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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!”

“I haven’t always had so much,” Jan shared; but her journey led her to the belief that “if you have more than you need, you can give.”

Through the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, Jan and her husband created the Dr. Woody and Jan Wood Community Pediatric Dental Care Fund, helping to cover the cost of dental care for children of Muskegon County. “My husband was so worried about kids who didn’t have money for dental services,” Jan explained. “He never turned any family away.”

Believing that “everybody that has more than enough should be givers,” Jan is continuing her family’s Mason County legacy by creating the Carl & Alida Ann (Agens) Sorensen Fund. “I wanted to do something in my parents’ names in the county they called home.”

Jan chose to support education-related programs and projects with the fund to honor her mom who, at 18, began teaching in a one-room schoolhouse.

With family roots running deep along South Lakeshore and at the family farm, Jan thinks of Ludington as a place where her parents’ memory “will live on forever.”

For more information about establishing a fund to support causes close to your own heart, contact Andrea Large at or 231.845.0326.