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.

Community Foundation Awards $98,900 in Scholarships

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) awarded 96 scholarships totaling $98,900 to local students during a reception on May 31, 2018. Established by individuals, businesses, and organizations wanting to help local students achieve their educational goals, most scholarships support high school students planning to attend an accredited college, university or trade school in the fall. Each scholarship is unique and reflects the values and interests of those who established it.

For more information, or to support any one of these scholarships, contact Amanda Schafer, Executive Director, at (989) 773-7322 or visit www.mpacf.org.

The 2018 Community Foundation Scholarship Recipients are:

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Photos from the reception may be found on the MPACF Facebook page.

Public Invited to Respond to Online Community Needs Assessment

What does our community need? Where is the greatest potential to improve the quality of life in Isabella County? The public is invited to participate in an Isabella County Community Needs Assessment.

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. 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 was contacted over the course of the last few months via telephone and mail, and now the public as a whole is invited to respond to the online version of the survey. The survey can be accessed here and will remain open for two weeks. All responses will remain confidential, and no information that could identify individuals or households will ever be published. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete. Those who have completed the survey via telephone or mail need not respond again. 

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

Foundation Awards 96 Scholarships

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) will award 96 scholarships totaling more than $98,900 to local students during a Scholarship Reception on May 31, 2018. Established by individuals, businesses, and organizations wanting to help local students achieve their educational goals, most scholarships support high school students planning to attend an accredited college, university or trade school in the fall. Each scholarship is unique and reflects the values and interests of those who established it.

For more information or to support any one of these scholarships, contact Brittany Sherrill, Program Officer, at (989) 773-7322.

The 2018 Community Foundation Scholarship Recipients are:

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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.