Donors & Funds

Jack Laucher Outdoor education fund

Jackson B. Laucher was an educator at Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District (Char-Em ISD) who believed that all children can benefit from an outdoor experience.   Upon Jack’s passing in 1998, his wife and sons established the Jack Laucher Outdoor Education Fund in his honor.  The purpose of the Fund is to provide outdoor camp opportunities to children within the Char-Em ISD so that the student may gain a sense of success and accomplishment, have the opportunity to develop new interests and skills, and enhance skills that can carry over into other areas of the student’s life.

Jack chose to work with children who faced physical and educational challenges. He believed that nature and outdoor experiences can strengthen us physically and increase our self-confidence.   As a tribute to his life’s work, the Fund established in his name has helped dozens of young people with financial scholarships to an array of camps, such as Camp Hayo-Went-Ha, Camp Daggett, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Bay Cliff Health Camp, and Jack’s Place Autism Camp.  Family, friends, and colleagues support the Fund so that this good work can continue.  The Jack Laucher Outdoor Education Fund is a gift left by an educator who believed that “children are our greatest gift and hope for the future.” 


Ethel Coeling 


Leaving a Lasting Legacy

Ethel Coeling may have been raised in the tiny town of Ellsworth, but there was nothing small about her view of the world. A physical therapist and 30-year Army veteran, Ethel lived and worked in many interesting, exotic places -- from the European continent to the South Pacific islands -- gathering friends and a lifetime of unusual experiences.


Still, when she retired, she returned to our community and the Lake Michigan woods she loved -- keeping active by volunteering at the Charlevoix Library, and working out at the community pool.  When it was time to update her estate plan, Ethel talked to her attorney about doing something philanthropic. The idea of giving close to home, rather than to a large, national charity appealed to her, and when she heard about the Community Foundation, she liked what she learned.


"There are so many local programs worthy of support," Ethel said, "and the Community Foundation offers so many options." Ethel decided to establish a donor advised fund, and the Community Foundation helped by handling the transfer of appreciated stock and all the paperwork. Soon after, Ethel began to help distribute grants from that fund -- helping kids take lessons at the community pool, and expanding educational programs in the Ellsworth school.


When Ethel passed away in 2003, her estate plan provided generously for the areas she cared about most, establishing the Environmental Fund and funds to support the Charlevoix Library, Ellsworth Schools, Charlevoix Area Community Pool. Now, this world traveler will continue to make waves, right here in her home community. Best of all, her love of learning will carry on in future generations of local children.




The Stowe Family

Investing in the future of Boyne City

Is it possible to do what you love all the time? The Stowes think it is.

After spending so many weekends in the area skiing, boating, and having fun, Mike and his wife Judy ("Ralph") decided to consolidate work and fun and make the move north. Mike relocated his business from southeast Michigan to Boyne City, bought a house, and he and Ralph settled in. That was more than 20 years ago -- and his life has been good ever since.

The business took off, the Stowes became avid winter and summer sports enthusiasts, and eager supporters of almost any Boyne City civic, economic, educational, or enrichment project. When the family wanted to share their success with the town they love, the Community Foundation was a natural choice.

“Giving through the Community Foundation is more effective than what our family could do on our own," Mike explains. "We could never afford the time and energy it takes to do the accounting required of a private family foundation. But by setting up our fund in the Community Foundation, we can achieve the same results."

The Stowe Family Fund is set up as a donor advised fund. Mike and Ralph, involved in community activities, stay on top of local needs and make good use of their fund's grantmaking assets. What's more, they've involved upcoming generations of the family in charitable giving too, entrusting a portion of their charitable capital to their children and grandchildren.

"I think of this as an investment in the future of my community," Mike says. "If enough of us do this, we can make positive changes in our area and have a lasting impact."

(When Leona Stowe passed away in December, 2010, the community lost a dear friend who touched the lives of many.)


The Shermans 

Helping their hometown be the best it can be

The Sherman brothers -- Ted, Bill, and Bob -- moved to East Jordan more than 45 years ago when their parents purchased an orchard in the area. Over the years, the family business grew to include more orchards and processing plants, eventually becoming Burnette Foods. The local company -- the largest family-owned food processor of its type in the state -- now distributes Michigan cherries, apples, and other local fruits and vegetables all over the country.


But, while their foods are known far and wide, the Shermans continue to make their homes here, where they remain loyal East Jordan boosters who are keenly interested in seeing their hometown prosper.


As owners of a successful business, the brothers knew they had the capacity to make charitable gifts -- but they lacked the time to oversee their own private foundation and manage the demands of on-going philanthropic requests. In the local Community Foundation, they found a way to channel their giving, fulfill their ideals, and handle the administrative work.


Each brother made a gift of cash to begin their family's donor advised fund.  Since 1996, when the fund began, the Sherman Family Fund has supported a variety of beautification and improvement projects in East Jordan, and contributed to other initiatives that benefit East Jordan residents.


Says Bob Sherman, "There are many benefits to giving this way, not the least of which is the tax advantage. Setting up a fund is very easy, and you have the opportunity to recommend just where you want your charitable dollars to go. We established this fund so our kids could learn about philanthropy and participate... and we hope some day, they'll continue our example."


Joe & Marilyn Reed

Beaver Island boosters benefit the place they now call home

For more than 30 years, Beaver Island has been a special haven for the Reeds. Looking for a place to relax and enjoy family time, Chicago area residents Joe and Marilyn first bought a small cottage, then built a new home on the north shore, where they're now happily retired. Three generations of the Reed clan gather regularly on the Emerald Isle for holidays, birthdays, and summer vacations -- and the Reeds can't think of a better way to spend family time.


A past trustee of the Community Foundation, Joe believes wholeheartedly in the concept of giving back to the place he loves. When some stock that he and Marilyn had purchased a few years back reached an all-time high, Joe seized the opportunity to make a charitable move. Transferring the appreciated stock to the Community Foundation, the Reeds helped establish the Beaver Island Enrichment Fund.


Since then other Beaver Island residents and vacationers have followed their lead, and the fund has grown considerably. The Fund is used to benefit civic projects for the Island community, promote innovative programs, and respond to changing needs on the beautiful Lake Michigan archipelago.


"Rather than leave money for a specific project, Marilyn and I have chosen this Enrichment Fund as a way to support the things that Beaver Island people believe are important over time," Joe explains.  Their kids agree. "They fully support our leaving a legacy to the Island," says Marilyn. "They know that, in providing for Beaver Island's future, we're protecting a part of their future, and their children's future, too."




Jeff & Anne Miller

Summer residents remember Charlevoix year 'round

Five generations of the Miller family summered in Charlevoix, starting with Jeff's grandmother, continuing through Anne and Jeff's six children and thirteen grandchildren. This community left an impression on the Millers and they in turn left a legacy here.

Jeff and Anne made their home in Baltimore, where Jeff was a curator at the Smithsonian.  It was in Maryland that the Millers first learned about community foundations, and why they decided to become donors to the Charlevoix County Community Foundation. "We like the idea of building up the local foundation here, since it's a place that's so meaningful to our family," explained Anne in 2002.  The Millers started a donor advised fund, a tool that allows the donors to have a say in deciding what kinds of issues their grants will address.

Jeff and Anne encouraged both summer and year-round residents to give to the Community Foundation: "Everyone's help is needed.  There's no better way to become part of this wonderful community," Jeff said.  When Jeff passed away in 2005 and Anne ten years later, their daughter Pam Himmelrich continued their tradition of charitable giving in Charlevoix County through the donor advised fund named for her parents.

“While enjoying its many summer pleasures, our parents also recognized that all cities, even small ones like Charlevoix, face challenges,” shared Pam. “It was important for them to be a part of the community and to do their share to keep Charlevoix County vibrant and strong. Over the years, our parents’ giving reflected their interests:  water and land conservation, the Historical Society, family and children services, health care, library services and the arts.  When a special request was brought to their attention, they did their best to respond.  The Charlevoix County Community Foundation has been, and continues to be, a perfect partner in these charitable efforts, highlighting pressing needs and guiding and advising on best practices. Now it is our children and grandchildren who won’t let a summer go by without a Charlevoix visit.  This love of place is now in its fourth generation.  We are proud to follow our family’s example of community involvement, generosity, and unabashed affection for Charlevoix-the-Beautiful, a truly magical place.”


Wally Klein 


Staying Involved

Wally Klein spends her summers in Charlevoix—and when she decided to establish a fund in the community foundation, she appropriately named it The Summer Fund. Known for her civic involvement and volunteerism, Wally has a variety of interests, ranging from art to health. By creating a donor advised fund, she can help decide what kinds of programs and projects to support each year, play a role in the grantmaking process, and conduct most of her charitable giving through one convenient channel. Many donors like Wally find a donor advised fund is an efficient, tax-wise alternative to creating a private foundation.










The Hanna Family Fund 

Philanthropy that Fits

Tom and Ann Hanna have found a way to perform good works that fits their personal finances and philanthropic interests.  The Hanna Family Fund, a donor advised fund, allows them to be active humanitarians and help choose what programs and cause their grants will support.


“We were really excited when we learned about the advantages of giving through a donor advised fund,” says Tom, a former community foundation trustee and retired general manager of this area's electrical co-op. “It opened up a whole new way of looking at charitable giving.”


Among the features that most attracted the Hannas: simplicity and flexibility. “This fund offers so many opportunities to help others down the road and gives everyone in our family a chance to participate.”


For the time being, the Hannas plan to focus their fund's grantmaking in the Charlevoix area, where they make their home. But they're open to other possibilities too. “In the future, we hope our fund can help leverage gifts from others,” explains Ann, “so we can accomplish even more.” Over the years, the Hannas expect to continue to add to their fund, eventually endowing it permanently. Grown sons, Tim and Chris, are already on board, learning about the philanthropic fund too—so the Hanna Family Fund will help the community for generations to come.




East Jordan Rotary Opportunity Scholarship Fund

helping  kids  excel

John Smith, a teacher and school superintendent before retirement, knew the importance of a good education and the value of investing in young people.  A modest and humble man, John quietly supported numerous projects to benefit East Jordan kids over the years.


In 2005, his generosity led him to establish a $500,000 scholarship fund within the Community Foundation. Each year, the East Jordan Rotary Opportunity Scholarship Fund provides several scholarships to overlooked but hardworking students who graduate from East Jordan High School. Scholars are selected on several criteria, which John helped to establish, including financial need, school attendance, motivation, and potential to succeed.  The scholarship is renewable for up to four years if the student shows progress and has passing grades.


When John passed away in 2016, his estate enriched the Fund and will allow for a greater number of students to receive this valuable four-year scholarship.  This is exactly the kind of impact he imagined and a fitting tribute to a man so devoted to the education of the next generation.









Charlevoix Area Humane Society 

Caring for our Furry Friends

Are you an animal lover? Lots of people around here are—making a place in their home and heart for a dog, cat, or other little critter—and making an effort to shelter and care for those furry friends who are still waiting for a family.


Supporters of the Charlevoix Area Humane Society have worked hard over the years to improve their facilities for homeless animals, to educate our community about becoming loving capable pet owners, and to promote the adoption of puppies and kitties of every breed.


Several years ago, supporters created two funds that help the local Humane Society carry out its work. One fund is endowed, so it can serve long-term needs of the organization and help expand programs; the other is available to take care of immediate necessities and supplement ongoing operational costs. The newest fund, the Rylie Memorial Animal Care Fund, helps provide support for veterinary and animal care services for companion animals of residents of Charlevoix County.


Now, those who want to make the world a little better for our four-legged friends can do so with a gift to any of the funds. Wags and purrs are sure to follow.