As 2016 comes to a close, it is time to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, and the we are doing exactly that.
HCCF spends the year giving out grants to support local projects that are enhancing our community and providing scholarships to Huron County graduates seeking to further their education. This year HCCF did both of those things in record breaking fashion. Executive Director, Mackenzie Price, said “In the foundation’s over twenty-year history, we have never had the monetary impact in our community that we were able to have in 2016.”
$158,671 worth of impact to be exact. Tallying $76,200 of scholarships, $75,971 awarded in grants from the Grantmaking Committee and Board of Trustees, and $6,500 in grants awarded from the Youth Advisory Committee for projects targeting youth.
For comparison, six short years ago in 2010, HCCF awarded just over $56,500 worth of grants and scholarships. “The great part about endowed giving is that these totals should continue to grow indefinitely, allowing us to contribute more and more back to the community we all call home” added Price.
Grants this year were given to a wide variety of projects, from classroom robotics kits for schools across the county to trail maintenance equipment at the Huron County Nature Center and public art to the Walk for Warmth. A full list of HCCF’s 2016 grants can be found on their website. Over 27 projects were grant recipients during the past year.
One special project was granting money given to the foundation from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. This money was given to HCCF and three neighboring community foundations at the beginning of 2016 and was the catalyst for the Double Up Food Bucks Program in Huron County. This program allows families on assistance to double their money when buying local produce. “We started with the Port Austin Farmers Market because we knew there was a high concentration of local produce in one place” noted Price. “After the market season, we wanted to ensure another option was available, so we worked to get McDonald’s Food and Family Center included in the Supermarket program.” Huron County has the only Double Up Food Bucks locations in the Thumb Area. The next closest farm markets are Port Huron and Imlay City with the closest supermarket participating in the program being in Flint. “Starting both the farm market and McDonald’s Food and Family Center in the same year was a huge win for Huron County’s most vulnerable population, for our local growers, and for the Double Up program statewide” stated Price.
Along with grants, over 65 scholarships were awarded to Huron County students. Most scholarships are aimed at high school seniors pursuing additional training, however, multiple awards target students seeking advanced degrees in medicine. “Together with our donors, we are able to create an educated workforce for the future by making college more affordable through scholarships” said Price of their robust scholarship offerings.
Another new source of impact for HCCF during 2016 was the Huron Count Young Professionals Network coming to fruition. “The power of social media allowed us to launch the YPN in January of 2016. Nearly a year later, we have a core group of participants in careers including marketing, banking, agriculture, and medicine” added Price. The group typically meets every other month to exchange ideas and provide networking opportunities for professionals under 30 living and working in Huron County.
“None of this would be possible without our supporters” said Price when asked about the impact the Foundation had in 2016. “Our donors have a passion for giving back to their local community and that passion shines through the work of the Foundation.” Price also added that there are many great non-profit organizations helping our neighbors that would love support during the season of giving. “We can’t wait to see what HCCF, the grantees, and our scholarship recipients are able to accomplish in 2017” noted Price.