Community Grant Program awards $69,352 to local charities

The community grant program is a collaborative effort made possible by local funding partners including  Otsego County Community Foundation, Rotary Club of Gaylord, Kiwanis Club of Gaylord, Otsego Wildlife Legacy Society, Otsego Memorial Hospital and Otsego County United Way.  This unique program, administered by the Otsego County Community Foundation allows nonprofits to complete one grant applications which then is reviewed and considered by all funding partners.

”The Community Grant Program is so very special. This is the only community in the state of Michigan where all the funders meet with grantees to listen to their wants, their needs and their wishes. Uniquely, we all work as a team to create impact in the community. This is a program that should be mimicked by others.” noted Keith Moore, Director of the Otsego County United Way.

This spring thirty-one applications were submitted by area nonprofits asking for a total of $168,000. Working together the funding partners awarded $69,352 to 24 organizations, impacting a variety of fields of interest including youth, health, conservations, human services, education, etc.  throughout Otsego County.

While, $69,352 is an impressive number, numbers are just part of the story. The Community Fund of the Otsego County Community Foundation, the Dr. Patrick J. McNamara Fund of the OCCF, Rotary Club of Gaylord, Otsego County United Way and Otsego Memorial Hospital came together and invested in the Corwith Township playground improvements at the Vanderbilt Gateway Trailhead Park. This development will impact both children and adult that both live in the community and those that are visiting.

“This total grant from the five funding partners will allow Corwith Township and Vanderbilt to expand our plans for a children’s playground into a fitness area for all age groups. This bolsters our Vanderbilt Gateway Trailhead Project plans and makes it an even better project.” said Vern Kassuba, Corwith Township Supervisor.

“One of the things I like about the Community Grant Program is that it allows all of us to be more efficient with our time so we can spend more time “doing” in our community, instead of sitting in multiple meetings. I also like that I’m able to learn about so many of the resources and programs available in our county that I wouldn’t normally hear about!” stated Alison Sklarczyk, Member of Otsego Wildlife Legacy Society.


Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan proposed the Future Fittest on the 45th program. This will improve the physical and mental health of at-risk youth in Otsego County by: reducing the risk of chronic disease, decrease youth violence and bullying and increase emotional and mental health factors.

“The generous financial support that has been given to the Future Fittest on the 45th Program by the 2017 Community Grant Program is genuinely appreciated by Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan.  This imperative financial support will be utilized to purchase the necessary equipment that will be used by participants in order for them to reach their fitness, social, and emotional/mental health goals.  Any remaining funding will be used to financially support the trained staff and coaches that will be overseeing and running the program.  We at Child and Family Services are sincerely grateful for this incredible opportunity to improve the overall health of children within Otsego County and look forward to launching the first sessions in October of 2017!” stated Diana Volant, Lead Therapist with CFS.

Pictured: Chad Volant, Owner Crossfit of Gaylord,  Elijah Yocum, Hannah Johnston and Angela Sharkey, Youth Adversary Committee members and Diana Volant, Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan.


The Youth Advisory Committee was enthusiastic about funding this program. “We decided to fund this grant because of the obvious impact it will have on at-risk youth in the community. The pilot program that the founder of this organization ran was extremely informative and played a huge role in our decision. This program directly addresses some of the most pressing youth needs, that were gathered during a youth needs survey, in Otsego County. We believe that this program will be self-sustainable and it promotes capacity building in our community. We, as a YAC, feel passionately about this program and what it will do for the youth. “noted Anna Torsky, Otsego County Community Foundation Youth Advisory member.


To see a list of 2017 Grantees please click here.