News & Event
After a detailed application review process, area students were awarded scholarships in varying amounts from 94 different scholarship funds, for a total investment of over $600,000.
Students and their families came to the Yacht Basin Marina to meet the generous donors who made it possible for the students to receive these scholarships.
Mike Goorhouse, Community Foundation President and CEO, congratulated the scholars who he hopes will become future leaders in our community. “We’re honored to partner with your scholarship donors to support your educational journey,” he said.
Stacy Timmerman, Director of Scholarships, thanked the donors for their “continued support of the inspiring and deserving students.” She also addressed the students about the scholarship process. Stacy has spent many hours over the last few months reading through applications and meeting with review committees to determine recipients. “Students, please know that in our extremely competitive scholarship process, you were selected as the right person for your scholarship. We couldn’t be happier for you!” Stacy told them.
Jim Bishop from West Michigan Community Bank, who sponsored the event, shared his story on the many reasons he supports the Community Foundation. He spoke about how he received community foundation scholarships as a student and how that generosity changed his life for the better. It later inspired him to contribute financially and to get involved in board service at the community foundation as an adult. He encouraged each of the students to pay it forward to the next generation with time, talent, and/or treasure whenever they’re able.
The event also featured a student panel where four college students spoke about life in college and how different it can be from high school, some difficulties that come with college, and advice for incoming college freshman.
Stephanie Arndt from Hope College talked about how difficult it was for her to change her major and that she had to overcome her fear of claiming an English major, but it was” the most rewarding thing” she has ever done.
On advice for the scholarship recipients, student Kiannah Vandenberg from Grand Valley State University reminded the student scholars not to be upset or quit if they get a B or C on an assignment or in a course for the first time, as college classes can be very challenging and difficult even for the best students. She also talks about the opportunities of college internships which can give students college credit and experience doing something that they love.
After the panel, the reception lasted another hour with students and donors talking over cupcakes and lemonade and getting pictures taken together.
The Community Foundation is so happy to host this event that allows the students to meet and talk with their scholarship donors. We are so thankful to all of the donors for making such a big impact in the lives of these students. We congratulate these exemplary 2017 scholarship recipients and wish them every success in higher education and beyond.
The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area is pleased to announce the awarding of 17 grants totaling $568,604 from the Community’s Endowment in 2019.
Outdoor Discovery Center - ecoSystem Education Network
Macatawa Area Coordinating Council - Creating a Green Infrastructure Vision for the Macatawa Watershed
Ladder Homes - Housing Capacity Expansion
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan - Holland/Zeeland Career Training Center
Beacon of Hope - Building Campaign
We are pleased to announce the first and second round of grant distributions from the Community Stabilization Fund. Our efforts are designed to act swiftly, be flexible as new information emerges, and take into account the range of other supports that have come into our community from both public and private sources. The Community Stabilization Fund targets three priority areas that were identified in conversations with local nonprofit partners: financial stability, health, and education. To date, $950,000 has been committed to the fund! This includes a $200,000 investment from the Community’s Endowment combined with generous gifts from local donors.
The first round of grant distributions, made in June, focused on the priority area of financial stability. A total of $115,000 was invested to launch the Greater Holland/Zeeland Area Direct Cash Assistance Program. This effort provides $500 emergency unrestricted cash relief to eligible local individuals who have lost their jobs or are experiencing significantly reduced hours of paid work due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Since the start of the pandemic, various federal stimulus bills have transferred funds to people who have lost their jobs, and to lower/middle income families in general; but there are individuals and families in our community who haven't yet received those funds, or may not be eligible to receive them. These friends and neighbors are struggling to meet their basic day-to-day needs.
CFHZ and some of our generous donors, alongside key community organizations who serve these populations, explored a variety of options to assist those who are falling through the cracks of our existing support systems. Collectively, we identified a direct-cash assistance program, partnering with a national organization called Family Independence Initiative (FII), as a key strategy to serve our vulnerable community members. We granted $100,000 to FII to establish the program, and an additional $5,000 each to our core partner agencies for administrative support to implement the program. We're delighted to share that generous local donors contributed an additional $500,000 for a total cash assistance funding pool of $600,000!
We have partnered with three local organizations who will identify those individuals who quality for the program: Community Action House, Good Samaritan Ministries, and Movement West Michigan. Each of these partners has further engaged their network of partner churches, grassroots organizations, and neighborhood community organizations to extend their reach to as many families as possible.
To be eligible for the Greater Holland/Zeeland Area Direct Cash Assistance Program, individuals must:
To date, the Direct Cash Assistance Program has directly impacted 600 individuals. We're deeply thankful to the generous local donors who have contributed towards these efforts.
Good Samaritan Ministries recently received funds from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to launch a six-month Eviction Diversion Program which will use a collaborative court process model, bringing together the courts, Legal Aid, mediation, tenants and landlords to provide lump sum payments to landlords in exchange for allowing tenants to remain in their homes. The Community Stabilization Fund grant will support GSM’s efforts to scale up capacity and ensure robust program delivery and services to divert hundreds of families from potential homelessness and provide a path back towards thriving in our community.
This grant will support ODC Network’s partnership with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and Holland/Zeeland area districts to provide schools and teachers with support, resources, and training on activating outdoor spaces and utilizing outdoor learning as a means to lower school building population density and increase social distancing while providing safe, meaningful, and engaging learning experiences for students. This effort will increase the chances of more children being able to safely attend school in person, which is beneficial for all children’s learning, but especially for those children who were already struggling in school and who likely experienced even greater learning loss due to the remote learning transition last spring followed by summer break.
Ready for School, in partnership with area schools, rapidly adapted their highly successful kindergarten readiness program to offer the four-week experience in a modified format this summer. Given the unique challenges facing this year’s incoming kindergartners and their families, this grant will support continuing the program into the fall to complement and enhance whatever format in which schools are able to provide kindergarten. How well this critical first year of school goes for these students will have a long-lasting impact on the trajectory of their learning and this investment will help ensure they have the strongest kindergarten experience possible in an inherently difficult environment.
CASA provides elementary school students who are struggling academically with a structured educational support program to achieve their learning goals. CASA pivoted quickly this summer to continue providing students robust learning opportunities in an effective and meaningful way despite new constraints. This grant will invest in the follow-up effort to re-imagine what Fall CASA programming looks like, particularly as the organization works to incorporate Hope College Education Department students who typically serve as one-on-one tutors during the school year in a new format.
This grant will allow Family Hope Foundation to expand their therapy scholarship program for Holland/Zeeland area children with special needs and learning disabilities to help them regain progress and milestones lost due to recent interruptions to schooling and support services. The program works collaboratively with a broad network of providers to find customized supports that will best serve each individual student’s needs.
The Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area elected a new slate of officers during its 2017 annual meeting.
Elected as Board Chair is Mark K. Harder, a partner with the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP. Harder chairs the firm’s Private Client and Family Office Practice and concentrates his practice in estate planning and administration for high-net-worth individuals and in the representation of family-owned businesses and their owners.
Harder succeeds Scott Spoelhof, who held the position of chair in 2016. Mark served as chair-elect to Spoelhof for the past year. Harder joined the Board in 2014 and has most recently served on the Foundation’s executive, governance, development, and audit committees.
“The Community Foundation plays an integral role in maintaining and improving the quality of life in our community as it helps steward resources to impact others,” Harder said. “I am deeply honored to be part of that effort and look forward to working with the leadership team and my fellow Board members to help create lasting positive change.”
Harder has been recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyer since 2006 and has been listed among The Best Lawyers in America since 2005. He was named Lawyer of the Year for Trusts and Estates in the Grand Rapids area in 2010 and again in 2017 and a Leading Lawyer in Michigan from 2014 to the present. He was also recognized for for his work in private wealth law by Chambers High Net Worth Guide in 2016.
Mark is a Fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel and is a member of the American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, State Bar of Wisconsin, Ottawa County Bar Association, Michigan State Bar Foundation and American Bar Foundation. He is also a member of Attorneys for Family Held Enterprises.
Mark serves on the Institute of Continuing Legal Education Probate and Estate Planning Advisory Board. From 2003 until 2010, Mark led State Bar of Michigan efforts to write the Michigan Trust Code, as well as other legislation regulating how trusts are handled. In 2015, he authored a commentary for Michigan’s Uniform Principal and Income Act. He has also co-authored the Estates and Protected Individuals Code with Reporters’ Commentary from 2010 to 2017 for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education.
A graduate of Leadership Holland, Mark has been active in a variety of community organizations, including the Center for Women in Transition, Macatawa Cycling Club, Holland Area Chamber of Commerce, Hospice of Holland and the Grand Rapids-based Family Business Alliance.
Harder holds a bachelor of business administration with high distinction from the University of Iowa and his doctor of jurisprudence with highest distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law.
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