Building a Legacy of Giving: The Story of the Shiawassee Community Foundation

In February 1974, a group of visionary individuals came together with a shared goal: to enhance the well-being of Shiawassee County residents. From this collective vision, the Shiawassee Community Foundation was born. Led by founders John Bremer, Henry Steck, Virginia Woodard, George Hoddy, and Bernard Nagelvoort, the foundation embarked on a journey to make a lasting impact on their community.

Fast forward to today, and the Shiawassee Community Foundation has evolved into a cornerstone of philanthropy in the region. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, its mission is clear: to enrich the quality of life in Shiawassee County. This commitment to excellence was recognized in 2008 when the foundation achieved National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations accreditation.

What’s truly remarkable is the foundation’s growth. Starting with just $27,000 in assets in 1974, it has flourished to over $10 million today, thanks to the generosity of thousands of donors. This growth hasn’t been merely about accumulating wealth; it’s been about creating a sustainable means of support for the community.

Central to the foundation’s mission is the establishment of permanently endowed funds. These funds, built from diverse donations, are a testament to the foundation’s dedication to addressing emerging community needs for the long haul. Since its inception, over $2.6 million has been distributed in grants and scholarships, making a tangible difference in Shiawassee County.

One of the foundation’s shining initiatives is the Youth Advisory Council (YAC). Designed to empower young individuals aged 12-21, the YAC enables them to be catalysts for positive change in their communities. Supported by a grant from the Kellogg Foundation, the YAC plays a vital role in distributing funds and engaging in community service projects.

A dedicated Board of Directors composed of local volunteers is at the heart of the foundation’s operations. These individuals ensure that the foundation stays true to its purpose. With over 100 funds, each established with a specific charitable purpose, the foundation remains committed to honoring its founders’ intentions.

Grants and scholarships are awarded to qualifying non-profit organizations, schools, municipalities, and service clubs, with each fund serving a distinct purpose specified by its founder. Additionally, the foundation administers close to 100 scholarship funds, providing opportunities for Shiawassee County High School graduates pursuing further education.

The foundation’s doors are open to diverse gifts, including cash, stock, and other assets. This inclusivity enables the foundation to continue its mission of supporting the community effectively.

With Kim Renwick at the helm as the Executive Director and supported by a dedicated team of staff members, the Shiawassee Community Foundation remains a beacon of hope and support for Shiawassee County residents. Its rich history of generosity, growth, and commitment continues to inspire and empower communities for future generations.