By Pat Maurer
For the past 16 years, the Clare County Community Foundation has been building a fund developed entirely from deductible federal tax donations to provide grants, which are funded by the interest earnings raised annually and aimed at improving the quality of life in our county.
According to their website, the foundation now has an asset level of about $2 million.
“CCCF is a trusted steward of funds,” said Executive Director Jim Allen. “Just 1-2 percent of contributions go toward administration leaving 98 percent to go back into community investment. In 2012, $1,330 was given back to the community in grants and $23,732 in scholarships for secondary education for a total contribution of $65,092.” Scholarships are awarded annually in February.
“These numbers have grown significantly over the years,” Allen continued. “In 2008 grants totaled $221,416 and scholarships were $10,500 for that year. Over the past five years the combined total provided to the Clare Community exceeded $238,000.”
The CCCF is headed up by a volunteer board of trustees made up of local Clare County members, said Allen. “Our vision is enriching and improving the quality of life in our Clare County community today and for future generations,” he said. “It (the foundation) accomplishes this vision by strengthening our community by providing leadership, fostering collaboration on local needs and issues, and by encouraging a legacy of giving through grants, scholarships and events.”
“There are several types of funds available for donation designed to benefit a donor’s interest,” he added. “Grants are provided to 501 (c) (3) organizations in areas assisting arts, education, youth, seniors, health and community development, recreation and environment.”
Major community grants awarded in 2012 included:
*$1,905 to the Farwell High School anti-bullying campaign, which funded a teen summit to spread awareness of Cyber-Bullying and Teen Suicide due to bullying. The annual event was organized by Farwell School Liaison Officer Erica Vredevelt.
*$4,000 to the Legacy Center for Community Success, of Midland, to purchase supplies and support materials to a Clare County program designed to improve the literacy rate using the Barton Dyslexia Multi-county area serving Midland, Gladwin and Clare, “Grant monies provided by our foundation are directed exclusive to Clare County youth,” Allen said.
*$1,560 to the Clare Chamber of Commerce to purchase banners and brackets promoting festivals and events in Clare.
*$6,000 to the Legacy Center to implement a developmental model for Clare County youth, working with students in grades 6-12 to reduce the risk of delinquency and health related outcomes. The Center was founded to research outside the classroom learning problems, design/develop interventions that address those problems identified and deliver/implement programs collaborating with other agencies in delivery.
*$10,000 to the Mid Michigan Community Action Agency, a contribution to the Clare Historic Depot Project to develop a community center. The depot committee is working to raise funds to move the old building to a new site next to the railroad tracks on Fourth Street and to renovate the building for multiple uses including a railroad museum. “The fundraising efforts to relocate and renovate the historic Clare railroad depot are still ongoing, said Clare Railroad Depot Steering Committee member Ken Hibl last year. The project to move the depot to the new site will cost $250,000.
*$1,539 to The Village of Farwell, a portion of the startup funds for the Village Farm and Arts Market. The market is now in its second summer and is held each Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the corner of Illinois and Hall Streets.
The Clare County Community Foundation (CCCF) is an affiliate of the Midland Area Community Foundation. It functions just like any other community foundation, but uses the Midland Area Community Foundation staff, 501(c)(3) status, and back office services (investments, accounting functions, etc.) for its operations.
The CCCF is governed by Allen and a 15 member board. To contact the Clare County Community Foundation, call 989-839-9907 or 1-800-906-9661 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The office, located on the second floor of Chemical Bank – Clare, is open Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. Appointments are available anytime.
“The community is the heart of CCCF. Every individual, family business and organization has the opportunity to leave their own legacy with a gift of any size,” Allen said. “Gifts to the foundation are combined with other gifts to have a greater impact.”