News & Event
We are pleased to announce the 2021 cohort of Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholars! The Holland/Zeeland Promise began in 2010 as a dream to allow our area's young people to graduate college or technical school without the burden of crushing student debt. Many Promise graduates return to the community to live, work, and give back.
Selena Vazquez, a recent graduate of Holland High School, will attend Hope College to pursue a degree in English.
"I'd like to start this with a complete and utterly genuine thank you-- I'm not sure how else I would begin. Receiving this scholarship is an absolute dream come true. Thank you for supporting the education of the next generation. It inspires me."
Ricardo Flores, a recent graduate of West Ottawa High School, will attend Michigan State University to pursue a degree in Computer Science.
"Thanks to this scholarship, I will be the first generation to attend college and achieve my goal of becoming a software engineer. I am lucky to be a part of a generous, diverse, and kind community that believes everyone should succeed."
Alexis Fuentes, a recent graduate of West Ottawa High School, will attend Michigan State University to pursue a degree in Management.
"Thank you for allowing a young, driven individual to continue their pursuit of further education. This year allowed me to cement my interest in going into a business field of study, as well as learn the process of applying to college since my parents never had that experience."
Steve Nguyen, a recent graduate of Holland High School, will attend the University of Michigan to pursue a degree in Computer Science.
"The support that CFHZ and its donors has given me will allow me to flourish and see my true potential in life."
Destinee Phasoukvong, a recent graduate of Holland High School, will attend Hope College to pursue a degree in Pre-Speech Language Pathology.
"Words cannot explain how incredibly thankful I am. Allowing me to continue my education without worrying about my financial situation will allow me to focus solely on school."
Fredy Rincon Pérez, a recent graduate of West Ottawa High School, will attend Hope College to pursue a degree in Accounting.
"It was going to be very difficult to work, study, and at the same time pay for college. Thank you for helping create opportunities for students who need it most."
Jennifer Dao, a recent graduate of West Ottawa High School, will attend Grand Valley State University to pursue a degree in Accounting.
"My mom has been working hard to support my brothers and me since my dad passed. With this scholarship, a huge burden has been lifted off our shoulders. I am forever grateful!"
Ebony Roach, a recent graduate of West Ottawa High School, will attend the University of Michigan and is still deciding what degree she will pursue.
"Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity! I feel incredibly lucky to have been chosen for this scholarship. It relieves a lot of financial stress and makes me even more excited for college! Thank you for taking the time to get to know me and my goals. I am excited for the future! "
Jacqueline Roman, a recent graduate of West Ottawa High School, will attend Central Michigan University to pursue a degree in French and Communication Sciences and Disorders.
"I am joyful and grateful to be recognized as a recipient of this scholarship. This serves as a huge motivation to continue pushing forward and help other students achieve their goals too."
Angel Ruiz, a recent graduate of Holland High School, will attend Kalamazoo College to pursue a degree in Chemistry and Biology.
"Thank you so much for choosing me to receive the Promise Scholarship! You have no idea how honored I am. All my years of hard work have definitely paid off. My family will be forever grateful. Thank you!"
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.
It truly was an incredible night filled with delicious food, great people, and an inspirational program. Together, we celebrated our community's generosity and increased awareness about the exceptional work happening with the Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholarship at our largest event yet!
Special thanks to our guest speakers, Yessica and Rodrigo, who captivated the room with their stories of perseverance and hope.
The Holland/Zeeland Promise began in 2010 as a dream to replicate the Kalamazoo Promise and allow our area's young people to graduate from college or technical school without the burden of crushing student debt.
Since 2010, more than 100 individuals and businesses have supported 47 scholars as they have pursued degrees throughout Michigan. Most donors make four-year "promises" so scholars can be supported all the way through school.
Candidates are nominated by their high school or Careerline Tech Center counselors or organizations such as Upward Bound, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland, or Latin Americans United for Progress.
Selection is rigorous and based on a range of factors including financial need, clear motivation to achieve a college or technical degree, and strong recommendations. Additionally, most Promise recipients are the first in their families to pursue higher education.
Side-by-side support and peer mentoring set the program apart.
The Holland/Zeeland Promise boasts a 93 percent graduation rate, with many scholars choosing to return to the Holland/Zeeland area to work, live and give back.
There are two ways you can support the Promise Scholarship financially. Most donors choose to make a four-year commitment which aligns with the four-year scholarship promise we make to new students. If you are interested in making a four-year commitment, you can do so here. You can also make a one-time gift.
If you want to learn more about CFHZ or the Holland/Zeeland Promise Scholarship, don't hesitate to contact Colleen at email@example.com or 616-396-6590.
Check out the event recap featured in the MiBiz, and the Holland Sentinel News.
The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area’s Board of Trustees recently elected three new members. Scott Brooks, Erin Zylman, and Lydia Steeby were all elected during the Board’s 2021 annual meeting.
Scott Brooks is President of Brooks Capital Management and CEO of Liv Communities – a residential hospitality company that develops, owns, and operates multifamily and senior living communities. Scott serves as Board Chair for Lakeshore Advantage and enjoys serving on Advisory Boards for numerous organizations and efforts ensuring the continued outstanding quality of life enjoyed in the Holland/Zeeland community. In addition to his leadership on the board, Scott will serve as a member of the Investment Committee.
Erin Zylman is a financial advisor and Certified Financial Planner with Edward Jones Investments who has lived and served in the Holland community for 14 years. Erin has worked in the financial services industry for 20 years with a diverse retail, institutional, and investment management background. Erin is a board member for the Greater Ottawa County United Way, a UW Community Panel Member, a board member for Resilience, a member of Women of Color Who Give, and serves as the Diversity and Inclusion Leader for her local Edward Jones region. In addition to her leadership on the board, Erin serves as a member of the Development Committee.
Lydia Steeby is a senior at Holland High School and serves as the Board's youth trustee. She has been a member of the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) since 2019 and will serve as Chair of YAC for the 2021–2022 school year. Along with her role in YAC, Lydia enjoys participating in Varsity Swimming, Basketball, and Soccer, and volunteers through the National Honors Society.
Deborah Sterken will serve as Board Chair. She succeeds Jim Bishop, who held the position of Chair in 2020. Deborah joined the Board in May 2016.
Diane Kooiker will serve as Chair-Elect. Diane joined the Board in May 2016. She is the co-owner of Agritek Industries Inc. and the Director of Herrick District Library in Holland.
Tom Den Herder will serve as Secretary; and Mark Harder will continue to serve as Treasurer.
We are pleased to announce the first two rounds of grants from the Community Stabilization Fund in 2021. The decision was made to continue the Community Stabilization Fund for at least the first six months of this year in response to feedback from nonprofit partners, community leaders, and individuals being directly impacted. The CFHZ Board of Trustees approved an additional $225,000 from our Community’s Endowment resources to be allocated through the Community Stabilization Fund. In addition, generous donors have continued to make contributions to the fund, allowing us to grow our impact. Grants made from the Community Stabilization Fund continue to focus on the three areas of impact from 2020: financial stability, health, and education, and a fourth area of impact added in 2021: public health.
$50,000 to continue the Eviction Diversion Program
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will assist GSM in adding staffing capacity and appropriate workspace to ensure they can provide holistic support during intake and aftercare for new clients in the Eviction Diversion Program. Last year, GSM leveraged $150,000 from the Stabilization Fund to unlock $1.5M in federal dollars for an Eviction Diversion Program which allowed them to empower 487 families to remain in their homes. In 2021, they have an opportunity to receive an additional $9M to continue this work and keep over 2,000 families in their homes.
$15,000 to increase the amount of food secured through ‘food rescue’
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will help CAH procure the required equipment to increase their food rescue efforts by an estimated 17,500 pounds of food every month. Having healthy, high quality food available to members of our community is a need CAH has prioritized, especially as demand for food assistance has increased exponentially since last year. Food “rescued” from local grocery stores (items tagged by the store to be disposed of that are not expired/damaged) is a highly efficient way to include produce and other perishables in to-go meals and boxed food assistance.
$10,000 for outreach and application assistance for the Employee Assistance Program
The EAP provided financial assistance to people whose employment was negatively impacted by the closure of restaurants for indoor dining, gyms, theaters, and other businesses that occurred in the last several months of 2020. With a short window of time for eligible individuals to apply for this support, this grant provided resources to launch local communications and publicity efforts including a local website, translate materials about the program into Spanish and other languages as needed, and provide in- person support in completing the application from trained staff at our local libraries for those who did not have access to internet or a computer elsewhere.
$40,000 to ODC Network to launch Project 180 in partnership with the OAISD and our local school districts (Holland, West Ottawa and Zeeland)
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will assist in the launch of Project 180, a new nature-based summer education program that will directly target access and opportunity for families that have been disproportionally affected by the major changes to schooling because of COVID-19. The target populations for this program often face several barriers to participation in summer learning opportunities including costs, transportation and relationships with host entities. ODC recognizes these barriers and is committed to working closely with districts to provide transportation for programming offered. Project 180 will serve Pre-K through 5th grade students, their caregivers, and school partners in Ottawa and Allegan Counties primarily located in the Holland/Zeeland area, applying a multi-pronged approach to engaging families.
$19,080 for increasing Power Hour Capacity and student transportation
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will increase capacity for Power Hour, a program that provides daily homework help for children from 1st to 12th grade. It will also help BGC to continue providing the transportation that is critical for students in need of this support to access the program.
$17,800 to launch the Summer Bridge program and provide in-house Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will help launch the Summer Bridge program, a new 6-week course for rising 9th graders whose grades, behavior, attendance, and/or social/emotional skills leave them vulnerable to 9th grade class failure. This program walks alongside students in a deeper way, meeting their needs with additional support and attention. Funds will also help provide in-house Mental Health and Substance Use Counseling to ensure earlier, more consistent, and more accessible mental health services. The program’s “Life Coach” already has established relationships with students served, will begin working on a regular basis with Escape this spring through the summer, offering continued supports while creating space for Escape to envision the best ways to integrate mental health care into all aspects of Escape programming.
Immigrant Relief Fund and Grand Rapids Asian Pacific Festival
Ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines
Funds from the Community Stabilization Fund will support strategic efforts to reach residents of the Holland/Zeeland area who were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and experience barriers to access vaccines, thus most at risk of having a disproportionately low vaccination rate—specifically Seniors and Black, Indigenous, and community members of color. Multiple conversations with community partners leading these efforts have highlighted several barriers to accessing the vaccine: technology, language, and trust in the location of vaccine distribution. Partners receiving funding have been actively engaged in outreach and education, often going above and beyond their scope of work to reach out to community members, answer questions, get them scheduled for an appointment, and call with reminders and additional appointment details.
We are pleased to announce the first round of competitive grants awarded in 2021. Through these grants, CFHZ directly invests in projects and strategies that support, improve, and enhance the Holland/Zeeland area in which we live and work. Our competitive grants are funded through our Community’s Endowment, which is our community’s philanthropic resource that will always be available to meet community needs now and in the future. In the first round of competitive grants, $100,000 was awarded to five organizations.
Issue area: Human Services
$40,000 for the Hope in Action campaign (supported by competitive grant funds and Youth Advisory Committee funds)
To help enable Hand2Hand to purchase its first building so that the organization can have additional space to reach most students in need in Holland, Zeeland, and West Michigan as a whole. This will allow Hand2Hand to say, “yes” to more students in need of weekend food.
Issue area: Education
$20,000 for the Lakeshore Campus project
To help with the capital cost of building a consolidated, 21st century, state of the art campus located in Holland, Michigan, which will provide Ottawa County residents with higher education and workforce training credentials to create pathways to well-paid careers in order to create an equitable region where everyone can prosper.
Issue area: Seniors
$18,650.58 for a Meals on Wheels Ottawa County Meal Delivery Replacement Van
To support the purchase of a replacement cargo van used for Meal on Wheels Lunch and Activity Centers delivery of meals to Ottawa County residents 60 and older.
Issue area: Health
$11,349.42 for the “Ahead of your Health Pack" Program
To help fund 160 "Ahead of your Health" packs providing patients with the necessary home health equipment to monitor their medical conditions with the support of their medical staff.
Issue area: Youth (supported by Youth Advisory Committee funds)
$10,000 for CultureWorks office and studio space
To help CultureWorks establish a new home that will serve as a long-term office and professional studio space, while the organization continues to grow its mobile model of programming in the Holland/Zeeland community.
85 East 8th Street, Suite 110, Holland, MI 49423 (616) 396-6590 Email us
Privacy Site Map