How did your generosity impact the community?

Learn how your investment into the Community Fund is touching lives with these six compelling stories.

Grantee: The Rufuge of Otsego County

Program: The Refuge

Homeless and cold…where do you go?

The Refuge of Otsego County offers the adult homeless guests a warm, safe overnight shelter, a warm meal and compassion.  Within the walls they offer peace. Within that peace lies hope. This organization is made up of a coalition of volunteers with the commitment from the community, area churches, and businesses to provide safe accommodations in Otsego County seven days a week, November through April. Last year the Refuge was full every night. The Refuge has a guest book and written within the pages was this note “Thanks for the great food, warm bed, roof over our heads, shower and even better..fellowhip.

“If it wasn’t for what the Otsego County Community Foundation does for us we wouldn’t be able to do what we do for the homeless” noted Kelly Korson. “The OCCF and their funds are literary saving lives.”

Supported by the Community Fund, Dr. Patrick J. McNamara Fund, Ron Chavey Fellowhip Fund, Albie’s Fund and the Deerfield Computer Associates Fund of the Otsego County Community Foundation.


Grantee: Children’s Bereavement Network

Program: Camp Live, Laugh, Love

Camp Live, Laugh, Love is for children ages 7-16 grieving the death of a significant loved one in their life. This camp is free, because of donations from caring people in our communities.  A loving group of trained professionals and volunteers have come together to help children realize that “IN LIFE THERE IS HOPE”

Quotes from campers:


                                                         Now when I think of my loved one I….

                                                          “Think about all the good times we’ve had together.”

                                                           “Am calm and happy that I think about her.”

                                                         “I think of how he would what me to live on for him rather than be bad because                                                              of  him.”

                                                         “I feel free and I can think of her without crying.’

                                                        “I am not so angry anymore, and it’s OK to let them go.’

                                                        “The people at this camp are not here for money, but they are here for helping                                                                  like us.’

Supported by the Scott and Janice Lampert Fund, the Youth Fund of the Otsego County Community Foundation, Gornick Fund and Kiwanis Club of Gaylord.


Grantee: Huron Pines

Project: Huron Pines/Vanderbilt Area School Place-Based Stewardship Education

The purpose of the project is to implement place-based stewardship education (PBSE) efforts at Vanderbilt Area School (VAS). PBSE has been proven to increase student performance and results in long term investment in their community. The school will implement PBSE by providing opportunity for student led stewardship projects in the community and by increasing use of the 110-acre school forest. The school forest will be developed into an outdoor classroom for students and a recreation area for community members.  Using the school forest as a platform for PBSE efforts will provide opportunity for increased student involvement in the community and an engagement with the surrounding area’s natural resources. By making the school forest more accessible and usable, the community will see the benefits of increased recreational opportunity which leads to greater physical and mental health.

Vanderbilt High School Junior Noah Synder stated “Nature is cool! This project will be impactful to all students for years to come. Learning about our environment while literary walking and sitting in the environment will make education fun.”

Supported by the Community Fund, Dr. Patrick J McNamara Fund and the Youth Fund of the Otsego County Community Foundation, Otsego County United Way

Grantee: Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan

Program: Future Fittest on the 45th

 This unique program 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.

“Using both exercise and counseling together to improve the overall health of at-risk children we at Child and Family Services will strive for the youth to gain confidence and self-assurance” stated Diana Volant, Lead Therapist with CFS. “This program will help them overcome issues that have been taking their lives in a downward spiral”. “This program makes me feel good about myself and I’m starting to feel empowered and in control of my life” said participate Mia.

The Youth Advisory Committee is 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. This program directly addresses some of the most pressing youth needs, which were gathered during a youth needs survey notability: bullying, suicide, self-esteem, and body image..” noted Anna Torsky, Otsego County Community Foundation Youth Advisory member.

Supported by the Community Fund, Patrick J McNamara Fund, Youth Fund and the Scott and Janice Lampert Fund of the Otsego County Community Foundation.


Grantee: Cheboygan, Otsego and Presque Isle School District

Program: Great Start Preschool Scholarships

Every year there are children who are not able to attend preschool programs due to their parent’s financial limitations: They make too much to qualify for free preschool, yet their income limits their ability to pay for preschool.  This year because of the the partnership grants seven children are attending preschool.

That number is equivalent to approximately 25% of a future kindergarten class. Furthermore, because the preschools are all located in Otsego County, these funds stay with the county supporting both families, and the business sector.

“The scholarships allow children to begin their educational career within a positive, nurturing and thriving learning environment to develop skills that are needed to succeed in school and in life” states Great Start Collaborative Coordinator Melinda Hambleton.  “In addition, while attending preschool, learning disabilities can be found and the students can be connected to resources to help them flourish.

“The scholarship has allowed us to send our son to preschool without the financial burden. He has grown so much already in the first month!” noted a preschool parent.

Supported by: The Community Fund, Dr. Patrick J. McNamara Fund, Youth Fund and the Scott and Janice Lampert Fund of the Otsego County Community Foundation, Otsego County United Way.

Grantee: Patroit Golf Day Shootout

Program: Military Golf League

Treetops Resort introduced a unique and powerful program that benefited the military community, both those still in active service or veterans.  Using the Scramble, Match Play format has allowed us to create a very inclusive program for our military veterans and actives connecting all ages, genders and skill levels.  Throwing in instruction from our award-winning Director of Instruction, Joe Charles allowed their skills to progress throughout the season as well.” stated Kevin McKinley, PGA and Director of Golf and Ski Operations at Treetops Resort. The program started the 15 week season with 42 individuals and by the end of the season that number was up to 56. Those that attended felt the this program had their backs and gave them the opportunity to interact with those that have lived through the same circumstances.

“ I believe that whenever veterans get together it is a good thing.  When we do, we talk about things with other veterans that we just do not talk about with non-veterans.  Talking about our military days helps us put to rest memories that some of us have carried for all our adult lives” noted Jim Steward, Junior Vice-Commander, Gaylord VFW 1518

Supported by the Community Fund, Scott and Janice Lampert Fund, Dr. Patrick J. McNamara Fund and the Treetops Charity Fund of the Otsego County Community Foundation.

These are just a few stories that YOU helped make happen when you invested into the Community Fund.