(left to right: Jose C. Gomez, Sue Buth, Leo Rapp (Treasurer), Jennifer Breen (Chair), Jeff Johnson, Kari Fuller (CACF Director), Cori Conran, Cheryl Annen, Kelley Monterusso (Vice-Chair), and Marty Alexander. Not pictured, Ira Engeltjes (Secretary).
Did you know that the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation has two affiliate community foundations, each of which serves other communities in Northern Ottawa County? Both Allendale and the Coopersville Area are home to their own foundations, and we’d like to spotlight them in a two-part blog series.
The Coopersville Area Community Foundation (CACF) was founded in 1993 and, in 2016, hired its first director, Kari Fuller. The GHACF team works with Kari to support her work, but all the funds raised in Coopersville stay in Coopersville.
“I’m here to help understand the needs of Coopersville and the surrounding areas, and those needs can be very different from the lakeshore area.” — Kari Fuller, Director of the Coopersville Area Community Foundation
Her passion for the good of Coopersville, along with her knowledge of the people, for-impact partners, and volunteer opportunities, make her an invaluable asset for the foundation.
As an affiliate, CACF has an advisory board made up of local community members that provides essential leadership, guidance, and oversight. The CACF follows all policies set in place by the GHACF Board of Trustees, who also support the work of Kari and the advisory board. Kari’s responsibilities include managing the competitive grant program, fundraising, marketing, scholarships, and finance—with the strong support and background work from her colleagues in Grand Haven.
In 2019, CACF awarded over $28,486 in scholarships to 30 local graduates, and the grant committee awarded $10,641 in grants to area for-impact organizations, including the Coopersville Farm Museum, the Western Michigan Society for Industrial Heritage, Coopersville Area Public Schools, and the Coopersville Area Arts Council.
Much like the GHACF’s YAC, the Coopersville Area Youth Advisory Council (CAYAC) learns about the impact of charitable donations by granting funds, volunteering, and staying involved with other for-impact organizations in the community. Each fall, they review the youth needs assessment survey to determine how best they can give back to the community through their competitive grants.
“Coopersville is a wonderful community. Our agricultural and manufacturing industries are strong, and the award-winning Coopersville schools have a 97% graduation rate. People in our small town care for each other. When someone is in need, the community bands together to help. It makes me proud to be from Coopersville.” — Kari Fuller
The Coopersville area includes the City of Coopersville as well as the Chester, Polkton, Wright, and Tallmadge Townships, which includes the villages of Marne, Conklin, Eastmanville, and Lamont.