The History of the Huron County Community Foundation

Community foundations date back all the way to 1914. That’s when Frederick Harris Goff, a banker and lawyer, formed the Cleveland Community Foundation. The history of the Huron County Community Foundation is just budding in comparison.

For two to three years, Carl Osentoski, executive director of the Huron County Economic Development Corp, met with businessman Lowell McDonald informally and discussed a vision for a community foundation. It was an idea that was not formally pursued until Martha Thuemmel, then county commissioner, came forth with $1,000 of seed money.

Even with a bit of green, it wasn’t until the Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek offered grant money. The goal of the HCCF was to raise $400,000 to receive a grant of $200,000. In April of 1997, S. Tenney McGraw, a retired banker, was enlisted to launch an aggressive campaign to build the HCCF. He served as the first executive director of the Foundation.

With McGraw’s leadership and a commitment from donors, the goal was achieved. Individuals and businesses all made attainment of the Kellogg grant a reality. Huron Medical Center, Scheurer Hospital money from the estate of Judge Neil MacCallum and Vernetta Thuemmel were credited with helping make a sizeable push toward that goal.

The grant from Kellogg required the formation of a Youth Advisory Committee that would oversee the grant funds received so that the youth of the area would benefit. YAC meets monthly during the school year, conducting grant rounds twice a year.

The HCCF may have a brief history, but it is assured longevity by those who have placed funds under its care to serve the people of the county, and with the help of contributors from throughout Huron County and beyond who want to make a positive difference in the area, it continues to grow.