The Community Endowment

Charlevoix County has changed over the past hundred years...

and while no one knows how the County will change over the next hundred years, the Community Endowment at the Charlevoix County Community Foundation will be able to address needs and advance opportunities … whatever they may be.

Since 1992, thousands of people who love this special place have pooled their resources to make a difference through the Community Foundation. 

The Community Foundation accepts large and small contributions from people, which are carefully invested to grow over time. Each year, earnings are used to make grants that support a variety of community programs that enrich Charlevoix County for all of us. Programs and projects that the Community Foundation supports now are the result of gifts made by donors in the past.

One endowed fund within the Community Foundation, the Community Endowment, is the most flexible and far-reaching. The Community Endowment provides long-term charitable support to help communities across Charlevoix County become stronger, healthier, more vibrant, and ready for whatever needs and opportunities will exist years from now.

Anyone can give to the Community Endowment, where gifts combine to grow and make grants over time. Because this fund is endowed, it will continue to grow and provide grant dollars to make a difference for people in Charlevoix County now and into the future.

From Beaver Island to Boyne Falls, for the arts, the trails, the children, the lakes, and more. 

For good. For ever.

Join us in the mission to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Charlevoix County, now and for generations to come: contribute to the Community Endowment.

Learn more about Funds for the Community

Photo: Charlevoix, 1922.

Alyce Lesser Fund for the Community

Alyce Lesser was an active community member beginning in 1974 when she and her husband Harry moved permanently to Charlevoix.  She was originally from St. Louis, but grew fond of northern Michigan when she married Harry and embraced his family’s tradition of visiting Charlevoix each summer.  Mrs. Lesser worked for several years as a real estate agent in the area, all the while giving her time to Keep Charlevoix Beautiful, Antrim/Charlevoix Board of Realtors, Crooked Tree Arts Council, Little Traverse Conservancy, and more.

This legacy of community engagement and improvement continues through the Alyce Lesser Fund for the Community at the Charlevoix County Community Foundation.  Memorial gifts were directed to the Community Foundation and the Fund was established in 1994.  Since then, the Fund has contributed to grants made in and around Charlevoix County in her name.  Among others, the Fund has supported Charlevoix Area Community Pool, Charlevoix Public Library, Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. 

“She always made people feel better about themselves,” said Dick Georgi at the time she passed away.  His wife Cheryl added “she just had a warm heart for everybody.  She was very intelligent and had a wide variety of friends.”  Those who knew Mrs. Lesser and those who didn’t all benefit from the good work that has been accomplished from this Fund for the Community.  Because the Lesser Fund is endowed, it will continue that good work in Mrs. Lesser’s name in the future.

 

Phyllis childs memorial fund for the community

Phyllis Childs was accomplished in the fields of speech pathology and audiology during her working life. After a 42-year career, she brought that energy to East Jordan when she relocated to her vacation home. She continued to use her special skills to help children, working for Char-Em ISD and serving as a substitute teacher in local schools.

Organizations such as East Jordan Family Health Center, Crossroads Resale Shop, Jordan Valley District Library, Michigan Works Learning Lab, and the Presbyterian Church benefitted from her commitment to volunteerism. She even played percussion in the Jordan Valley Community Band!

When Phyllis passed away in September 2020, her family wished to recognize her in a fitting way. “My mother had many areas of interest and many local organizations that were meaningful to her, which made it hard to decide the best way to honor her,” explains Phyllis’ daughter Nancy Taylor. “We chose to establish a Fund for the Community to focus on the overall goal of building community in this place she treasured.”

The Phyllis Childs Memorial Fund for the Community will help to meet community needs and advance opportunities in her name forever, even as needs and opportunities change over time. “We appreciate the opportunity to honor and recognize this positive, dynamic woman with an endowment here at the Community Foundation,” says Sara Ward, Director of Development and Donor Services. “Phyllis made a difference during her time here and the Fund for the Community established by her family will continue her important legacy.”

 

Drost Fund for the Community

Drost serves northern Michigan with a wide variety of landscaping services that include design, construction, maintenance, tree services, irrigation, and lighting. A locally owned and operated business since 1991, the Drost family and the company’s employees live, work, and play in the areas they serve. The business sponsors hands-on support for community projects, such as home landscapes for Northwest Michigan Habitat for Humanity and flower bed installation with area Garden Clubs to name just a few. Drost encourages employees to share their time and talents with the community, as well.

In addition to giving to the community through landscape installation, Drost has established the Drost Fund for the Community to give back now and in the future. “We aim to be leaders in our field,” says Dale Drier, general manager, “and when we considered how to have a positive impact in Charlevoix County, it made sense to look to the Community Foundation as the leader in their field.”  The Drost Fund for the Community will boost grant-making alongside the Community Fund, forever. These permanent, powerful charitable resources will meet needs and advance opportunities in Charlevoix County, even as those needs and opportunities change over time. The Community Foundation is proud to partner with Drost to make a difference right here, close to home.

Photo: Founder Bob Drost and Drost employees

 

Edward b. and anne c. leverich fund for the commuinity

The Edward B. Leverich Memorial Fund was originally established in 2009 to honor and memorialize Dr. Leverich. “The Fund is so important because it honors my husband. He was a Prince of Man,” says Mrs. Anne Leverich, his widow. Ten years later, when grants could no longer be made as intended, Mrs. Leverich worked with the Community Foundation to adjust the purpose of the fund and modify the fund name to include them both. Mrs. Leverich liked that a Fund for the Community is flexible and can meet needs in Charlevoix County even as they change over time. The Edward B. and Anne C. Leverich Fund for the Community will work alongside the Community Endowment and other Funds for the Community to make a difference close to home, now and for generations to come.

 

 

Frank J. and Betty J. Strehl Fund for the Community

Sgt. Frank Joseph Strehl of East Jordan, Army 4th Infantry Division, met Betty Jo Clinard of Jackson after he lost both legs serving in World War II.  His platoon was the first to arrive in Paris but was ordered to wait and allow an English regiment to be the first forces to liberate the city. After stepping on a land mine, Frank was sent to Percy Jones Hospital. While there, his roommate was visited by his girlfriend who worked at the defense plant. She brought along a friend and fellow worker, Betty Jo. Frank and Betty Jo met in February and were married on October 20, 1945. 

The Strehls moved to East Jordan in 1948, where Frank was a watchmaker and jeweler and Betty Jo was an insurance agent. The Strehls loved their community and established a fund with the Community Foundation in 1999. When they passed away, Frank in 2011 and Betty Jo in 2018, the Fund was converted to the Frank J. and Betty J. Strehl Fund for the Community, where their gift can make a lasting impact for generations to come, in the areas of greatest need. 

Photo: Frank and Betty Jo Strehl celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary in 2010. 

 

Trustees Fund for the community

The Trustees Fund for the Community was created in early 2019 to honor current and former trustees and their service to the Community Foundation. Established by the Board with gifts in memory of trustees who have passed away, the Community Foundation will intentionally grow the Trustees Fund each year with contributions to welcome, thank, and honor our trustees. The Trustees Fund is evidence of the Board’s commitment to increasing unrestricted grant-making assets that can meet needs and advance opportunities in Charlevoix County, even as needs and opportunities change over time. Current and former trustees – and those who wish to acknowledge them – are invited to give to the Trustees Fund for the Community to benefit the area for generations to come.

 

Williamson Family Fund for the Community

Sam and Cass Williamson love to sail, a pastime which they have been enjoying together for more than 50 years. In part, this love of sailing is what drew them to northern Michigan. “We have been sailing in this area since 1983,” recalls Sam. “In 1996 we bought a cottage here and then eventually replaced it with a house,” offers Cass. “We couldn’t resist the beauty of the area – the water, the open space, the opportunities to cross country ski – we love it here,” she says.

The Williamsons first learned about the Community Foundation from friends in Charlevoix. “I heard about a tool called a donor advised fund, which sounded like a great way to coordinate our giving,” explains Sam. “We wanted to give to organizations we care about locally, but also in Chicago and in the communities where our children live.” Since 2007, the Williamsons have used their donor advised fund to support health, human services, social justice, and environmental organizations. “We appreciate what the Community Foundation does for this area and we want to be supportive,” notes Sam.

Along those lines, Sam and Cass decided to establish the Williamson Family Fund for the Community in 2020. This flexible endowment will provide support to meet needs and advance opportunities in Charlevoix County, even as those needs and opportunities change over time. “We are so grateful for this kind of leadership gift from Sam and Cass,” says Community Foundation president Chip Hansen. “Because of the power of endowment and the collaborative grantmaking approach that allows for funds of all sizes to make a difference for our area’s residents, the Williamson Family Fund for the Community will have an impact in more ways than one.”