We are so thankful for each and every one of you who helped make this year’s Extreevaganza a record-breaking event, raising over $82,000. We would have loved to have been with you all in person but we hope this alternative was truly a celebration of all that we as a community have been able to accomplish together during this challenging year.  

Your generosity will ensure the mission of the OCF – which is to activate generosity for a strong community – is ready for whatever 2021 might bring: responding to emergencies, awarding proactive grants, expanding leadership opportunities and securing matching funds to leverage resources from outside our community, for our community.

During the night of Extreevaganza, we had a special grant making activity that helped some of those hit hardest by COVID-19 by Stuffing their Stockings to help make their Christmas wishes come true. In total, over $6,500 was raised for these programs.

Northern Michigan Veterans Coalition, with a mission to create awareness about the needs and benefits available to veterans and their families by promoting communication, coordination, and collaboration. By video, Wendy VanDoloski told more about a special project to help veterans as they transition out of homelessness.

Gaylord Area Council for the Arts, with a mission to nurture and promote a creative community by facilitating, sharing and encouraging individual expression through the arts. “I have been very impressed with their innovation during quarantine, from virtual concerts supporting local musicians, to online classes and community projects, as well as a leadership transition. Arts and Culture are crucial to a vital community,” stated Dana Bensigner, OCF executive director. Their fabulous new executive director, Lisa Tobin, shared what was on their wish list.

During the first shutdown in March when businesses that have supported us for years were forced to close their doors, we created a reverse sponsorship program in partnership with our good friends at the Otsego County United Way.  We called it HUGS: Help Us Give-back to Servers. $22,000 was shared with employees of local businesses in the form of gift cards. Now with a second wave of shutdowns, we want to do another round of HUGS. At the event, Gary Kosh shared what this program meant for him and his team.

Thank you to all who joined us.  We appreciated your patience as we navigated a virtual event. This community continues to shine in the generosity department; from the corporate partners, donors, committee volunteers, OCF board of directors (who cautiously and carefully made event decisions), and finally you! We are so grateful to you for joining our efforts to Give. Recover. And Thrive. Merry Christmas!