Kari FullerDirector, Coopersville Area Community Foundation
What do you do at the CACF?
As the representative of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, I represent the Coopersville area and serve the Coopersville area community, including Marne, Eastmanville, Lamont, Tallmadge, Conklin, Polkton, and Wright Township. If someone has a philanthropic intent to benefit the area, I can help. I make connections and relationships with others. If a community member or organization has a need, I try to connect them with someone who can help. Partnerships are important as the CACF processes competitive grants, scholarships, and donor requests. As a worker bee of the foundation, I follow our mission to “make Coopersville a better place to life and work by improving and enhancing the quality of life for all its citizens.”
How long have you been with the CACF?
I have been with the CACF since September, 2016 and LOVE IT! My first day of work was also my kids’ first day back to Coopersville High School.
Why do you work at the CACF?
Positive growth in the community keeps the future strong and it can only be done when a team of people get together and work hard for improvement. The people in this community who chose to give a little of themselves, whether with donations of money, items, or through service and sweat equity, amaze and impress me. You do not have to be rich—or even lucky—to give, but you do need to care, to try, and keep trying. I have seen, over and over, how the ones who give a gift of time or money end up receiving more impact upon themselves.
In addition, the youth in our Coopersville Area Youth Advisory Council (CAYAC) are amazing young adults who are practicing philanthropists and are learning that they can make a positive difference in this world. If I can make a difference and help people help other people, then I know it’s been a good day. Then, I can wake up the next day and work for good in Coopersville.
Education & Experience
I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in science education from WMU and GVSU, respectively. I have continued my education to keep my teaching certificate active through classes from State University of New York, University of Texas, University of Wisconsin, GVSU, and various conferences and webinars. I have taught science, gifted and talented education, Spanish, handbells, and special education in schools in Michigan and Texas.
While my own children were young, I started volunteering in my community a lot. I even earned the PTO parent volunteer of the year award in DeSoto, TX. After we moved back to Michigan, I helped the band fundraise for new uniforms and found out about the good work of the CACF when I wrote a competitive grant. I still volunteer with the Coopersville Bands, where the kids call me Mama Fuller (which I love), and I help the band boosters. My family has committed to volunteer with Westminster Presbyterian Church and Camp Henry too. I’m also active in and was the past-president of Coopersville Rotary.
Do you have a leisure activity or hobby?
I love to read, garden vegetables and flowers, hike, swim and be on the water in general, watch adventure movies, and exercise. My family speed-skates in the winter with the West Michigan Speedskating Club. I watch my high school and college-age daughters and exchange student do their various sports and activities throughout the year, and I run with my dog, Daisy. I also play clarinet and saxophone in the Coopersville Community Band.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I love the weather and want to see a waterspout on our Great Lakes. (I have seen one in the Florida Keys.) Science is fascinating to me and I love to experience Michigan’s seasons and all the traveling opportunities it has to offer.