Recent Grants Focus on Youth, Wellness

At the end of May, our board, together with the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), announced nine second-round grant awards, totaling $203,015 in support of Northwest Ottawa County and our surrounding communities. This includes a $25,000 grant to the City of Ferrysburg for a new playground at Fire Barn Park at the intersection of 174th Avenue and North Shore Road.

What Does First-Gen Mean?

As we wrap up our scholarship season, we were fortunate to provide over $500,000 in scholarships to students in Northwest Ottawa County. We hold over 100 scholarship funds with varying criteria, such as financial need, academic achievements, and field of study. Another factor our scholarship committee considers is if a student would be among the first in their family in their generation to continue their education after high school.

Grant Recipient: Bluebird Cancer Retreats

Bluebird Cancer Retreat’s mission has always been to serve adults who have been affected by cancer. It is the only retreat opportunity of its kind for those with cancer in the West Michigan region, and one of only 34 retreat centers serving adults with cancer in the nation. “Most cancer retreats focus on children,” said Renee Denslow, Executive Director of Bluebird Cancer Retreats. “But adults have families and the need to serve the entire family was huge. We wanted to do something for the families and asked ourselves what it would look like if adults could attend with their kids.”

Announcing Two Promotions on the GHACF Team

We are pleased to announce two internal promotions on the GHACF team: Patty MacDonald has been promoted to Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Holly Cole has been promoted to Vice President of Grants and Program.

A Different Way to Give: JSJ Corporation

As part of their one-hundredth-anniversary celebration, the leadership at JSJ turned to their employees to choose who received their gifts as a way to honor their legacy of community giving. “It’s incredibly important to us that we’ve had the good fortune to be able to give back to the communities where we live and work,” said Johnson. “We look forward to continuing to support these amazing organizations as they work to make our communities better places to live.”

Thank You to Our Outgoing Board Members

Each spring, our Governance Committee identifies and invites community members to serve on our Board of Trustees. It also means we must say farewell to those who have completed their service. This year, Sandy Huber and Mark Kleist have reached the end of their terms.

Why We Give: Ken and Mary Terpstra

For Ken and Mary Terpstra, teaching their children to give back to the community has been something they’ve always strived to do.

Grant Helps Pave Way for Housing for All

We are pleased to announce five first-round grant awards, totaling $262,500, in support of Northwest Ottawa County. This includes a $12,500 grant to the City of Grand Haven for an updated zoning ordinance that would allow residential housing and mixed-use structures to be more easily developed within the Grand Haven community.

Grant Recipient: Ottawa Sands

“Ottawa Sands is the “missing puzzle piece” that creates a 2,000-acre corridor of public green space, stretching from P.J. Hoffmaster State Park all the way to the Grand River,” said Marie Orttenburger, Communications Specialist at the Land Conservancy of West Michigan (LCWM). “Without protection, it would be lost to development or continued sand mining.”

Board Feature: Randy Hansen

Randy Hansen first joined the GHACF board in 2013 and took over as Chair in 2018. He’s served on the Investment and Executive Committees, putting his financial skills to work for the foundation. Most recently, he adeptly guided the foundation through the search for our new president. His presence during the interim, both in the boardroom and the office, and his unwavering support for the team were invaluable.

Looking Forward

As the new leader of the GHACF, I’m honored to kick off the new year at your community foundation. We’re getting ready to launch our new strategic plan—a plan the Board and team have worked on for the past two years. While our mission won’t change, our...

You Make an Impact in Our Community

Your contribution makes a difference – right here in Northwest Ottawa County. As our community’s needs evolve, we remain committed to improving the quality of life for all because we all benefit from a healthy and vibrant community.

Support the Greatest Needs Fund on Giving Tuesday

Will you give to the Greatest Needs Fund today? Every contribution makes a difference – right here in Northwest Ottawa County.

Your generous contribution to the Greatest Needs Fund today allows us to invest in our community in a flexible and impactful way that addresses a broad range of critical needs, including future needs that cannot be anticipated.

Giving Thanks

During this time of Thanksgiving, we’d like to pause and thank you. (Yes, you.) We don’t do anything alone, and whether you gave time, talent, or treasure this year, we want you to know how much we value you and your generosity. 

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