Community Stories

Making a Difference One Cup at a Time

Carmen Biggs believes there’s a misconception that human trafficking doesn’t exist in small communities.  “Really, trafficking can take a lot of forms,” she said. “It may look different in a rural community versus a big city, but it’s happening here too. Exploitation and abuse happen everywhere. The magnitude of the problem can be paralyzing, but we need to begin where we are with what we have.”  That belief and a passion for social justice led Carmen and her business partner Chris Turnbull to start HumaniTea. This cozy space inside The Port of Ludington is a combination tea and artisan gift shop that exists to provide a community gathering space and confront the tragedy of human trafficking. All profits from the benefit corporation are invested into anti-trafficking efforts.  Click to continue reading more about how HumaniTea is making an impact in Mason County.

KickStart to Career: Fall 2022 Deposit Days

Fall KickStart to Career (K2C) Deposit Days were a huge success! We are so thankful to the West Shore Bank branches in Scottville and downtown Ludington, and Safe Harbor Credit Union, for hosting students from across the county to make their deposits on November 16 and 17. This fall we had an increase in student participation demonstrating that our students are learning the importance of saving for their future. Click to read more about Deposit Day, KickStart to Career community partners, and to view recent metrics.

Gene & Ruthann Kyle: Leaving a Legacy

Gene and Ruthann Kyle grew up in a small town in Indiana and were introduced to philanthropy from a young age by their families. When they moved to Ludington to be near their grandchildren, they didn't waste any time getting involved in the community. While they have always given of their time and talents, they never imagined they would have the opportunity to leave a legacy of gifts to both the community in Indiana where they were born and raised, as well as the community they now call home. Click to read how Gene and Ruthann's legacy and love for their community will live on forever in the gift they have left to the Community Foundation through their estate plan. 

Laird Rambasek Family Scholarship Fund

Rik Laird and his wife, Patti Rambasek, have always valued education and given their time and talents to community service. When Rik graduated from Ludington High School, he received scholarships in music and engineering to further his education. Knowing the impact those scholarships had on his ability to continue his education, Rik and Patti are leaving an estate gift that will establish the Laird Rambasek Family Scholarship Fund.

Catchafire Connection

Nonprofit staff members across the country wear many hats to fulfill their mission. Through a partnership with the Fremont Area Community Foundation and the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Community Foundation continues to provide access to Catchafire, a virtual capacity-building platform, for local nonprofits. This partnership has allowed participating nonprofits in Mason County to thrive, extend their reach, and continue to impact our community. Since the start of this program in 2021, this program has provided over 336 hours of project support saving more than $73,634 for participating Mason County nonprofits.

2022 Community Wish Lists

As part of philanthropy leadership, the Community Foundation for Mason County is in its fifth year of inviting area nonprofits to share which near-term projects and purchases need financial support from the community. In 2021, over $26,000 in wishes were granted, and we are truly thankful for the enthusiastic and generous response from our community. This year, over 70 “wishes” were submitted by nonprofit organizations, totaling over $162,000 for projects in need of funding.

Community Impact Spotlight – Patti Klevorn

This month we are proud to showcase our board chair, Patti Klevorn! Click to learn more about her impact on Mason County.

Youth Advisory Council Announces Spring Grant Awards

The Community Foundation for Mason County Youth Advisory Council conducted a county-wide youth needs assessment to learn youth concerns, involvement in the community, and their plans for the future. YAC presented this information to leadership groups in the community and focused their spring competitive grant awards on programs to help in these areas. Awards totaling $7,000 went to four organizations resulting from the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) Spring Grant Round.

KickStart to Career Deposit Day & Family Night

The second Deposit Day of the 2021/2022 school year held this spring and was a huge success! The Community Foundation KickStart to Career program now has bank accounts for over 900 Mason County kindergarten, first, and second-graders.

Rides to Wellness

The Community Foundation for Mason County is proud to partner with Ludington Mass Transportation Authority (LMTA) and Michigan Transportation Connection (MTC) to establish Rides to Wellness, a pilot program that provides transportation for residents of Mason County age 60 years and older and residents with disabilities to non-emergency medical appointments. The program is fostered through a $5,000 grant provided by the Community Foundation for Mason County as well as Federal Grant funds provided by Michigan Transportation Connection.