Rod and Michelle Cortright
As an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rod’s career required moves every few years. Rod and Michelle Cortright first lived in Boyne City in the mid-1970s and returned five years later when Rod was hired as County Extension Director with Michigan State University Extension in Charlevoix County. “Destiny, I call it,” says Michelle. “We saw an opportunity to put down our roots in Boyne City and we grasped it.”
More than 30 years later, Rod and Michelle still love Boyne for what initially drew them in: the people, the attitude, and the natural beauty. They have been active in the Boyne area, Rod in planning, zoning, and environmental efforts, and Michelle in business, downtown development, and philanthropy. “All together – when we use our individual talents - we can make a positive difference right here in our community,” says Michelle. “We can see the difference, too,” echoes Rod. The Cortrights believe that they are here to be of service and giving is one way to do that; “plus it is so satisfying to quietly participate and to see the outcomes,” adds Michelle.
Michelle, who owns Harbor House Publishers in Boyne City, has served as a Community Foundation board member, including president, for five years and Rod serves on the Environmental Advisory Committee. They have a donor advised fund, which is a tool for personal philanthropy managed by the Community Foundation. Grant-making through the Community Foundation allows them to include their son, Michael, who returned to Boyne City after college, and gives him the ability to support organizations and projects that he cares about as well. The Community Foundation was a natural choice for the Cortrights “because C3F is at the ground level where other people who care like we do are making investments in our community,” explains Michelle. “And the staff and leadership are smart, caring, capable people,” notes Rod. The Cortright’s love of community led them to include the Community Foundation in their estate plan, too. Rod and Michelle will continue to make a difference close to home for many more years, but even after they’re gone, their legacy will live on.