Girls on the Run

Where can girls gain confidence, learn to make healthy choices, and be part of a team? At Girls on the Run, of course. Thanks to grants from the community foundation, more than 40 participants in Boyne City and East Jordan take part in this national after-school program that gets girls, ages 8-13, involved in fun physical fitness as well as confidence-building lessons. “Even girls who don't like to run love Girls on the Run,” says Krystal Birgy, who coaches a GOTR team in East Jordan. “We really see their confidence blossom.” The program uses running games as a vehicle to share the messages of standing up for yourself and others, overcoming obstacles, and setting goals. Running a 5K at the end of the season is the final lesson where the girls can show what they can achieve with diligence and determination.


Youth Scholarships Get Kids Involved in 4-H Programs 

Let's get kicking—or swimming, sailing, or putting! Kids need an outlet, a place to let go and learn new skills. The MSU Extension Charlevoix County 4-H offers numerous activities for pre-K to high school students to have fun, be physically active, and gain valuable leadership and community service skills.

The cost to attend programs is minimal, but still out of reach for some area families. Many hard-working, local people struggle to make ends meet, and extracurricular programs like these are often the first to be cut out of the family budget. Our Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) members find it hard to believe that many of their peers cannot be a part of the programs that have meant so much to their own development. The YAC has granted thousands of dollars to give students access to these wonderful programs, and hundreds of students have received scholarships to participate.

Not only do the programs get rave reviews, but the whole community benefits from kids who are healthy, well-balanced, and actively engaged.


Playgroups--Supporting Kids and Families

What better way to invest in the future than to nurture our children and strengthen our families? Each year, the community foundation directs a good portion of grantmaking to projects that benefit this area's young people.

Take playgroups, for example. These popular sessions held throughout the county bring together caregivers and preschoolers from infancy to age five. Under the tutelage of a trained facilitator, parents learn about child development, age-appropriate activities, positive discipline, and effective communication. Meanwhile, both the adults and toddlers have fun socializing and making new friends. Charlevoix County kids are getting off to a good start. And that's the very best way to build better families and create caring communities.


Environmental Funds

We all agree, Charlevoix County is a special place, worthy of careful stewardship. Where else can you find this amazing mix of beautiful fresh water lakes, pristine streams and rivers, plentiful fields and forests, plus fish, flora, and fauna in such abundance?

For us, nature is right outside the door—and most people who live here take full advantage of all we have. We fish, hunt, hike, bike, climb, ski, snowboard, sail, paddle, search for morels, watch birds, collect stones, and just plain enjoy our surroundings.

Several funds here at the community foundation are helping to preserve our environmental resources and protect our fragile ecosystems—among them, the Ethel Coeling Environmental Fund and the Lake Charlevoix Watershed Fund.

The projects these funds support are many and varied, and include everything from boater education programs, land conservation, sediment studies, new stream crossings, water surveys and river clean-ups and more. Environmental and Land Use Advisory Committee is a group of professionals with expertise in the field who meet regularly to help the community foundation evaluate grant proposals and make distribution recommendations from the funds. 


Baroque on Beaver 

The sweet sound of music can now be heard year-round on the Emerald Isle. The popular Baroque on Beaver chamber music festival began several years ago as a summer program on Beaver Island, hosting a series of concerts played by adults and students in venues on the waterfront and in gardens and gatherings around the island. The group became an official 501c3 nonprofit organization in 2006, known as the Beaver Island Cultural Arts Association. Every year the events keep getting better, and the organization is now active year-round, hosting concerts at the Beaver Island Cultural Center and funding programs for the Beaver Island Community Schools. The events are vital cultural and social gatherings for the entire community, and the community foundation has been there from the beginning, providing grants and encouraging growth. Through the years, thousands have enjoyed the orchestra and choral selections, string quartets, soloists, and more. Play on!