John and Judy Williams Challenge Shepherd Community
Fifth generation resident John Williams feels strongly about Shepherd, Michigan, and he is ready to show it. Along with his wife, Judy, Williams has issued a challenge to fellow community members. The couple will match all gifts, dollar for dollar up to $30,000, made to the Shepherd Community Fund or the Shepherd Public Schools Scholarship Fund at the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation.
The Shepherd Community Fund was established in 1998 in honor of Robert H. Bates, an active and beloved resident of Shepherd who passed away in 2008 at age 99. For the last twenty years, an advisory board has worked to raise approximately $200,000 in support of the Shepherd community—holding a Spring Dinner and a Fall Reverse Raffle. Both a former teacher and business owner, John Williams has been part of that group.
The Shepherd Community Fund is endowed, so grants are awarded solely from the interest earned on the invested capital. Grants are made in three cycles each year as part of a competitive process facilitated by Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation staff and Shepherd Community Fund advisory board volunteers. All grants made from the Fund have benefited the Shepherd community. To date, 58 grants have been made, totaling more than $60,000. The Fund has awarded several grants over the years to the Village, Shepherd Public Schools, and the Police Department. They also help with the Shepherd After Prom Party each year and projects such as Wishing for a Washer, the Shepherd Santa House, and the restoration project for the Little Red School House Museum.
The Shepherd Public Schools Scholarship Fund was established in 1995 and was one of the very first endowed scholarship funds started in the county. Shepherd community members, businesses and local organizations have contributed nearly $50,000 to this Fund over the years. Scholarships have been awarded to graduating seniors from Shepherd Public Schools who have been active community volunteers, exhibiting outstanding attitude toward school and community. They must have maintained a 3.0 minimum grade point average as well. This past spring, the 48th, 49th, and 50th scholarships were awarded. The recipients are now using their scholarships to further their education at a college, university, technical or vocational school.
Because of the capital invested in the Shepherd Community Fund and the Shepherd Public Schools Scholarship Fund, there remains a balance in both endowments greater than the sum of money contributed to them.
“I like to see things happen in our little town,” Williams said. “And this challenge is a way to encourage other people in the area to help.”
Community members may contribute to either endowment fund at the Community Foundation through December 31, 2019 in order to take advantage of the Williams’ match offer. Donations may be made at mpacf.org, and checks may be mailed to MPACF, PO Box 1283, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48804.