Enhancing quality of life: Manistee County Community Foundation announces 2018 grant recipients

Manistee County's Armory Youth Project was one of several organizations to receive grant funding from the Manistee County Community Foundation's Minger Family Endowment Fund. (News Advocate file photo)

Manistee County’s Armory Youth Project was one of several organizations to receive grant funding from the Manistee County Community Foundation’s Minger Family Endowment Fund. (News Advocate file photo)

MANISTEE COUNTY — The Manistee County Community Foundation Board of Directors and staff have announced the 2018 grant awards, totaling nearly $250,000, an unprecedented amount of funding awarded within a single year.

Grants will support 18 projects and programs that will enhance quality of life and recreational opportunities across Manistee County.

The generosity of the Community Foundation’s donors made the

The Manistee County Community Foundation's Minger Family Endowment Fund was established in 2017 through a landmark estate gift of more than $15 million received from Forest R. Minger, Jr. (Courtesy photo)

The Manistee County Community Foundation’s Minger Family Endowment Fund was established in 2017 through a landmark estate gift of more than $15 million received from Forest R. Minger, Jr. (Courtesy photo)

expanded grant funding possible. The Minger Family Endowment Fund was established in 2017 through a landmark estate gift of more than $15 million received from Forest R. Minger, Jr. The new endowment provides a permanent source of support for improving and expanding recreation programs and facilities within Manistee County.

Inaugural grants from the Minger Family Endowment Fund total $214,630 in support of the following seven projects:

• $20,000 to the Armory Youth Project for the Recreation Facility Maintenance & Development project to update heating and air conditioning temperature control units within the facility located in Manistee.

• $25,000 to Cleon Township for the Betsie Valley Trail Extension project to develop a new 2.5-mile trail segment connecting Thompsonville in Benzie County to Cleon Township and the Village of Copemish in Manistee County. The proposed trail will be open to all non-motorized uses year-round and snowmobiles during the winter months. Completion of the segment will help toward future connection to the White Pine Trail, which encompasses 92 miles running south to north through the center of the state.

• $100,000 to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy for the Completing a Community Vision: The Universal Access Trail at Arcadia Marsh Nature Preserve project to construct a three-quarter mile length trail extending across Arcadia Marsh, to allow people of all ages and abilities to experience the unique marsh habitat, bird, fish and enjoy nature.

• $20,000 to Manistee Cross Country Ski Council & Shoreline Cycling Club for the New Groomer and Storage Building project at the Big M Trail in the Huron-Manistee National Forest to support replacement of an aging cross country ski grooming vehicle and construction of a storage facility for cross country ski and fat bike grooming equipment and other trail maintenance tools and supplies.

• $15,000 to Manistee Township for the Manistee Township Pickleball – Promoting Recreation, Physical Activity and Community Health project which will convert two outdated tennis courts into six dedicated pickleball courts on Township property in Parkdale.

• $4,630 to the Manistee Recreation Association for the Soccer, Youth Basketball, and Adult Flag Football Programs project to purchase new, softer, longer lasting soccer balls, necessary equipment to offer and coordinate an adult flag football program and to purchase necessary equipment to offer a new 1st/2nd grade basketball program during late fall/winter months.

• $30,000 to the Village of Bear Lake for the Village of Bear Lake Hopkins Park Development & Canoe/Kayak Launch project to provide improvements and upgrades at Hopkins Park to make the 1,800-acre Bear Lake universally accessible to people of all ages and abilities and expand recreational opportunities for residents and visitors while also spurring area economic development.

“We expect that Mr. Minger would be delighted to learn of the first awards from the new fund that his incredible gift made possible,” said Brad Hopwood, chair of the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors. “While he never lived in our community, he shared that he deeply enjoyed the time he spent here recreating, and that he was a salmon fishing fanatic.

“His appreciation of those experiences, along with the belief that his gift would have big impact in a small community, spurred Mr. Minger to give back,” he added. “We’re honored to help fulfill his wishes and, thanks to his generosity, our residents and visitors will be able to enjoy a range of new and expanded recreational opportunities.

“On behalf of our community, we will be forever grateful for his gift. We’re excited that this grant round is just the beginning of what is sure to be an incredible legacy.”

Additional grants awarded in 2018 include grants from the Foundation’s Limitless Fund. The aptly named fund was established in 2016 through the leadership of an anonymous donor who recognized that most of the Foundation’s funds are designated for specific purposes and wanted to enable the Foundation to respond to a broader array of community needs and opportunities.

Widespread community support helped the Foundation exceed the anonymous donor’s challenge, resulting in the new $1.5 million endowment.

Inaugural grants from the Limitless Fund total $25,062 in support of 11 projects. The Manistee Rotary Education Fund and Manistee County Environmental Fund also provided support for several of the projects, as indicated:

• $4,330.00 to Bear Lake Schools for the ROV (Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle) project which will be used to engage students in surveying and monitoring the health of Bear Lake, inspire students to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, and foster stewardship of area lakes. In addition to $3,735 awarded from the Limitless Fund, the Manistee County Environmental Fund provided $595 toward the project.

• $2,070 to Bear Lake Schools (in cooperation with Kaleva Norman Dickson and Onekama Consolidated Schools) for the Cooperative Drama Program “Experience the Magic of Musical Theater” project to enable drama students the opportunity to see a professional production and hone their stage craft. The Limitless Fund provided $170 in support to supplement $1,900 from the Manistee Rotary Education Fund.

• $1,000 to Benzie Area Christian Neighbors, Inc., for the Warm for a Night project to provide utility assistance to eligible Neighbors who reside in Manistee County.

• $3,500 to the Manistee Friendship Society for the Healthy Lifestyle Initiative to provide nutrition education, healthy cooking classes and healthy food for members.

• $1,515 to Onekama Consolidated Schools for the Teambuilding Initiative Project to offer and sustain a day of structured team building activities for current eight-grade students and teachers. The Limitless Fund provided $130 in support to supplement $1,385 from the Manistee Rotary Education Fund.

• $1,500 to Our Saviour’s Historical Society for the Old Kirke Museum Securing the Building project to restore and replace various doors at the historic facility, which is the oldest existing Danish Lutheran church in the United States.

• $2,500 to Portage Lake Garden Club for the Memorial Fountain Restoration project located in the Onekama Village Park which will include a new, wider walking path, stacked limestone surround and planting bed to honor and protect the 130-year old fountain, the sole fountain remaining from the original Manistee County Courthouse.

• $5,000 to the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts for the Sound System Upgrade project to support replacement of the current analog soundboard that is over 15 years old with a new digital soundboard that will meet today’s needs, enabling the RRCA to retain and attract new performing artists.

• $1,500 to Wexford-Missaukee-Manistee Great Start Collaborative for the Manistee Preschool Scholarships and Manistee Great Start Collaborative Playgroups project to support preschool scholarships and the purchase of outdoor play equipment and informational materials for parents. The Limitless Fund provided $130 in support to supplement $1,370 from the Manistee Rotary Education Fund.

In addition to the above, competitively awarded projects, the MCCF Board of Directors proactively awarded the following grants from the Limitless Fund during 2018:

• $6,397 in support of Launch Manistee, a county-wide cradle-to-career educational network which operates as a community leadership initiative of the Manistee County Community Foundation, for general operating support.

• $1,000 to Rotary Charities of Traverse City/NorthSky Nonprofit Network to support participation by six emerging leaders from nonprofit organizations within Manistee County in the collaborative Leadership Learning Lab professional development series.

“We are thrilled that the Foundation is now able to support important community needs that we have been challenged to address in the past due to having limited flexible resources,” said Laura Heintzelman, president and CEO of the Manistee County Community Foundation. “Thanks to the donors who enabled these flexible grant dollars, we are better positioned to meet the needs of today and the unknown needs of the future. The new Limitless Fund is already making that possible.”

The Foundation’s 2018 grant cycle was highly competitive. A total of 31 full applications were submitted with requests totaling $588,565, which was more than double the amount of available grant funding. Information about the Foundation’s grant cycles and grant guidelines is available at manisteefoundation.org or by contacting the Foundation office at (231) 723-7269.

The Manistee County Community Foundation, established in 1987, is a public charity and tax-exempt nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Manistee County – today and in the future. Governed by a diverse board of directors comprised of community leaders from across Manistee County, the Foundation provides leadership to achieve community change, makes grants that address local needs and builds community endowment. For more information, visit www.manisteefoundation.org.

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