A message from your community foundation

Nearly 50 Midland-based nonprofit agencies came together recently to raise money for their endowment funds through an online crowdfunding platform. The event, called Give Local Midland, is organized by the Midland Area Community Foundation.

The 24-hour fundraising challenge, which began on midnight May 3rd, appeared to come to a halt at about 10:00AM, when the company responsible for the website experienced server issues that crashed giving day sites around the nation. The website wouldn’t begin accepting donations again until 10:00PM.

What was meant to be an online fundraiser quickly turned into a telethon as the community foundation staff fielded calls from donors eager to support their favorite nonprofits and take advantage of matching funds offered as part of the giving day. Eventually, the decision was made to extend Give Local Midland an additional 24 hours, allowing those who wished to donate online to do so for another day.

As a result, over $232,000 was raised for local nonprofit endowment funds! These endowment funds, held at the community foundation, help ensure long-term sustainability so nonprofit agencies can continue serving our community well into the future.

Your community foundation wishes to thank each donor who participated in Give Local Midland and found a way to give back despite technical difficulties with the website. We’re proud to serve an incredibly caring, resilient community.


MACF Staff & Board of Trustees

Huge 24-hour crowdfunding event coming back to Midland

By Midland Area Community Foundation
Follow @MidlandFDN

 Staff members of Adoption Option, Inc. - one of 50 local nonprofits participating in Give Local Midland

Staff members of Adoption Option, Inc. - one of 50 local nonprofits participating in Give Local Midland

Over $216,000 was raised by hundreds of local donors during last year’s 24-hour giving challenge put forth by the Midland Area Community Foundation (MACF). Give Local Midland, now in its third year, is an opportunity to focus on long-term funding for nearly fifty local nonprofits who participate.

“On May 3rd, we’re inviting the entire community to donate to local endowment funds,” said Sharon Mortensen, MACF President & CEO. “These funds allow our nonprofits to increase their long-term sustainability by giving them a stable source of funding into the future.”

Donations are accepted through the website www.givelocalmidland.org, which currently features a countdown clock, ticking down the time until midnight May 3rd, when donations are officially accepted.

To encourage donations, the community foundation is putting up $50,000 in incentive funds, with an additional $15,000 coming from other donors. These funds are known as the “matching pool”, and each participating nonprofit is competing for their share. Last year, the top agency was Adoption Option Inc., earning $12,677 in gifts and an additional $5,895 from the matching pool.

The website will accept gifts via credit or debit card from 12:00AM to 11:59:59PM on May 3rd, while the MACF offices will be open from 10:00AM – 7:00PM for those who prefer to give with cash or check. All gifts will populate on the Give Local Midland website, adding a sense of excitement and urgency to the fundraiser.

The MACF annual meeting will also take place on May 3rd from 7:30AM – 9:00AM at The H Hotel. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required by contacting MACF at 989.839.9661. More details, including a full list of agencies participating in Give Local Midland, can be found online at www.givelocalmidland.org.

Cancer Services providing hope, hair and friendship

By Ben Tierney
Follow @MidlandFDN

In the fall of 2015, the Midland Area Community Foundation approved a $40,000 grant to Cancer Services of Midland, allowing them to expand their programming and serve more clients in need. See more recent grants here.

Spend some time in Cancer Services of Midland's unassuming downtown office, and you get the feeling good things happen often. Office staff are quick with a smile or a joke. For cancer patients like Tiffany Clark, a simple joke can be a breath of fresh air.

"We have fun here," says Julie Nunn, Cancer Services Executive Director. "We see a lot of difficult situations, and our job is to brighten their day however we can."

Tiffany arrived with her boyfriend Josh for this interview, and immediately they were chatting with Julie like old friends.

"Do you want some coffee or tea?" Julie asked, pointing to one of those single-use beverage makers taking up limited office space.

"That's a really nice coffee station cabinet," said Tiffany.

"Guess what, we're getting a new one. Do you want this one? It's yours," said Julie.

In September, Clark was diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Cervical Cancer. She's 28 years old.

"One day you're skipping along, everything is merry. The next your whole world is flipped upside down," said Tiffany.

Clark heard about Cancer Services from a fellow radiation patient, who she sees five times a week. Cancer Services does not provide help with medical costs or anything related to the medical care of their clients. So what do they offer? "Everything else," according to Nunn.

Clark's most immediate need was a wig. Her first visit to the office was under a baseball cap, hiding what she calls a "Bozo the clown bald spot look." Today she sports bright teal and white strands - colors representing cervical cancer.

Cancer Services also helps clients with financial aid for urgent, non-medical bills. "They stack up," says Clark. "It sounds bad, but you stop caring. You're fighting for your life."

Cancer Services cut Clark a check to keep her electricity on. She's also taken advantage of counseling services. "You have no time to deal with your emotions," said Clark. "You're just going, going, going. You need someone to talk to."

In addition to wigs, Cancer Services offers wellness classes, turbans, nutritional supplements and other supplies free of charge. They also have patient support volunteers who can provide transportation to and from appointments.

"Facing cancer can be overwhelming," says Nunn. "No one should go through that alone. If nothing else, we're here to talk."

Cancer Services of Midland has been serving clients in Midland, Clare and Gladwin counties since 1948.

Welcome Melissa!

Melissa Kesterson has been hired as the Program Officer for the community foundation. She will be responsible for managing the foundation’s grantmaking process as well as several community projects.

“We are excited to welcome Melissa to the organization,” said MACF President & CEO Sharon Mortensen. “She led a nonprofit in the Ann Arbor area for eight years, so that experience is beneficial as she assists other nonprofit leaders through the grant application process.”

Kesterson graduated from Southern Illinois University and worked in the broadcast industry for several years before relocating to Europe with her family. Returning to the US, she re-directed her career with a focus on literacy, access to healthy foods and community development. She is a Master Gardener and spearheaded the creation of the community garden located at the Greater Midland Community Center, where she serves as the garden’s program director.

“I’m happy to accept this new role with such an outstanding organization,” said Kesterson. “The community foundation has a footprint on so many great projects in Midland. I look forward to being a part of that and working closely with our nonprofits on projects that benefit everyone.”

Kesterson lives with her husband Sean who works as a physician and medical director at MidMichigan Health. They have a son in college pursuing a career in public health policy.

Thank You!

On May 5, nearly 600 Midland County residents took part in the Midland Area Community Foundation’s Give Local Midland crowdfunding campaign, collectively raising over $216,465 for local nonprofits in just 24 hours.

The funds went directly to the endowment funds of the 50 participating nonprofit agencies, helping to ensure their long-term sustainability.

If you logged on to www.givelocalmidland.org on May 5 and made a donation of any amount, the community foundation would like to extend our sincere appreciation for your commitment to giving where you live.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of our local nonprofits. Indeed, they touch all of our lives in one way or another by impacting our youth, arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, community improvement and more.

The community foundation exists because of generous donors and volunteers like you who care about the future of our community. Over 40 years ago, a community endowment fund was established with just a few thousand dollars. Because of this, we are now able to grant over $3.5 million each year.

We strongly believe that giving to local endowment funds is enormously beneficial to the future of Midland County, and we’re glad to see so many community members agree. Again, thank you for your support. You’ve helped to give this community greater vibrancy by enriching and improving the quality of life.

Sharon Mortensen
MACF President & CEO

Plymouth Park "Fun Zone" to be demolished to make room for pharmacy

Update: This was indeed an April Fools' Day prank. Want to make sure the Fun Zone never disappears? Support the maintenance fund by purchasing your very own engraved fence picket!

The popular Fun Zone playground located within Midland's Plymouth Park will be torn down this summer, and the property sold to a local investor. The investor has plans to build a pharmacy on the property as soon as possible.

The move comes right after last summer's nearly half million dollar renovation of the park led by the Midland Area Community Foundation (MACF). The community foundation claims that this will be a good change for the park.

"Midland has a real lack of pharmacies, and this decision just made sense," said a MACF representative who preferred to be anonymous for fear of having toilet paper thrown in their yard. "I realize we just spent a year of planning and an entire summer completely renovating the entire park, but people need to pick up their medications and candy somewhere. It's a great location."

As a way to appease the thousands of children who are sure to be upset by the change, the community foundation and City of Midland Parks Department have established a lottery system to give the playground components away to children living in Midland County.

"Any child between the ages of 6 and 17 are eligible to sign up," said the anonymous representative. "We will draw names randomly until each playground component is spoken for. If the child doesn't have their own tools, we can provide them with a saw and hammer to cut their piece of the playground out."

Details on how and where to sign up will be made available in the coming weeks. More information can be found at www.midlandfoundation.org/april1.