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Tis the Giving Season

As the holiday giving season approaches, the Community Foundation for Oceana County (CFOC) is highlighting five tax-deductible ways that individuals, couples, families, businesses, clubs, and groups of co-workers can benefit others here. And, in four cases have their gifts be doubled.

“I often hear of instances where families, or co-workers in a business, want to — as a group — do something nice during the holidays to benefit others,” said CFOC Executive Director Tammy Carey, “so they get together and decide to write personal checks to a particular cause.  I hope people reading this will take the idea back to their families or into their place of work.”

The first pair of giving suggestions is a repeat of last year’s successful effort by an anonymous Oceana County resident who pledged as much as $25,000 to match aggregate contributions to either the Oceana Foundation Administrative Fund, the Community Investment Fund, or both.  The Administrative Fund enables the Foundation to help lead critical work across the county — such as the Healthy Oceana Initiative to increase access to and consumption of healthy foods; and the Read Early, Read Often initiative to encourage reading to babies and  toddlers. The Community Investment Fund enables the Foundation to channel financial help to critical, unmet needs that suddenly arise.

“Only 2% of our Foundation’s $10 million in total assets is available for our trustees to donate to such purposes,” added Carey, “so we can only meet a fraction of the requests for funding that we receive. We’re really trying to boost these funds and provide a new level of service to Oceana citizens.  Last year, we surpassed our $25,000 contributions-matching goal when $31,000 was actually contributed.  So our ‘mystery donor’ has generously stepped forward once again with another up to $25,000 match of contributions made before the end of this year,” said Carey.  “We are really excited and hope that everyone will help us to again exceed this goal.”

The second matching grant suggestion is triggered by the Kresge Foundation’s desire to spark contributions to the Oceana College Access Network (Oceana CAN!), which helps ensure that all Oceana students have the resources and mindset to pursue and complete higher education after high school.  This includes certificate programs, trade schools, community and four-year colleges.  Kresge is matching $25,000 in gifts, dollar for dollar, to the Oceana CAN! program. This effort received an added boost when the Pennies from Heaven Foundation stepped in to help close the remaining dollars needed to reach the overall goal. Pennies offered an $8,250 match to help get the program the rest of the way to the goal. “We have received donations from Shelby State Bank and the J.T. Sackett Memorial Fund already, leaving us only $6,750 to go. We are so close,” said Alyssa Merten, Oceana CAN! Coordinator.

The last matching opportunity is to help meet the private funding required to pay for the $12 million construction project at the Oceana County Medical Care Facility. This project will build 75 new private suite care rooms, create a dedicated short-term rehabilitation unit, add a new centralized state-of-the-art dining facility and remodel two resident care wings, including the conversion of some shared to private care rooms. Total campaign gifts and pledges to-date are $153,000, leaving a gap of approximately $550,000. “We are very excited to announce a challenge match of $275,000 by community members Jean Russell and Bob Childers to raise the necessary funds to complete the project. All gifts up to $275,000 will be matched dollar for dollar through the end of 2017, and can be pledged over a period of 5 years,” said Carey.

To support one or more of these four CFOC named funds, one can write a personal check payable to Community Foundation for Oceana County.  Be sure to indicate the name(s) of the fund(s) to be supported.  Mail the check to P.O. Box 367, Shelby, MI 49455.  Contributions also can be charged to a personal credit card by logging onto and then typing in the fund name.

The last suggestion for year-end holiday givers involves CFOC’s annual “Wish List” project.  “We annually ask area nonprofits serving Oceana to list near term projects and purchases that can only be achieved if enough specific financial support can be attracted,” explained Carey.  Nineteen community organizations responded with their “wishes,” and CFOC has now posted them on its Website at  to help get out the word.  The wishes are divided into three categories – those costing less than $400, $500-$1,500 and over $1,500.

“This is perfect for holiday donors who want their financial gifts to have a positive impact right away,” Carey emphasized.  “Check out the wish lists and contact the nonprofit directly if you see something you’d like to support.  Just let the nonprofit know that you saw their wish posted on our Website.”