“Our role as a community foundation is to support our students and continue to explore ways to lift them up,” said Lauren Grevel, Education and Youth Initiatives Officer at the GHACF. “There is a growing, nationwide conversation among scholarship providers on how to best support and engage first-generation college students, and our scholarship committee and team are no different.”
While legacy can be defined in many different ways, the Legacy Society at the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation recognizes individuals and couples who have named the Foundation as the beneficiary of any type of planned or deferred gift. The purpose of the group is to acknowledge and thank those who have planned for these gifts and to inspire other individuals to do the same.
We recently welcomed two new members to the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees: Keith Konarska and Shirley Woodruff.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
For Ken and Mary Terpstra, teaching their children to give back to the community has been something they’ve always strived to do.
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.
“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.”
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.
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...