TRAVERSE CITY — By Carol South
Special to the Record-Eagle
The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation's mission is to make a difference and create legacies that matter.
Since its founding 20 years ago, the foundation stewarded more than $70 million. Organization and individuals entrusted the foundation with their money as a way to make an impact in the region.
Over that time, contributions have resulted in $37 million in community grants given to local nonprofit organizations. Funds supported programs, services and capital projects in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties.
The foundation's assets currently stand at $47 million.
"We're the endowment builder, building the resources of our community to be here forever," said Phil Ellis, executive director of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. "For us, we recognize in our 20th year it's not about us but how we can be a resource for donors."
Twenty years is a relatively short amount of time for a community foundation; a similar foundation in Grand Rapids just celebrated 90 years. In the context of successful and enduring community foundations — there are more than 700 nationally and internationally — the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation's board is planning for the next five, 20, 50 years.
A long-term perspective both reflects and honors the legacies created by donor funds.
Some large impact projects over the years include the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA capital campaign, Thirlby Field and the National Writer's Series. The power of many is leveraged thanks to the Community Foundation.
"(T)he ACE Fund started with just one donor and there have been 750 donors since then," said Ellis of a fund that supports Traverse City Area Public Schools. "We can all be philanthropists."
The board awarded more than $410,000 in December, the latest grant cycle, including $180,000 given as part of its competitive fall grant cycle. Recent awards boost the total for 2012 to $1.7 million granted.
A new Bethany Christian Services program received a competitive grant of $4,000 from the Campbell Endowment for a new Safe Families for Children program, a program that also received a regional impact grant of $5,000 from the foundation's Youth Advisory Council.
The grant allows Bethany to launch an initiative that provides support and a temporary home for children whose families are experiencing a temporary crisis.
"It's really a blessing," said Craig Bultsma, executive branch director of Bethany Christian Services. "It enables us to reach out into the community and help families in need."
The Foundation's roots are linked with Rotary Charities, whose board of directors provided support and leadership in 1992 to establish the foundation.
A W.K. Kellogg Foundation matching grant helped boost the nascent fund. The resulting $4 million raised sparked a match of $2 million from Kellogg for a Youth Endowment.
"They created us to become a resource that others could come to," Ellis said.
The foundation hosts approximately 280 funds that support arts and culture, the environment, youth and education. Community enrichment funds are geared to help with health and human services, seniors, food programs and housing. Approximately 15 to 20 new funds are created each year.
The Foundation distributes about $2 million each year and one of the region's largest grantmakers. More than half the money disbursed is earmarked for community enrichment.
One component is that members of a Youth Advisory Council, teens in high school, get to decide how to distribute $67,500 from the Youth Endowment. The 60 members of this year's council are high school students from the foundation's five-county area. Young grantmakers learn the basics of philanthropy and grantmaking, review applications and select programs to recommend for funding.
"It's a unique way to serve my community," said Lauren Murray, a senior at Traverse City Central High School. "You can think about the impact of these grants and you know exactly what it's going to do."
For more information on Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, call 935-4066 or see www.gtrcf.org
TRAVERSE CITY — By Carol South
Powerball ticket buyers hopeful as jackpot swells
Garrick Opie hasn’t purchased a Powerball ticket in more than a decade. But a jackpot that swelled to $600 million — the world’s second largest lottery prize — by Friday afternoon convinced Opie to throw in $20 toward the $2 tickets at the 7-Eleven store on 14th Street.Continued ...
Co-worker of fired tribal employees: ‘They should have known better’
A co-worker of the six tribal employees who shot a .22 rifle off their office building deck alleged they endangered a nearby residence, potentially polluted Lake Michigan with lead bullets, and violated human resources policy.Continued ...
Jury: Local attorney committed fraud
A jury ruled a local attorney committed fraud and malpractice in a case of a business deal gone bad.Continued ...
Man facing sex charges
A Traverse City man who faces child abuse and criminal sexual conduct charges also is accused of attempting to assault authorities who tried to arrest him.Continued ...
Model airplanes take off today in Thompsonville
If you’re in Thompsonville today, look up. Model airplane enthusiasts say you’ll be in for a treat.Continued ...
Trial scheduled for sex crime suspect
A Kalkaska man who faces 16 counts of criminal sexual conduct is scheduled to appear in court.Continued ...
Ex-local resident on 'Wheel of Fortune'
A former Frankfort resident will appear on the national game show “Wheel of Fortune.”Continued ...
- Friday, May 17, 2013
Parking garage rates to rise
The Downtown Development Authority authorized an increase in transient parking rates at the city’s two municipal parking decks.Continued ...
Ex-Traverse City Manager Lewis to head St. Joseph
The city of St. Joseph picked Traverse City's former Manager Richard Lewis as their next city manager.Continued ...
Heroin overdose kills man
Benzie County's struggle with fatal heroin overdoses continues. Authorities confirmed Justin Smith, 23, of Benzonia, was found dead Wednesday night of a heroin overdose. Law enforcement officials arrested a suspect in Smith's death, the fourth heroin-related fatality in the county since 2011.Continued ...
No food truck buffet rolled out on first day
Diners who hankered for food truck fare on the first day the mobile restaurants were allowed downtown came away hungry.Continued ...
Firings anger Grand Traverse Band members
Tribal officials fired six of their Natural Resources Department employees for shooting a rifle off their office’s deck, a move that’s angered some Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa members who said the punishment is too severe.Continued ...
Low-flying helicopters are coming
Don’t worry: the low-flying helicopters buzzing through northern Michigan are not from the United Nations or some secret government agency.Continued ...
Nursing home promises to repay Benzie $484K
The Maples nursing home officials told Benzie County leaders they will repay $484,000 the county loaned the facility by March 2014.Continued ...
Traverse City Light & Power joins SUN project
Traverse City Light & Power board members approved the final step in implementing a community solar project in partnership with Cherryland Electric Cooperative.Continued ...
- Thursday, May 16, 2013
Shananaquet to prison for 25-50 years
Tyler Shananaquet expressed remorse for hitting a woman who sought a ride home after a Williamsburg bonfire party, but he maintained he didn't rape her.Continued ...
Traverse City eyes bond to fix roads
Winter 2012-13 laid bare Traverse City's street problems and some city officials want to consider jump-starting a 20-year road repair program with a bond program of up to $20 million.Continued ...
Memorial ceremony a tribute to TC's Sgt. Finch
It was a quiet, sunny day when Traverse City Police Sgt. Dennis Finch responded to a call about a man with a gun outside a Wellington Street home.Continued ...
Farm bill would help fruit growers
Both pending versions of the 2013 Farm Bill would make crop insurance available to cherry farmers, northern Michigan's federal legislators said.Continued ...
United Way launches iPhone app for volunteering
iPhone users who want to find local volunteer opportunities through the United Way now can get information at the tips of their fingertips.Continued ...
Inland Seas' Kelly to weigh anchor
Tom Kelly, who launched the first sailing schoolship program on the Great Lakes 25 years ago, will retire at year's end.Continued ...
Traverse City manager to make $100K a year to start
Traverse City’s likely new city manager will earn $100,000 a year to start and could raise that to $110,000 by the end of a proposed three-year contract.Continued ...
- Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Leelanau will pay to settle lawsuit
Leelanau County will pay $55,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from allegations county sheriff’s deputies illegally detained a man.Continued ...
NMC may hike tuition for some
Northwestern Michigan College board members took their first look at next year’s draft budget, which included a nearly 32 percent tuition hike for the nursing, automotive, and audio-tech programs.Continued ...
Home foreclosure could be 'windfall' for Benzie
Tax foreclosure on a lakefront home valued near $800,000 could be a “windfall” for Benzie County.Continued ...
- Powerball ticket buyers hopeful as jackpot swells