s grantmaking practices for the nonprofit community.

“National Standards is a promise to our community that we’ll continue to do this good work together,” said Amanda Schafer, Executive Director. National Standards is not mandatory. “We choose to go above and beyond,” Schafer added. “It’s important that our community members know we meet the highest standards for local philanthropy, and that we are able to meet the unique, changing needs of Isabella County.”

Founded in 1990, the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation is a tax-exempt public charity that seeks 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 grantmaking, and providing leadership on key community issues. To learn more about the Community Foundation, visit www.mpacf.org.

Isabella County YAC Welcomes Eleven New Members

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) recently welcomed eleven new youth members. Started in 1991, the YAC includes students (7-12 grade) from schools throughout Isabella County, and serves as a pivotal agent in the empowerment of youth and in the development of young leaders. YAC members learn about philanthropy, volunteerism, and community leadership.

The YAC advises the Foundation's Board of Trustees on the awarding of grants from the Kellogg Youth Fund, an endowment fund which supports charitable projects that benefit the young people of Isabella County. Since 1992, the Community Foundation has offered youth focused mini-grants up to $300, as well as larger grants. In total, 391 grants have been awarded to date from the Kellogg Youth Fund totaling $546,763.38.

The YAC meets once per month to review grant applications, to receive leadership and philanthropy training, and to plan community service projects. Every three years, the YAC surveys 8th and 10th graders in Isabella County to help identify the greatest needs and problems facing youth in our community. YAC members participate in numerous service activities, like the Lion’s Chicken Barbeque and Christmas Outreach. Finally, YAC members work to grow the Kellogg Youth Fund, participating in many fundraisers throughout the year, like their annual flamingo flocking in August.

2017-2018 Youth Advisory Committee members include:

Beal City Public Schools: Aidan Mindel (9), Jack Schafer (10), Seth Schafer (10), Ty Schafer (10)

Mt. Pleasant Public Schools: Kayden Weekley (7), Alex DeMattei (8), Maggie Brockman (9), Kaitlin Otteman (9), Salma Abdelgawad (10), Wyatt Cook (12)

Renaissance PSA: Elizebeth Tarrant (8)

Sacred Heart Academy: Autumn Malinowski (8), Emma Yonker (8), Matthew Kinney (9), Sammy McDonald (10)

Shepherd Public Schools: Connor Bendele (8), Grace Wolf (8), Andersen Griffin-Strand (9), Maggie Bryant (11)

Adult Members: Bill Chilman, Erica Davis, Sarah Fiorillo, Erin Smith-Gaken (advisor), Nancy Wheeler (staff)

“Our goals for the YAC are twofold: to help the Foundation address the needs of youth through grants to local programs and projects, and to support youth as leaders in our region,” said Erin Smith-Gaken, Foundation Trustee and YAC Advisor. ”Committee members learn a great deal about the needs in our community and have the opportunity to make a positive impact on Isabella County.”

In addition to welcoming the new members, six graduating seniors were honored by the YAC during their annual meeting: Nate Horsley (BCHS), Haley McMullen (BCHS), Grace Rau (BCHS), Erica Davis (MPHS), Gabby Driessnack (MPHS), and Cristina Guytingco (SHA).

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation is a tax-exempt public charity that seeks 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. To learn more about the Community Foundation and the Youth Advisory Committee, visit www.mpacf.org.