The Community Fund


The Community Fund is the most flexible and far-reaching fund at the Community Foundation because the purpose is simply to make grants that address a variety of important needs in Charlevoix County.  Committees, made up of members from the board of trustees along with engaged community members, respond to requests from charitable partners, applying these grant dollars directly where they’re needed through grant cycles and through proactive grant-making – even as needs and priorities change.

Since 1994, the Community Fund has provided grants all across our County and for all types of programs, projects, and organizations that enhance the quality of life for those in our area.  For example, the Community Fund has provided support for large scale construction, like the expansion of the warehouse and food bank facilities at Manna Food Project, expansion and renovations to Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital, and senior housing developments on Beaver Island.  The Community Fund is uniquely positioned to help nonprofit partners grow their own capacity to meet important missions.  For example, Challenge Mountain and the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan have received support to improve resale stores that provide vital revenue to make programs possible.  Dozens of grants have been directed to assist our most vulnerable friends and neighbors with heating fuel, food pantry items, cribs and car seats, dental and medical services, and more. Forward-thinking investments in projects like the North Central Michigan College “Fab Lab” for mobile manufacturing training and the start-up of Leadership Charlevoix County received grant dollars from the Community Fund.  Community spaces like the playground at Veteran’s Park in Boyne City, public tennis courts in East Jordan, and improvements to the Charlevoix Area Community Pool are available to us all with support from the Community Fund.

Because this 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 Community Fund join together, resulting in greater impact for this community we love.

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 Fund.

Learn more about Funds for the Community

Photo: Grand opening of the Beaver Island Community Center.


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.


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.

Pictured here: Founder Bob Drost and Drost employees


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.