Each year in October, our grant committee visits some of our grantees in person. In addition to viewing their programs, we learn about their accomplishments, challenges, and plans for the future. This year we visited Gaylord Little League, Gaylord Middle School, New Life Pregnancy Resource Center, North Ohio Elementary School, and The Conservation District Demonstration Garden. We saw first-hand how your donations are helping local nonprofit organizations evolve and expand their impact!

Gaylord Little League / Field Upgrades

This grant provided funding to bring in topsoil, grass seed, fertilizer, and weed control to update fields and also replace broken aluminum bleachers. These upgrades were much needed as league enrollment has grown enormously post-pandemic with over 400 athletes participating last season.

This program was funded by: Cwik Holly by Golly Fund*, Kuehlenthal-Beyer Family Fund*, Youth Fund*, Otsego County United Way, Skerratt Family Fund*, COVID19 Response Fund*

South Maple Elementary / Peddling For Wellness

This grant was used to purchase bicycles to support the “Peddling for Wellness” initiative benefitting countless students at Gaylord Middle School and Gaylord Intermediate School.

Physical activity is known to be a key factor for the prevention and management of mental disorders like anxiety and depression, in addition to the benefit of overall good health and well-being. However, most school-aged children do not meet the CDC’s recommendation for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical daily activity. Therefore, students are missing out on a valuable strategy for keeping their mental health in good shape.

Through collaboration with White Birch Outfitters, 40 low-maintenance, durable bicycles were purchased that can be adjusted to fit a wide range of students, promoting physical activity and mental wellness for all.

This program was funded by: The Drzewiecki Agency, Rotary Club of Gaylord Fund*, Hees Family Fund*, Youth Fund*, Deerfield Computer Associates Fund*, Otsego County United Way, Munson Healthcare OMH

Ezra – Gaylord Middle School Student

North Ohio Elementary / Preschool Playground

This grant was used to purchase preschool-rated and age-appropriate playground equipment and surfacing for North Ohio Elementary (NOE) school so the preschool students would have their own early childhood safety-approved play structures. Prior to this grant, there was nothing safe the preschool children could play on or with except for a sandbox. Now all NOE students – including the K-3 students, the After School Care children, and the ALICE family neighborhood children in the community – can play on the equipment.

The project was funded by: The Dr. Patrick J. McNamara Fund*, the Elaine Nowicki Awesome Fund*, Rotary Club of Gaylord, Otsego County United Way, North Ohio PTO, Gaylord Community Schools

Otsego Conservation District / Demonstration Garden Repairs

For 25 years, the Otsego Conservation District has created the Otsego Demonstration Garden as a green space to host educational programs, volunteer opportunities, and community events. This grant was used to restore, refurbish, repair, and renovate the garden space to give it the TLC it truly needs. The demonstration garden has proven over the years to be a remarkable tool to teach about wildlife habitats, reforestation, riparian buffer restoration, horticulture, and utilization of native plants for increased biodiversity for wildlife. The garden has provided a location to educate individuals on skills related to basic plant science and home gardening, which enables them to improve the quality of life in their communities. 

This program was funded by: Cwik Holly by Golly Fund*, Rotary Club of Gaylord Fund*, Kohnert Family Fund*

New Life Pregnancy Resource Center / Administrative Capacity Grant

This grant was used to hire Chloe Cook, programs assistant, to allow expanded offerings in five areas: a fatherhood initiative, in-depth mentoring to moms, reproductive loss recovery, sexual risk avoidance education, and toward increasing community involvement in various efforts.

Our programs have exceeded expectations. The programs have gone from early stages to implementation. Thanks to the Capacity Grant awarded to New Life for the expansion of Chloe’s hours. 

Jennifer VanRyckeghem, Executive Director

This program was funded by: Berkley Kay Payton Fund*, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, Jeff and Lynne Smetzer Fund*

The Otsego Community Foundation manages over 90 charitable funds established by generous individuals, businesses and families that want to give back to Otsego County. From each fund, grants are distributed back to the community based on the charitable intention of the fund. To learn more about the Otsego Community Foundation, visit our website: www.otsegofoundation.org

*of the Otsego Community Foundation