Supporting Our Community for over 25 years Established in 1988


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The Cadillac Area Community Foundation enhances the quality of life for all members of our community through philanthropy – connecting donor gifts with the needs of our community.

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Executive Director's Blog

December 2018

Conveying Family Legacies and Values.

Time and time again, we hear the next generation express how their grandparent’s stories have strengthened their sense of identity.  For generations, conveying family legacies and values helped build a culture for the future. 

Your passion could be education, land preservation, culture, or beautifying your community, all for generations to enjoy in the future.  We all want to leave our mark.  But, how do we do it?

The Community Foundation has their finger on the pulse of the community and the local nonprofits; we have the ability to be proactive in directing grants to those organizations with the greatest need.  It is the donors choice whether to designate funds to specific needs, or to choose to let the Community Foundation Board award grants that can make a difference in the lives of our community members.

The Community Foundation is a very well run philanthropic organization.  Our Board is professional, hardworking, diverse, and talented.  They are forward thinking, and excellent stewards of our donors gifts. 

A planned gift will help sustain the Community Foundation for years to come and help make a difference in the community.  We will invest the money wisely and it will address community needs.

Every day, people from all walks of life make gifts to charity through their trusts. It’s so simple, and it does make a tremendous difference in the world they leave behind.

If you are interested in creating your own legacy, the Community Foundation can help you. 

Happy Holidays


November 2018

Giving Thanks.

As human beings, it’s in our nature to help.

The Cadillac Area Community Foundation has been a community-based, philanthropic organization for over 30 years;  The Foundation has defined six areas that our grantmaking is focused on.  They are: Arts & Culture, Economic Development, Education, Youth, Recreation & Environment, and Health & Human Services.

Our ongoing work with local non-profit organizations motivates us to move on ideas and projects to better our community.  Our Donors passions and interests are a critical piece of the foundation's work.  A major gift from a donor becomes the main driver of the fund agreement.  Our donor's wishes are very much respected when granting to a cause that is important to them. 

Community Foundations are a place to connect with donors who share your passions, ideas, or concerns in their community.   Some donors choose to be anonymous and others are just eager to support a cause that is important to them.    We truly believe anyone can be a philanthropist.  It is the generosity of our donors who make each and every one of our grants and scholarship possible.

Helping our generous donors reach their philanthropic goals is one of the most important roles we play in the community foundation.  Working together to leave a better future for generations to come.

Our Board of Trustees and Staff consider it a great privilege that donors have entrusted their legacy and philanthropy with us. Without our donors, our impact and growth potential are limited.

We are THANKFUL for every donation received.

Happy Thanksgiving!


The Cadillac Area Community Foundation is Celebrating 30 Years of Philanthropy!!


October 2018

Join Us to Create Change through the Women’s Giving Circle

The Cadillac Area Women’s Giving Circle is a network of women with a shared passion— they make a difference, they give back, and they want to create real change in issues that affect the quality of life for women and girls.

The Giving Circle pools the charitable gifts of our members into the Cadillac Area Women’s Giving Circle Fund, leveraging the power of every dollar to create real and sustainable change by funding programs and services that address issues of safety, health, and equality for women and girls in the Cadillac area.  Since August 2009, the Circle has awarded over $140,000 in grants.

Your Foundation is the partner of the Giving Circle in this work. The Cadillac Area Women’s Giving Circle is a Fund of the Cadillac Area Community Foundation.  The Women’s Giving Circle established their Fund at the Community Foundation because of our shared values, and the opportunity to create synergy in addressing issues that make a difference in the lives of women and girls in the Cadillac area.

I invite you to learn more about the Women's Giving Circle and their work at http://www.cadillacareawomensgivingcircle.org

Next year the Cadillac Area Women’s Giving Circle will celebrate their 10 Year Anniversary.  Their goal remains unchanged; they share a common philanthropic goal to benefit the needs of area women and girls.  In addition to a full annual meeting, the ladies meet monthly at a local restaurant to share a meal and discuss the issues facing area women and girls.

You have an opportunity to join the Cadillac Area Women’s Giving Circle; they are currently accepting new members.    Membership is $500 per year.  $450 of your membership is awarded in the form of grants to the community.  $50 is placed in the endowed portion of the Cadillac Area Women’s Giving Circle Fund.

If you would like additional information about becoming a member, please contact me at 231-775-9911.


The Cadillac Area Community Foundation is Celebrating 30 Years of Philanthropy!!


September 2018

Donor Advised Fund vs Private Foundation

As giving has increased, so has the popularity of Donor-Advised Funds.  A Donor-Advised Fund is a separately identified fund or account that is maintained and operated by a section 501(c) (3) organization, which is called a “sponsoring organization.”  The Cadillac Area Community Foundation is a qualified sponsoring organization, and houses numerous Donor-Advised Funds.

Donors make irrevocable, endowed gifts to the sponsoring organization to establish a named fund and then recommend grants from the Fund to qualified nonprofit organizations of their choice over time.  There are over 300,000 Donor-Advised Funds in the United States today–roughly three times the number of private foundations. There are many reasons they are so popular and growing; I have listed a few:

*It takes just a few minutes to create a Donor-Advised Fund, and donors can recommend grants from their Fund at any time. Like private foundations, the original donor may assign successive advisors so that others may carry on their legacy of giving when they are gone.


*Donors may give a wide variety of assets, including cash, appreciated stock, life insurance policies, and real estate. Donor-Advised Funds provide donors with significant tax advantages. Contributions are deductible, and gifts of appreciated property like public stock, closely-held stock, and real estate are deductible at full fair market value. This is a significant advantage over giving closely-held stock or real estate to a private foundation, where the deduction is limited to the cost basis of the asset.


*There are no costs to establish a Donor-Advised Fund and no separate tax filings.  Administrative fees are minimal, and the sponsoring organization takes care of all filings. 


*Donor-Advised Funds allow donors to recommend grants over their own timelines.  The donor has flexibility when unique tax events arise. For example, an individual who sells a company can easily establish a Donor-Advised Fund to help maximize immediate tax benefits and then recommend grants in the years ahead.


*Donors who choose to give through their Donor-Advised Fund may remain anonymous if they wish. This is difficult to achieve with private foundations due to the public nature of their tax filings.

If taking charge of your personal philanthropy, and supporting the organizations and interests that are important to you is one of your goals, I invite you to call me to further discuss Donor-Advised Funds.


Best Regards,



Cadillac Area Community Foundation is Celebrating 30 years of Philanthropy!!


August 2018

You’re invited…..to make the gift of a lifetime.


You are invited to join the most generous and forward-thinking members of our community, by joining the Legacy Society of the Cadillac Area Community Foundation.  Our Members all have made the commitment to support the future of our community through an estate gift to the Cadillac Area Community Foundation.


Here are the who, what, where, when, and why,  of leaving a legacy gift. 

Who Can be a Member:  Anyone with a desire to give can make a legacy gift.

What Kind of Gift: A legacy gift can be made through a will in the form of  IRAs, securities, real estate, insurance benefits and cash.

Where Can my Gift Help:  Your legacy gift can be designated to support the arts, enrich education for our youth, protect the environment, provide food, clothing and shelter to the needy, safeguard health, foster a stronger community and more.

When Do I Designate a Gift:  Any time you are preparing or changing your will or estate plan, you may want to consider charitable legacy gifts.    Your gift can even create a Fund to benefit an agency, organization, or a special interest.  Together, we can craft a fund agreement now to take effect later. 

Why Would Someone Leave a Legacy Gift:  For many people, these gift are preserving the family name, honoring loved ones, providing for heirs, supporting a nonprofit or interest that they care about, minimizing tax burdens, or to help provide continued support of the community  they call home.  Bequests to the community foundation are exempt from estate taxes. 

You have worked hard, saved wisely, and invested well.  Assets you leave to the community will continue to grow and support good works today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.  Let the Cadillac Area Community Foundation help you explore your own opportunities to leave a lasting legacy for the causes you cherish.

Best Regards,



JULY 2018

Volunteers are the Cornerstone of our Community Foundation.


A community foundation is a nonprofit organization that operates in a fiscally responsible manner so that resources can be most fully utilized to support their mission.  For the Cadillac Area Community Foundation, this means utilizing the talents of volunteers to help power the organization. 


Our Volunteer Board of Trustees take on tremendous responsibility.  They are a voting Board with full authority and responsibility to develop policies, procedures and regulations for the operation of the organization; to monitor the organization’s financial health, programs and overall performance; and to provide the Executive Director with the resources to meet the needs of those the organization serves.


The Volunteer Investment Committee is responsible for the execution and oversight of the Foundation investments and investment managers, and makes quarterly reports to the full Board of Trustees on investment matters including the acquisition, disposition, administration, and management of the investments of the Foundation and the performance of the investment managers.  The investment committee ensures compliance with the Investment Policy. 


The Volunteer Scholarship Committees have the duty of reviewing the numerous scholarship applications submitted to the foundation every year, and making recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding the scholarship awards.  Each scholarship committee is given selection criteria, specific to each scholarship program, to use while reviewing the applications.  The process requires a great deal of time, diligence, and commitment on the part of the volunteer. 


The mission of our Volunteer Youth Advisors is to empower young people, involve them in the community and teach them about philanthropy while serving as stewards through granting.     Advisors are supportive, flexible, and consistent advocates for valuing youth’s perspectives. 

For over 30 years, volunteers have served in every aspect of your Community Foundation.  Our best fund development team are our volunteers; they plant the idea of investment in the community by supporting the community foundation through their donations of time and resources.  Our volunteers are our contacts in the community in a variety of ways.  Volunteers make the organization, and they are not celebrated enough.  They make the difference.


We want all of our volunteers, past and present, to know we greatly appreciate their commitment, wisdom, and dedication to the Foundation.


Thank You,



June 2018

Scholarship Season!


The Cadillac Area Community Foundation received over 65 Scholarship applications this past spring, and awarded over $37,000 in scholarships with the help of our Scholarship Committees.

Those applications were from students interested in studying in all areas; and they applied for Scholarship Programs which specialized in General Education, Graduate Studies, Elementary Education, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Performing Arts.  Scholarship requirements varied and covered everything from educational achievements, income levels, civic involvement, extra-curricular participation, community volunteerism, overcoming adversity, and even good citizenship.  

Individual Scholarship Committees met to discuss each eligible student for the particular Scholarship Program.  They read applications and, most importantly, the required essay that accompanied the application.  The essays are a chance for the Committee Members to meet the students through their words and develop an idea of each students’ unique character beyond their GPA.  Personal growth, leadership, extra-curricular and/or academic are all factors to be considered in the Scholarship award decisions.  This is not an easy task for the Committee.

Scholarship Committees are vital to the process, and they have to make difficult choices.  They do not know whose application they are reviewing, it is an anonymous process.  They only have the information presented to them in the application and essay to base their decisions.  A grade point average is important to help determine the potential for success in college, but an essay can tell a very personal story of the applicant.  It is up to the Committee to consider the nuances of that story, in combination with the written application and transcript of grades, and determine the students that best fit the criteria of each Scholarship Program.

The Cadillac Area Community Foundation would like to thank all of the Scholarship Committee members who generously donated so much of their time to participate in this process to determine which of those students will help to define the future of our community! 


Best Regards,



May 2018

Mixing Passion with Purpose

Two years ago, a 10 year old boy, Riley Bigger, made a request of the Cadillac City Council.  He   asked what it would take for the City to install a wheelchair accessible swing at the playground on the Keith McKellop Walkway. 


Riley came up with the idea when he was attending a church conference and saw parents lift children from their wheelchairs into swings.  When he returned to Cadillac he was determined to see a type of swing added to the city park that is wheelchair accessible next to the ADA compliant playground.   The City of Cadillac thought it was a good idea too, and so Riley began to fundraise for his project.


As it turned out, the project was much more expensive than initially realized, and significant help was needed. Riley found that help in his local Community Foundation.


The Cadillac Area Community Foundation, and the Cadillac & Kellogg for Youth Advisory Committee, thought it was a great project, and looked at how they could help.  A $15,000 grant award, $10,000 from the Foundation Cornerstone Fund and $5000 from the Youth Fund, completed the fundraising for the wheelchair accessible swing near the ADA Playground on the Lakefront.  This dream that Riley had to help others is now becoming a reality.


According to the Wexford-Missaukee ISD, we have more than 25 students aged 26 and younger who are wheelchair bound and have never had the opportunity to enjoy most playground activities. 
Your Community Foundation looks for opportunities to make our community more vibrant, and improve quality of life for all residents.   This project will bring smiles and impact lives; it was a project of passion with a purpose. 

Your gifts to the Community Foundation will impact lives in our area now and when assistance is needed in the future.  We help make a long-term investment in causes that matter most to you.

Please feel free to contact us for more information on how to open a fund about what matters to you.


Happy Spring!



April 2018

Young Volunteers: The Benefits of Community Service

Our youth are increasingly looking for opportunities to improve our community and school programs.  Youth volunteerism builds discipline, respect for others, develops leadership skills, and interactions with students that they might not otherwise encounter.  These youth volunteers are driven to give back to their community and school.  Often, they enjoy engaging with adults. 

The personal benefits of community service are very rewarding.  Youth that are involved in community or school service groups are likely to have a strong work ethic, learn to manage their time, and less likely to get into trouble.

The Cadillac Area Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) was established in 1990.  Over the 28 years more than 700 students have been a part of the group.  The Cadillac and Kellogg for Youth Committee is part of the Michigan Community Foundations' statewide Youth Project (MCFYP) funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. This program was initiated to build community foundation capacity, to establish youth as philanthropists, and to build permanent and growing funds within each community to meet local youth needs. 

As part of the commitment, every three years the Youth Advisory Committee completes a Youth Needs Assessment Survey of students in 5th through 12th grade.  The Needs Assessment results are then used when evaluating the necessity of the projects and programs they receive grant applications for.    The YAC students take this responsibility very serious, and they discuss in detail the needs of each grant submitted before making a final decision. 

The Youth Advisory Committee has awarded more than $538,000 to programs and projects that  address local youth needs and improve the lives of the youth in our community.  The Youth Advisory Committee members have  volunteered over 20,000 hours. 

These young volunteers are committed youth leaders through a structured program of volunteerism, philanthropy, and personal development.

Best Regards,



March 2018


March is Reading Month--- When a Community is dedicated to young readers!

In June 2013, a group of business professionals decided to bring a very special program to our community called the Dolly Pardon’s Imagination Library.  The donation of $20,000 from a local manufacturer launched the program.

Today, Dolly Pardon’s program spans four countries and mails over 1 million books each month to children around the world.  In participating communities, parents can sign up for the program at no cost, to receive a monthly delivery of a book for their child until they are of age to enter kindergarten. 

Participating communities demonstrate their dedication to young readers by making donations to fund the program.  Local businesses, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and citizens all donate to the program so that the books are sent at no cost to families.  100 percent of the donations go toward the purchase of books.

The program is more than a book give-away for kids. Although that would be a worthy goal on its own, the Imagination Library is designed as a parent involvement program. Each book contains a message to parents suggesting what to do before reading the book, while reading the book, and how to follow up afterwards to extend learning. Research says that parent involvement in their children’s learning is a major factor in school success.

As of February the Wexford Missaukee Imagination Library program has delivered a total of 94,979 books since the program began. Program organizers believe they have almost 60% of the eligible population signed up in the Wexford Missaukee ISD School District.

Currently 2,142 books are being delivered on a monthly basis.  That means that the program cost is over $4,000 a month.  For this program to be permanently self-sufficient, the endowed portion of the fund would need to be $1,350,000. Until then, they will continue to write grants and ask the community for support. 

The Cadillac Area Community Foundation houses a Fund for the Wexford Missaukee ISD-Imagination Library.  The Foundation administers this fund through the collection of donations and provide fiduciary services.  When you make a donation to this Fund, the Foundation can provide a receipt acknowledging your tax-deductible donation to this Fund.

If you would like additional information, or would like to donate to this fund, please feel free to contact me at the Foundation. 231-775-9911.

Happy March!



February 2018


Applying for a Grant ? – You Have Some Research to Do!

Grant maker’s like to award grants as “seed money”; funds that are used for new and innovative ways to address community needs or to substantially change or enhance a currently existing program.  Generally, community foundations do not provide ongoing, general support or continued support for past projects and/or programs.  Most Foundations limit the number of times they will fund an existing program or project.

Foundations frequently will state their areas of focus for their grant making.  The Cadillac Area Community Foundation has six focus areas: Economic Development, Arts & Culture, Education & Scholarships, Youth, Recreation & Environment, and Health & Human Services. 

The Application.

It is important to make certain that your application is complete, all questions answered.  There is not a single area of the application that is not required, from the cover sheet to the budget and everything in between.  It is always important to provide your Federal Tax ID Number or a copy of your IRS determination letter.  Incomplete applications rarely get a second look.

As clearly and concisely as possible, the application gives you an opportunity to tell the story of what your vision is, why it is important, who it will serve, and how many people will be impacted.  This is your chance to let your project shine!  Make your narrative brief but compelling and informative.  Be clear, explain why the methods you’ve selected are the best to achieve your objectives.  It is important to include a timeline that specifies what is going to happen and when. 

If you have financial support from other sources, or funders will to match what you have raised, be certain to put that in your application.  This demonstrates that they believe in your vision too!

The Budget.

Nothing will kill your application faster than a budget whose numbers do not add up!  Make certain to list all necessary supplies, equipment, and other resources you will use for your project, Make sure all figures are 100% accurate, and they balance with each other.  If you are asking for $2,000, show why you need that amount.  Specify direct costs—the expenses for which the requested grant funding will be used. Specify all sources of income and contributions, including volunteer services calculated at “market value.”

Final Steps.

Have a plan that shows how you will continue funding for the project/program after the Foundation funds are exhausted, and be certain to include that information in your application. Before submitting your application, have a co-worker proofread your application.  Make sure your program or project is clear to the reader.  Double-check to make sure you have included all of the required paperwork listed on the grant application.


In Conclusion.

Our Foundation has awarded over $5.1 Million in grants and scholarships in the Cadillac area over the past 30 years. We have a variety of Grant making and Scholarship Programs that are listed on this website.  If you are interested in applying for a grant, we invite you to review the Grant making Guidelines and our Grant Application forms, also found on this site.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Best Regards,



January 2018


Thinking Ahead - Impacting Your Community Forever


A legacy is the need or the desire to be remembered for what you have contributed to the world.  What kind of legacy will you leave behind?  Will it be a life well lived and a charitable gift for future generations?


If you leave a gift for the future generations, will it be a building, money, or property?   Will your focus be on health, education, environment or community arts? When considering a legacy gift to your local Community Foundation, knowing your core values is crucial.  Ask yourself:


*What do I believe in?
*What really matters to me?
*What values help manage how I live my life?
*What values do I want to pass on?

Once these core values are determined; there are several avenues available when considering your charitable gift.  Talking to your attorney, accountant, or financial advisor is always a good start. 


Once you have determined the type of gift you would like to leave, your Foundation can discuss existing funds that meet your values; or even consider opening a new fund.  When opening a new fund you may choose to open a Unrestricted Family Fund that will award grants in the name of your family that best meet community needs; a Scholarship Fund to benefit local students; a Field of Interest Fund that will address an area close to your heart; or initiate an Agency Endowment Fund that will continue to support an Agency you care about.  All of these Funds have written agreements that honor donor wishes. Discussing the different types of funds, in detail, with your community foundation representative will help you determine which fund type best meets your needs.


We make it our mission to provide excellent stewardship of your legacy gift.  We are mindful of our donor’s wishes, and want our donor’s to feel confident that their donation will continue their legacy into the future


If you are interested in planned giving, and would like additional information, please feel free to contact me.  I would love to help you plan a permanent legacy that fulfills your philanthropic dreams. 


Happy New Year,



The National Standards Seal by our name indicates official confirmation from the Council on Foundations that we have met the most rigorous standards in philanthropy. It affirms our commitment to financial security, transparency and accountability. It says our grantmaking includes an open, competitive process designed to address the changing needs of our community. The National Standards Seal also confirms our history of honoring donors' wishes.

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