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Foundation Promotes Philanthropy to Tackle Oceana’s Challenges

<September 12, 2016> Too many Oceana residents face sobering, daily challenges.

Forty percent of households earn less than the basic cost of living.  The jobless rate is always higher than most of Michigan’s 83 counties. Thirty percent of children 17-and-under live in poverty.  One in five births are by moms without a high school diploma or GED.  Three-fourths of school children are eligible for free or reduced price lunches.  In a Robert Wood Johnson ranking of a population’s health, Oceana ranks 67th  (out of 83) in the quality and length of life in Michigan.

There are a number of nonprofit agencies and programs set up to tackle such problems, and the Community Foundation for Oceana County (CFOC) is positioned to help connect resources to needs.

With these sobering statistics in mind, trustees of the Foundation recently re-committed to executing several key goals.

“We need to better connect to Oceana’s full-time and seasonal residents , those who love Oceana and come here to enjoy the beauty and abundant natural resources, and local businesses and clubs,” said Tammy Carey, CFOC executive director.  “We need to ‘grow’ more philanthropists.”

“Anyone can make a difference – a community foundation is a place for everyone to help others or support a particular charitable interest,” added Nancy Sterk, board president. “Individuals, couples, families and organizations can make a true, lasting impact by making tax deductible contributions to existing named funds under our Foundation umbrella, or by creating their own named fund.  Another way is to include CFOC in one’s estate planning; 31 individuals and couples have told us they’ve done this, and we’re pleased to recognize their intent by adding their names to our Legacy Society.  It’s hoped that public recognition of their generosity will persuade others to include CFOC in their wills, too.”


There are two important existing CFOC funds that address community issues. The first is the Community Investment Fund, from which help is channeled to critical, unmet needs that suddenly arise in the community.  Two recent Community Investment Fund grants address area challenges, by supporting a success coach for workforce development and the hiring of an AmeriCorps member to develop an early literacy program.  The second is the Administrative Fund, which makes it possible for the Foundation to help lead several important local initiatives like the Oceana College Access Network, Employer Resource Network, and the be nice. mental health program in our schools.

“This fall, we’ll be formally announcing that a generous, anonymous, area donor will once again be contributing $25,000 as a challenge match to inspire others to contribute to either or both of these funds,” said Carey. “In 2015, the donor’s challenge grant didn’t just attract a total of another $25,000, but exceeded the match by 25%, as supported by 81 people and organizations. We hope that this year the community will rally to beat last year’s match contributions. ”

Carey further noted that CFOC just received their first gift towards that match from the Windridge Association along Lake Michigan.