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Recent News

Oceana Community Foundation’s Read early. Read often. Program Starts New Year with a New Leader

Oceana’s Read Early. Read Often. (RERO) Program would like to welcome Teresa Mead to the Foundation Team as the new Program Coordinator.  Teresa spent 24 years working for Shelby Public Schools. She started in 1999 at Benona Elementary, then 7 years at New Era Elementary running the computer and library programs and her last 14 years at the Early Childhood Center (ECC). She was the ECC Program Coordinator before her retirement in June 2023. 

Key Findings from Walkerville Community Assessment to be Revealed on January 25!

A new year is also a new start for Walkerville’s future! The Walkerville Community Assessment conducted on November 30th was the fourth area assessment funded by the Oceana Community Foundation to gain local feedback towards developing positive change to meet community goals. The assessment was facilitated by the Foundation and consultant Julie Hales-Smith, with the support of Lake-Osceola Bank. After a month of compiling the feedback received during the full day of assessment activities, we are now ready to report the findings to Walkerville area residents!

Foundation’s Fall Community Grant Round Supports All Applicants 

In its Fall Community Grant Round, the Oceana Community Foundation awarded $47,509 to 12 local schools and nonprofits! All organizations that applied received funding with six organizations receiving full funding up to $7,500 and three receiving partial support. Additionally, local nonprofits, government organizations, and schools have received nearly $64,552 through the Foundation’s Community Wish Lists so far!  

There’s still time to invest in the Foundation’s challenge match

Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, the Oceana Community Foundation launched a $25,000 Challenge Match through the end of the year. Gifts to the Community Investment Fund or the Administrative Fund will be matched, creating double the impact in Oceana County! “The Challenge Match is such a heartwarming holiday gift to our community,” Foundation CEO Tammy Carey said. “Not only will people’s end-of-year gifts have double the impact, but they will also support Oceana’s local nonprofits and residents indefinitely through the Foundation’s endowment. Gifts will truly become the ‘gifts that keep on giving,’ both now and in the future.”

Community Foundation releases its annual Wish Lists – Make a Gift to Your Community!

Have you ever considered giving a holiday gift to your community? With the holiday season approaching, the Oceana Community Foundation recently released its annual Community Wish Lists! The Foundation invites area nonprofits to indicate which near-term projects and purchases can only happen with the financial support from the community as part of its philanthropy leadership framework. This season, 49 organizations serving Oceana County submitted 126 different gift requests, totaling $180,510! To learn more about our Community Wish Lists or to find a wish close to your heart, visit OceanaFoundation.org/Community-Wish-Lists or reach out to the Foundation at 231.869.3377.  

Join the Community Foundation at its Holiday Open House on December 15 

This winter season, the Community Foundation is inviting Oceana County to celebrate the season with purpose at our Holiday Open House on December 15 from 10AM to 4PM. The Holiday Open House will be at the Community Foundation’s office at 388 S. Hancock Street in Pentwater; our office is directly above Shelby State Bank. 

Community Foundation introduces Cecelia Hopkins to their team

The Oceana Community Foundation is thrilled to announce the addition of Cecelia Hopkins to its staff as its newest AmeriCorps member. Cecelia supports both the Foundation and Oceana County College Access Network (OCAN!) as their joint Outreach Coordinator. “We are incredibly excited to have Cecelia join our team! She is an avid learner and is excited to explore community building on the other side of the state,” Foundation CEO Tammy Carey stated. “As she continues to establish relationships in Oceana County, we hope you stop by and welcome Cecelia to West Michigan!”

Community Foundation partners award $9,520 in Teacher Mini Grants

The Oceana Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) awarded over $9,500 to local teachers in partnership with other donor-advised funds at the Oceana Community Foundation. Together they provided 39 different grants to educators across the county. Grants awards can be up to $250 for specific projects or programs supporting curriculum enhancements, expanding an already existing unit, student awards, special events, professional development, artists in residence and parent involvement programs. This special grant opportunity opens in August each year to help teachers plan for the upcoming school year.

Walkerville Community Assessment Planned for November 30

The Oceana Community Foundation, in partnership with Lake-Osceola State Bank and local Walkerville leaders, are conducting a Walkerville Community Assessment on November 30th. This assessment will be focused on the Village of Walkerville, Colfax Township, Leavitt Township, and surrounding areas. The Walkerville Community Assessment will provide everyone with the opportunity to develop a shared vision for the future – bring your enthusiasm and great ideas!

Five Changemakers Join the Community Foundation for Oceana County’s Regional Leadership Learning Lab

The Community Foundation for Oceana County (CFOC) is proud to introduce the six community leaders participating in its regional Leadership Learning Lab (LLL): Rubi Berumen, Aubrey Boerema, Curtis Burdette, Mark Olmstead, and Griffin Vogler. As the fifth cohort of LLL, participants will join Oceana County’s 26 LLL alumni in expanding their leadership skills and networks.

School Safety & Knox Boxes

In 2019, the Oceana County Sheriff’s Department recognized that preparing schools for emergency lockdowns was not enough, as it prevented public safety officials from being able to provide life-saving aid. The Sheriff’s Department and the Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) partnered to install Knox Boxes at every school in Oceana County. Through the Oceana Youth Fund and the Community Investment Fund, YAC awarded the Sheriff’s Department an initial grant of $3,000. The Knox Box project received a second grant of $2,098 from the Foundation’s Friends of Oceana County Sheriff’s Office Fund.

Supporting Pentwater Arts Council’s Sculpture Walk

The Pentwater Arts Council (PAC) knows the answer: through community engagement and placemaking. PAC is beginning its three-year-long Sculpture Walk Initiative in collaboration with the Pentwater Downtown Development Authority. In this project, five sculptures were placed along downtown Hancock Street. In preparation for its first summer, PAC’s Sculpture Initiative received a $6,500 grant supported by the Foundation’s Randall and Linda Wagner Family and the Janie Denman Legacy Funds.

Students Helping Teachers through Teacher Mini-Grants

Annually in August, teachers have the opportunity to apply for teacher mini grants up to $250, a program run by the Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC). In 2022, the program provided 38 grants, nearly $13,000, to seven schools in Oceana County – nearly doubling the number of grants from 2021. In addition to support from the Oceana Youth Fund, the program significantly grew thanks to partnerships with several donor advised funds of the Foundation including Mrs. Mullen’s Closet, Little Point Sable Arts for Oceana, Ralph’s Kids, Nobles Family Medical Reserve Corps and the Mary Ann Peterson “Grandma Pete” Memorial Fund(s).

Supporting West Shore Community College’s College for Kids Camp

Empowering students begins with connecting their interests with critical skills – a realization guiding West Shore Community College’s ‘College for Kids Camp.’ Over 200 students, 9-15 years old, from Oceana, Lake, Manistee, and Mason counties spent a week exploring careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). With a $5,000 combined grant from the Oceana Youth Fund and Mrs. Mullen’s Closet Fund, the Foundation sponsored 32 Oceana students to visit WSCC to explore skill clusters and the Skills for Success framework. These essential skills include Technology Literacy, Collaboration and Global Thinking, Communication, Critical Thinking, Ethical Citizenship, and more.

Oceana Community Foundation partners awards $59,000 in its Spring Community Grant Round!

Together with donor-advised fundholders, Oceana Community Foundation recently awarded $58,925 to 19 local nonprofits, schools, and government agencies. While awards were divided among projects supporting the arts, education/youth, community development, and environment management, the greatest area of need was access to health and human services with a focus on family welfare and food accessibility. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees and staff would like to thank each grant applicant, fundholder, and volunteer that made its Spring Community Grant Round a success!

Oceana Community Foundation hiring an Outreach Coordinator in partnership with AmeriCorps

Oceana Community Foundation is excited to announce that there is an open AmeriCorps position. Perfect for someone at any stage in their career, the Foundation’s AmeriCorps member will play a vital role in its communications, marketing, event management, and database management. As a member of the Foundation’s office in Pentwater, you’ll gain professional experience in nonprofits and community development, and make a big impact in our community as our Outreach Coordinator. An Outreach Coordinator position has become increasingly important in this time to ensure connectedness within our community to make Oceana a stronger, healthier, and more vibrant place to live.

Electric Forest Music Festival invests $25,000 into Community, Arts, Music, and Preservation Projects in Oceana County

The Electric Forest Music Festival focuses on creating collaborative change in Oceana County through its charitable give-back programs. As part of its EF Michigan CAMP Project, the Electric Forest Charitable Fund inspired a collective effort to provide $14,500 in new instruments to Hart, Hesperia, Montague, Shelby and Pentwater bands by providing a lead gift of $10,000. Additional investments from the Electric Forest Charitable Fund include a $10,000 grant to sponsor recycling containers in the new Shelby Township Community Park and a $5,000 contribution towards the installation of the City of Hart’s Tin Man sculpture.

Oceana Community Foundation awards over $323,000 in scholarships – a new record!

Congrats and best wishes to the class of 2023! The Oceana Community Foundation is excited to support 197 new and renewing students and five Complete Your Degree adult scholarship recipients as they pursue higher education. The Foundation’s scholarship program continues to grow to better meet our graduates’ interests in post-secondary education. This year’s program surpassed last year’s record amount with a total of $323,545 in 280 awards from 60 different scholarship funds! Recognizing the value in long-term support for students pursuing higher education, over a third (38%) of this year’s awards are renewable in future years including Hart Public Schools Robert E. Diman Scholarship, Shelby Rotary Club Scholarship, Michael W. Malburg Sr. Memorial Scholarship, and more.

Foundation hosts 3rd Annual Migrant Child Task Force Donation Drive

As summer begins, the Oceana Community Foundation is pleased to launch our 3rd annual donation drive for the Oceana’s Michigan Migrant Child Task Force. The Foundation is collecting donations of new hygiene items, children’s books and toys, and more to share with West Michigan’s migrant farmworkers and their families. Each item donated is directly going to a family via the Migrant Child Task Force’s Camp Outreach events!

Oceana Community Foundation Receives National Standards Accreditation

Oceana Community Foundation is pleased to announce that it recently received accreditation with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations in January 2023. Achieving National Standards Accreditation was a crucial part of the Foundation's transition to becoming an independent community foundation, as the optional certification is a symbol of integrity and best practices within the charitable giving community. National Standards Accreditation ensures that the Foundation has policies in place for financial stability and longevity, affirming its continued commitment to its donors, grantees, and community.

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