Community Stories

Biggs Inspired by Family and Love for Community

When Kristen moved to Ludington during a blizzard in 2009, the school superintendent joked it would take 20 years to become a "local." Fifteen years later, Kristen appears to have graduated early. "Ludington is where my four kids grew up. So, it's home to them. It feels like home to me. It's just a great place to be – a great place to live, work, and be involved in the community," Kristen said. Click to read about Kristen's planned gift to the community she loves.

LFC Builds Sustainability and Legacy

O’Nealya Gronstal began her position as the Executive Director of Lakeshore Food Club (LFC) when the organization held its first Empty Bowls event in 2020. The nonprofit grocery store serving Mason County residents living below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines needed to raise funds to continue supporting for 20-35 households shopping daily. Click to read more about LFC and its committee-advised fund.

Epworth Gives Back to the Community Cottagers Call Home

In 2006, Epworth posed a powerful question to the Ludington community: What do you need? Community members responded with a request for scholarships and nonprofit support. Epworth cottagers immediately began fundraising, and the Epworth Fund for Ludington was born. Click to read more about the impact made by the Epworth Fund for Ludington in Mason County.

Lakeshore Memories Inspire Community Giving

Helping to build a cottage in Ludington, near the family farm, eight-year-old Jan Wood began her integral role in building family legacy. A native of Muskegon, Jan fondly thinks of Mason County as “God’s country… my mom and dad’s community.” — a place where her great-grandfather, Martin Livingston Agens, served as state representative; where her dad proudly worked on the Badger; where as a child she enjoyed watching the construction of the Consumer’s Energy project; and where she and her cousins picked pickles, berries, beans, hauled hay every summer and, "loved every minute of it!" Click to read more about the impact made by Jan in Mason County.


On Wednesday, June 21, we held our annual gathering to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Community Foundation for Mason County. Our founders started from scratch, when a small and committed group of thoughtful, well-intentioned community leaders rallied around this big idea... that a Community Foundation might be the perfect place for donors, large and small, to exercise their charitable intentions in a positive way. They got it right, and the community has benefited in countless ways because of their visionary leadership.

Bridging Gaps and Building Community

From a young age, Lena Bluestein pictured a life of service. She moved to Ludington as a teenager and her family got involved with a local church. Lena was able to go on several international mission trips and ultimately went to college to study world missions. “I’ve always had a heart for those that society overlooks or forgets,” said Lena. “I thought I’d work outside of the country, but eventually I realized that I could serve ‘the least of these’ right here in my own community.” Lena started small, visiting and driving church members to medical appointments. Eventually she was approached by Community Mental Health (CMH) about the possibility of becoming a legal guardian for adults with disabilities. Click to read more about the impact made by Lena in Mason County.

Spring 2023 Deposit Days

The KickStart to Career Program was established in Mason County in the fall of 2019 to support students in reaching their post-secondary goals. The program was established to promote pathways to secondary education by establishing Children’s Savings Accounts (CSA). The Community Foundation for Mason County is looking to strengthen the college-going culture in Mason County to meet 75% enrollment by 2025 and 60% completion by 2030. In the fall of each school year, every kindergarten student in Mason County has a savings account established with KickStart to Career and is generously gifted an initial seed deposit of $50 from the John & Anita Wilson Family Fund. Students in kindergarten through third-grade county-wide participate in KickStart to Career Deposit Days by partaking in field trips to West Shore Bank or Safe Harbor Credit Union to make deposits into their CSA’s twice each year. Click to read more about spring 2023 Deposit Day.

Where Community Matters

Joan Hasenbank and her late husband Robert spent their entire lives in the northeast corner of Mason County—a place to which they both felt a deep connection. With a drive to help others, Robert and Joan established the Robert R. and Joan Hasenbank Fund. “We live in Mason County and made our living in Mason County,” said Joan. “We felt that giving back to the community we love [through our fund] was a perfect fit.” Click to read more about the impact made by Robert and Joan in Mason County.

A Lifetime of Service

The Carneys’ love for this community ran deep. A gift made through their estate created two funds at the Community Foundation to carry on the family legacy and support local students. The Drs. Ruth and John Carney and Irene Carney Kendrick Memorial Scholarship—established in memory of his first wife and their late daughter—creates opportunities for adult students, students pursuing postgraduate degrees, or those facing barriers to getting a college degree. The Drs. Ruth and John Carney Education Fund is a field-of-interest fund designed to address the diverse and changing educational needs in Mason County for generations to come. Click to read more about the impact of Drs. Ruth and John Carney in Mason County.

Youth Advisory Council: Lake Jump 2023 Beneficiary

We are so excited to share that our Youth Advisory Council has been selected as the beneficiary of The Ludington Lake Jump for 2023! Funds raised will be used to both build the YAC endowment fund and support local teens through a PSA discussing teen stress. Growing the YAC endowment will allow for an increase in available grant dollars to support the youth in our community through competitive grant rounds and teacher mini-grants each year. Click to read more about YAC, their mission and how you can support our local youth through a donation to Lake Jump.