Back to News

Fund Spotlight – Peterson Farms Advised Fund

Peterson Farms opened a new charitable fund with the Community Foundation earlier this year, seeking to support area students, educational programming and other charitable interests for the company. Having supported community events and programs quietly in the past, they are now partnering with the Foundation to help connect the company to more area causes, to streamline their giving and to boost community impact.

An early charitable partner was the Oceana Sheriff’s Office, where they helped to establish the K-9 program. Recently, they have supported the Hunter Education program and free children’s life jackets at the upcoming “Water Safety Day” event on June 15 at the Pentwater Municipal Marina from 11a-2pm. “We know that Peterson Farms is one of the largest employers in our community, but we have found them to also be a caring family business that desires to see great programs be continued,” said Undersheriff Ryan Schiller.

Over the past two years, the company has invested management time and resources to pilot two mentoring programs to help Shelby High School students with goal setting, college/career planning and essential work skills understanding. The mentor programs use the Skills for Success framework, including discussions on communication, critical thinking and personal accountability, as coordinated by the Oceana College Access Network.

They also helped to seed the development of a STEM program at Thomas Read Elementary, enabling the purchase of 3D printers, filament, iPads, Osmo coding products, and headphones.  These new tools allowed school staff to teach students how to use 3D printers, eventually creating products to be sold in the school store. Students also gained experience with Tinker CAD, which is the child version of AutoCAD. “These STEM units have started discussion topics typically not covered until middle or high school, like finance, sales, design, cost & product constraints etc,” explained STEM Teacher Autumn Altmaier.

Recently, the company also decided to add four scholarships to their charitable mix, providing  $1,000 awards each to Natalie Garcia and Ashley Alvarez of Hart and Maria Tomas Juan and Yamilet Millan of Shelby.

Creating an Advised Fund takes $5,000, or the fund minimum can be built up over a period of 5 years, with a starting gift of $1,000. The Foundation will keep partners in the loop about emerging opportunities, critical needs and what’s happening in the community. Annually in the fall, CFOC also surveys nonprofits to collate their needs into a community wish list. Many advisor partners enjoy meeting those wishes from their Funds. Companies can involve its leadership team in giving decisions and can also make giving recommendations reflective of family member interests when family-owned, whether in Oceana County or elsewhere.

You can support Peterson Farm’s Fund, one of the Foundation’s 150+ Funds, or learn more about starting your own named fund here.