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Strengthening Oceana Nonprofit Leaders

Six more Oceana nonprofit leaders have been selected by the Community Foundation for Oceana County (CFOC) to attend an eight-month Leadership Learning Lab. This is the second cohort invited to participate in the series as part of a three-year program.

Facilitated by NorthSky Nonprofit Network, the Leadership Learning Lab seeks to connect and empower nonprofit leaders and give them the skills to strengthen the organizations and communities they serve. The monthly workshops are held at the Lakeshore Resource Center in Ludington in partnership with the Manistee Community Foundation’s selected nonprofit leaders. This regional initiative will allow participants to create a network of other leaders to build relationships, share challenges and learn from one another.

Funded by the Frey Foundation and the Oceana & Manistee Community Foundations, the Leadership Learning Lab aligns with the Foundations’ strategic efforts to support capacity building among local nonprofits. Oceana’s grant support came from the Foundation’s Community Investment Fund. “The Lab was born out of the collaboration of 11 northern Michigan community foundations that recognized we could do more together than separately. And, generous funders that wanted to invest in a new way of empowering communities.  The feedback I’ve received from last year’s cohort and this year’s group already is very powerful. Honestly, I’m still pinching myself at the opportunity to help grow our nonprofit leaders. It’s been on my bucket list for years!” said Oceana Foundation Director Tammy Carey.

The emerging leaders in Oceana County are Tiffany Haight, Emma Kirwin, Rob Widigan, Julie Krelick, Maggie Bowman, and Catalina Burillo.

Tiffany Haight is attending on behalf of the Shelby Area District Library, where she has served as the Library Director for the last seven years. She also is the incoming President for the Shelby Rotary Club and serves as Shelby Chamber of Commerce Secretary. “At the time I took over as library director, I had minimal professional training and more hands-on training. I welcome the opportunity to acquire new skills, learn about innovative ideas and meet others in the nonprofit sector,” said Tiffany.

Emma Kirwin is attending on behalf of the Walkerville Thrives, where she has served as the Vice President for the last two years. She also is the Leavitt Township Supervisor.  She hopes to develop community development skills to move along needed projects, like a Walkerville Community Center at the former elementary school building. “If you are active in a small community, you wear many hats. My main interest in this leadership training is to learn how to bring our ideas to life,” said Emma.

Rob Widigan is attending on behalf of the Village of Shelby. Rob serves as the as Shelby Village Administrator and sits on the Oceana County Economic Alliance Board of Directors. He hopes to develop skills to help his team work collaboratively with the Council and community organizations to achieve common goals. “As someone new to Oceana County, and new to the world of municipal management, I am interested in the Leadership Learning Lab to help me become a more adaptive leader, and harden my focus on facilitating positive change throughout the Shelby area,” said Rob.

Julie Krelick is attending on behalf of Hart Main Street, where she has served as the Director for two and a half years. She understands that successful coordination of the Main Street program requires her to attract and nurture the leadership of others. Creating meaning relationships with other organizations in the region is another benefit. “In our sparsely populated rural area, utilizing shared resources can serve to strengthen all involved, and grow their ability to attract and nurture the leadership of others,” said Julie.

Maggie Bowman is attending on behalf of Love INC for Oceana County, where she has served as the Clearinghouse Coordinator for the past year. She is hoping to learn how to be part of the long-term vision for the agency towards sustaining programs.  “I have many questions that I’m grappling with and while answers may not improve our organization tomorrow or next week, the organization desires to stay relevant to the changes and needs of our community,” said Maggie.

Catalina Burillo is attending on behalf of the Health Project, where she has served as the Community Health Improvement Coordinator for the last three years. As a community health improvement coordinator, she leads two coalitions and serves as an acting member and officer on many others. “My interaction and collaboration with community members and stakeholders occur daily. The skills that I obtain and sharpen through this Lab will benefit my role with my employer and in the community,” said Catalina.

The Foundation envisions an Oceana where everyone has access to resources to thrive. It receives and manages contributions from citizens and organizations and has provided over 6 million in grants and scholarships back to the community since 1989.  More information can be obtained by calling Tammy Carey at 231-861-8335 or following the Facebook page.