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Loving Manistee County

Without a doubt, there is something truly special about Manistee County and the people who are fortunate to call this place home. From Arcadia to Manistee, from Pierport to Marilla, Bear Lake to Brethren, and everywhere in between, we are honored to work with you and others to make a meaningful difference across our Manistee County community.

Through the generosity of our donors we were thrilled to expand our impact during 2018, awarding exponentially more grant and scholarship dollars than ever before in a single year!

Thank you for the role that you play in making this place great! We are proud to be your Community Foundation in a place that shares so well.



President & CEO

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  • We Have a

    A Foundation Built By You


A Meaningful Place to Make a Difference


A worthy place to invest

Unlimited Potential

The first grants from the new Limitless Fund were also awarded during 2018. This strategic endowment was established to enable the Foundation to respond to a broad array of ever-changing community needs.

These investments, along with support from the Manistee Rotary Education Fund, Manistee County Environmental Fund and Spirit of Giving Fund, among others, helped fill gaps and realize opportunities across Manistee County. A few of the efforts this vital support helped make possible included:

  • A new state-of-the-art soundboard for the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, providing patrons with an enhanced experience and artists with confidence in their performance environment;
  • Enabling students at Bear Lake Schools to use an Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to conduct research in their local community;
  • Providing the Manistee Friendship Society with funds to purchase fresh food and promote healthy lifestyles for members of our community with mental illness; and
  • Entrance enhancements to the Old Kirke Museum, to help sustain and support cultural programming such as their mid-week series in partnership with local arts organizations.

Thanks to the donors who generously contributed to the Limitless Fund, we are better positioned to meet community needs today and in the future.

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A promising place to grow leaders


We are contributing to the strength of our community by investing in local nonprofit leaders through the new Leadership Learning Lab. This innovative program is made possible through a collaborative effort of regional community foundations and Rotary Charities of Traverse City, with generous support from the Frey Foundation. Together we are making a deep investment in developing adaptive leaders across Manistee County and the region.


Investing in our county’s youth has always been at the core of our work. The Youth Advisory Council (YAC) recommends grants from the Youth Endowment Fund, participates in leadership training and is active in community service.

During 2018 the YAC, with support from the Bill Seng Memorial Fund, supported a 6th grade mentoring program at Manistee Middle High School, a new space for teens at the Manistee County Library, a summer program by Staircase Youth Services, the College for Kids program offered by West Shore Community College and youth involvement in the Substance Education Awareness (SEA) Manistee coalition’s prevention efforts. We’re proud to be preparing the next generation of philanthropists and deeply grateful for their service!

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A perfect place to create opportunity

Educate and Elevate

Manistee County is an excellent place to support student success, from early childhood through career. Together, we have made great strides toward shared goals.

We were proud to further our work to coordinate the Launch Manistee Network. During 2018 network partners continued their work to increase access to education for all ages in Manistee County. Through the network’s collaboration, additional preschool programs were established in our community, increasing children served by nearly 15% in a single year.

The Limitless Fund also helped provide support for our youngest learners through preschool scholarships and playgroups operated by the Manistee Great Start Collaborative.

Because of the importance our donors place on continuing education,
the Foundation’s growing scholarship program awarded over $115,000
in scholarships during 2018, more than ever before in a single year. The
five-fold increase includes renewable awards which help area students persist and complete their postsecondary education.

Through the continuation and growth of the Manistee Commitment Scholarship Program, 82 students participated during 2018. Scholars
are supported throughout their high school careers and are eligible to receive a tuition scholarship to West Shore Community College upon meeting program requirements.

Building educational pathways and strengthening educational systems
are critical to the future success of our residents and community. Thank you for helping us create opportunity by investing in promising futures!

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An extraordinary place place for generosity

There is no limit

The Community Foundation, by design, supports the unique needs and opportunities of our Manistee County community. We continue to be inspired by the generosity of people like you, who care deeply about our community and its future, and we are honored to help fulfill your wishes.

Together, we supported an update to the critical Portage Lake Watershed Forever Plan, expanded programming at the Paine Aquatic Center, purchased a new van to help the Disabled American Veterans provide free transportation for veterans to and from medical appointments, completed the Manistee Area Public Schools and Community Track, and helped demolish a blighted building in Bear Lake to create space for a new opportunity.

When our community comes together around a common goal, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. Thank you for continuing to work with the Foundation to build a strong and vibrant Manistee County!

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Universally-accessible trail at GTRLC Arcadia Marsh Nature Preserve

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Southby, courtesy GTRLC

An ideal place to inspire play

A Legacy Unfolds

Inaugural grants were awarded from the new Minger Family Endowment Fund, established through a remarkable estate gift from Forest R. Minger, Jr., to enhance and expand recreational opportunities in Manistee County. We were honored to begin fulfilling his wishes through multiple projects including:

  • Improved cross country skiing and winter fat biking conditions at the Big M Trail in the Huron-Manistee National Forest thanks to a new groomer and storage facility via the efforts of the Manistee Cross Country Ski Council and Shoreline Cycling Club;
  • A stunning universally-accessible trailway across the Arcadia Marsh Nature Preserve of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, enabling people of all ages and abilities to experience these uniquely special protected lands;
  • Facility improvements to enhance recreation experiences at the Armory Youth Project;
  • New youth basketball and adult flag football programs offered by the Manistee Recreation Association (MRA) as well as support for the MRA’s popular soccer program; and
  • Six new pickleball courts in Manistee Township, made possible through a partnership between the Township and pickleball enthusiasts to help meet growing interest and demand.

We are excited to see the impact of these first projects that Mr. Minger’s incredible gift helped make possible...and even more excited that this is just the beginning!

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Contact Us

400 River St. Suite 50 | Manistee, MI 49660

T: (231) 723-7269 | F: (231) 723-4983

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