Beaver Island Enrichment Fund

Not many community foundations in Michigan have the privilege – and challenge – of serving an island.  Thanks to vital non-profit organizations and community volunteers on Beaver Island, the Community Foundation actively supports the quality of life on the Island.

Beaver Island has a strong arts and cultural community which has benefitted from grants in support of the popular Baroque on Beaver music festival and upgrades to the Community Center’s performing arts auditorium.  The Community Foundation has invested in the Beaver Island Historical Society with grants for technology improvements, museum software, and training for staff.  The Beaver Island Enrichment Fund has also helped establish a Birding Trail for locals and visitors alike.

Health and housing needs are issues on the Island as on the mainland.  The Beaver Island Enrichment Fund has provided grant funding to the Beaver Island Rural Health Center to help make video conferencing and digital x-ray transmitting available, to provide assistance to homebound seniors, and even to support the costs of patient transportation and accommodations when hospital visits are necessary.  Senior housing construction and improvements have also been grant supported, providing a safe and supportive residence for seniors and disabled individuals so that they may stay near family and friends on Beaver Island. 

Because the Beaver Island Enrichment Fund is endowed, it will continue to grow and provide grant dollars for these kinds of programs and projects and more, both now and into the future.  Contributions to the Beaver Island Enrichment Fund join together, resulting in greater impact for this community we love.


Photo: The Beaver Island ferry approaches the island.


ADAM Kendall and Kate Leese FUND FOR BEAVER ISLAND    

Adam Kendall and Kate Leese both spent summers in Charlevoix as teenagers, but it wasn't until 15 years later were they introduced by a mutual friend. They knew right away they were kindred spirits - meant to be together. Their shared passion for life, adventure, and helping others, created an instant bond. They were happily married on the first of August 2015 under a giant oak in northern Michigan, surrounded by close family and friends.

That summer they renovated a mid-century modern home in Jackson, Michigan. The minute it was finished, they sold it and bought a classic airstream that also needed everything renewed. In just two months, they went out-west with a shiny new dream: "Find the best place in America to put down roots". Till then, it was one adventure after another for four-and-a-half years including 220 destinations, touring and working full-time, while living 100% on the road, with two big dogs in an airstream named 'Lucy Darling'. Their personal experiences were posted on Instagram - approximately 10,000 followers were inspired by @LifeWithoutWaiting on a daily basis. (Posts and pictures are still out there today).

Emergency Management was Kate and Adam's expertise. They founded Kinetics Consulting, Inc. and created disaster management strategies and conducted instructional seminars for city officials, police, fire, heads of utilities, etc. organizing coordinated efforts to combat disasters with the goal of minimizing loss of life. November 12, 2021, the day before their fatal crash, Kate wrote, "Just this fall we published an emergency plan that will help move utility crews from thousands of organizations around the country to assist those in need following disasters, providing mutual aid to get the power back on faster when any one utility's resources are overwhelmed."

After all their wanderings and accomplishments, Kate and Adam purchased a piece of farmland on Beaver Island that enabled them to move forward with their goal of starting a vineyard. Still living in the airstream, they planted 2100 vines and started renovating the 100-year-old house on the property. Ironically, it was a short 15-minute flight back to their home on the island, crashing on the runway, that ended the lives of two people whose sole occupation was to save lives. 

They were so loved by the people on the island, Kate and Adam's plans to hill-up the vines with soil that weekend were carried out by nearly a hundred volunteers from that small community. It was quite a crowd of hardworking friends that showed up with tractors, shovels and gloves, and worked all weekend to help give their dream a chance at survival.

Adam and Kate's parents worked with the Community Foundation to direct memorial gifts to a fund that would enrich the island they had grown to love. Contributions made in their names poured in. The Adam Kendall and Kate Leese Fund for Beaver Island will continue to honor them, growing and granting to meet needs and advance opportunities on Beaver Island for years to come.


John and laurene Adams Fund for Beaver Island    

John and Laurene Adams were among the first to establish an endowed fund at the Charlevoix County Community Foundation.  A graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law, John came back to his home in Kalamazoo Michigan to practice law in 1945. There he met and married a vivacious Kalamazoo, College graduate-Laurene Wheeler. Together they began to raise a family.

John soon distinguished himself among his peers by reason of “his excellence in problem solving and vast knowledge of taxation, trusts and estates.”  Laurene was often described as the “personification of a ‘lady’, always having a kind word, a hug and a beautiful smile”.

An accomplished sailboat racer, John loved the water and boats.  So it is no surprise that when he read about Beaver Island, he had to see it. He came for the first time in the late 1950’s and fell in love instantly with its beauty and its people. Soon after he bought property and built a waterfront cabin. From then on all family summer vacations took place on Beaver Island and John visited often in the off season.

John and Laurene couldn’t wait to retire to Beaver Island in 1983. Shortly before John’s death in 1993 they were approached by then C3F president Bob Tambellini. Those at the meeting when Bob gave his pitch remember John grilling him with astute questions. Bob must have had good answers; because shortly afterwards John and Laurene established an endowed fund in the fledgling organization to benefit Beaver Island. Today, a quarter century later, the couple’s children know they would be pleased with C3F ‘s great success and the good their fund is still doing and will always do for the island they loved.


works family FUND FOR BEAVER ISLAND    


more funds that support beaver island    

To find more funds that support Beaver Island, click here, for a searchable and scrollable list.