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Nonprofits and community initiatives that benefit from the Community Foundation for Oceana County (CFOC) will be stronger in 2018 thanks to area people channeling their desire to help others through the Foundation.

“One of the most exciting parts of my job is seeing contributors come forward in the last few months of each year as the holiday giving season approaches. Feels like Christmas every day!” said CFOC executive director Tammy Carey.  The Community Foundation is home to over 135 charitable funds created by individuals, couples, families and organizations. You can give today, or plan to leave a gift in the future, in any amount, to any of our existing funds. Or with a gift of $5,000 ($10,000 for scholarships), you can start a named fund of your own.

Giving stock that’s grown in value motivates some to donate it to CFOC.  One member of the Pentwater Service Club recently donated appreciated stock to the Pentwater Service Club charitable Fund that’s under the CFOC umbrella.  The gift boosts the Fund’s assets by one-third. “I’m not trying to draw any attention to myself, but rather to how the Club supports the area,” said the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous.  “We raise funds by selling brats and popcorn each summer on the Village Green, but donating stock to our Fund also helps the Service Club support local causes.”  And, by giving stock a contributor can realize a double tax savings bonus – no capital gains taxes are paid on the appreciated value and your gift reduces your taxable income at the full value of the donated stock. “The investment market is very strong right now and folks are realizing a terrific way to make a generous charitable gift” added Carey.

Another anonymous area donor recently made a provision in her will to support causes that reflect her approach to life.  She is setting aside a portion of her estate for a future charitable fund under the CFOC portfolio.  It’s called “Flora, Fauna and Friends,” and it will support causes important to her – those that support peace, land conservancy, animals, and the greatest needs of Oceana County.  Her Fund will continue the annual charitable donations she likes to make each December, forever. Added Carey, “This kind & modest lady told me she hasn’t done anything extraordinary in her life, except maybe drive to my office on the slippery roads to sign some documents. We respectfully disagree. She is helping to build the future of Oceana County!”

In Hart, the JT Sackett Memorial Fund recently donated $1,500 to replace upstairs windows in Harbor House, which provides a port for refuge, supply and hope for at-risk girls.  The Harbor House board started an endowment fund with the Foundation this year to provide a long-term source of funding. The family-centered agency provides the girls with emotional stability, teaches life skills, surrounds them with positive community interaction, and touches their lives with the love of God.

In early 2017, the Shelby Rotary Club decided to transfer an investment account into the Foundation, created by a significant estate gift 15 years ago by former rotarians Clarence & Catherine Theilman. “We already had a scholarship fund with the Foundation, but decided to also establish an advised fund that utilized the expertise of two local partners – the Foundation and SSB Financial to handle the investment management,” said Rotary President Mishelle Comstock.  The Club gives to charitable causes throughout the County like student camp experiences, community projects, various nonprofit programs like Maxine’s Closet and Trinity Lutheran Community Pantry, scholarships and Rotary International programs, including student exchange.

In Pentwater, resident Gail Sobecki started the Sobecki Family Memorial Fund to honor her late husband.  “Richard always believed in helping others and in giving back,” said Gail.  “He was especially passionate about Scouting because of the values it instills in young men, like our mildly autistic grandson, Logan.  At the funeral home, Logan went up to the casket, put his hand on Richard’s shoulder and said, ‘I will become an Eagle Scout and make you proud.’”  Gail added, “Children with special needs are close to our family’s hearts, and we hope to help other children become competent, productive, caring adults, and that Richard’s legacy of ‘giving back’ will continue.”

Sometimes people want to impact their local area but aren’t sure how to make it happen. Marge Sidwell Gregg of Silver Lake decided to change an estate plan designation from a national charity to the Oceana Community Foundation. “But then she realized she could also create her own charitable FUN account now,” Carey said.  Ms. Gregg started an advised fund under the CFOC umbrella to support projects of interest to her. Meanwhile her estate gift will continue her legacy of giving to all her favorite causes, forever.

Other new CFOC Funds created this year include the Oceana County Habitat for Humanity Fund, Pentwater Township Library Fund, Pentwater Beautification Project Fund, Read early, Read often Operating Fund, Ryan Walsworth Memorial Fund, Richard & Carole Tompkins Fund and the Paul and Katherine “Kate” Lound Shelby Library Fund. “There are so many ways one can engage with our Foundation to channel their philanthropic interests,” Carey added.  “Let’s start a conversation.”  More information is found at the Foundation facebook page, or by calling Carey at 231.861.8335.