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What is a Community Foundaton?

If you think a community foundation is a nonprofit organization created by local residents to improve their communities, you’re right. But that’s just the beginning.

We work with donors, grantees, advisers and our communities to identify and support the issues that shape our area. By bringing people together around a common mission, and creating links between resources and your vision for the future, we’re helping ensure that our communities remain vital and strong.

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A natural steward

The Wood family has been a steward of the Silver Lake Sand Dunes, offering fun and history “lessons” since 1930. Raised in the family business, Pete was in his natural element behind the scooter wheel telling tall tales & showcasing the beauty of the area. He also loved to play his grand piano and supported the arts; he lived life with humor and a perpetual smile. Keeping those memories alive through the Malcolm “Pete” Wood Memorial Fund, his family has supported new band equipment at Hart High School and helped to build the new picnic shelter at the Golden Township Park at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.

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Foundation Leadership

In 1970 Bill & Gail Bluhm came to Oceana for Bill’s new position as Pentwater Public Schools superintendent. With two small children in tow they were taken aback by the wonder of living in a small town near Lake Michigan. His position exposed him to the needs of the community, which sparked the idea of a Foundation. In 1989 Bill, along with other community leaders, became founding trustees to the Community Foundation for Oceana County – the first affiliate foundation in the state of Michigan. Bill and Gail gave careful thought on where to designate their Legacy gift to the Foundation, eventually deciding to direct it to the operational fund. “Foundation leadership activities rely on consistent funding support. We are so proud to be part of this great organization,” Bill said.


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Create your legacy

We know that seven out of ten people are generous during their lifetime. Yet only one in ten keeps giving through an estate gift. We can help define and ensure your legacy with a gift to the Foundation. Over 40 people have left bequest gifts or told us that their legacy included the Community Foundation - ensuring their love for this community would never cease.

Since Oceana County has been important to you, make part of your legacy a gift to help ensure its future. If you already named the Foundation, let us know. We want to recognize your generosity with a plaque on our Legacy Society recognition display.

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A helping hand

The Patrick Steen Helping Hand Fund was created by Bob & Theresa Steen in memory of all the joyous moments shared with their son. A very talented and energetic young man, he pursued many interests, especially music and computers – obtaining a BS in computer networking from Ferris State University. Patrick had a positive impact on people all around him – family, friends, and even teachers. The shadows of depression began to emerge during his high school years and he struggled until he took his own life at the age of 30. Bob & Theresa want to offer hope to other young people who are pursuing their dreams – never stop dreaming, there is always hope!

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Caring for one another

Since 1992 the Crystal Valley Care Fund has quietly raised funds to “love” Oceana families facing catastrophic hardships – house fires, life-threatening illnesses and other life-stopping moments. The Care Fund operates completely by volunteer help and has aided over 860 families in the past 6 years alone. In an effort to increase their long-term organization strength, an anonymous donor established a Foundation Fund and put up a challenge match for up to $25,000. In just one month, Oceana responded and the match was met.

Patrick Fuller established the Cancer and Critical Care Fund to financially assist area residents with the expenses associated with cancer or a critical illness, which can often seem unbearable and devastating to families. “It is common for people to think it will never happen to them, but the harsh reality is that most people have a personal experience with a loved one’s health crisis. We desire to be a source of help,” Pat said.

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Meet our 100th Fund holder

Meet Betty L. Johnston - born in Carr Settlement, located in the SE corner of Mason County near Walkerville. She enjoys genealogy research, collecting vintage buttons and living amongst her many treasures of yesteryear. After establishing an endowment fund in Lake County to create a genealogy research room, she discovered the Oceana Historical Society headquarters in Hart. While visiting she stopped by the Hart Historic District, and as a longtime doll collector and doll house builder herself, she was delighted by the animated doll display.

Impressed by both organizations, Betty decided to establish an endowment fund at the Oceana Foundation to support their work. To add to the fun she signed her fund agreement on her 80th birthday. That’s history in the making!

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Dreams can happen

Shelby businessman William Field dreamed of creating a bike trail on the former Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad property. He acquired the property and gave it to the City of Hart in 1984. Hart and other agencies cooperated with the Michigan DNR to construct the scenic trail – the first paved trail in Michigan – setting a high bar for other trails.

After 25 years, the Trail’s riding surface has deteriorated and needs to be reconstructed. A group of community trail enthusiasts initiated a campaign fund at the Foundation to meet the local funding challenge. Thanks to a collaboration of funding sources from MDOT, DNR, state and local government, foundations and support from community donors, $4.4 million was raised to preserve this important community asset.

Recognizing that maintenance is essential to protect and care for our trail, fundraising efforts have shifted towards developing a fund to ensure long term sustainability. Dreams do happen – we happily invite you to ride the new William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Rail Trail in 2015.

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Contact Us

PO Box 367 | 242 N. Michigan Ave | Shelby, MI 49455

T: (231) 861-8335 | F: (231) 861-6381

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