May 29, 2013

Bringing Community Initiatives to Life: Saginaw Community Foundation 2013 Annual Celebration

The Saginaw Community Foundation will host its 2013 Annual Celebration on Monday, June 3 in downtown Saginaw at Morley Plaza from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. During this year’s celebration, SCF will reveal its new mission statement. Those attending will learn how SCF fulfills donor wishes and enables community initiatives to come to life, now and forever, during the evening’s program.


Last year, the Saginaw Community Foundation announced a new community improvement initiative, which will grant $25,000 to a selected project in the community each year. An additional $5,000 can be added to the grant total if the initial grant is matched. The recipient of the 2013 community improvement initiative will be announced at the annual celebration.


With this initiative, Foundation President and CEO Reneé Johnston seeks to create a funding vehicle that will enable the foundation to be more proactive in addressing community improvement needs. She wants to encourage the community to create and implement community improvement initiatives on their own.


In order to effectively implement this project, Johnston worked with the foundation’s board of directors to define “community improvement.”


“We have defined a community improvement initiative as a project that will create indelible, measurable impacts in the immediate and broader community,” she said. “These projects need to be supported and planned by a broad range of community members ranging from businesses to governmental entities to neighborhoods and individuals.”


This initiative extends beyond existing charitable organizations, churches, schools and county/city officials. Individuals, community groups, neighborhoods, businesses and youth groups can apply if they utilize the foundation as a fiscal agent. New and existing community projects are eligible.


From all of the grant applications, SCF staff narrowed the list to six project finalists. The project finalists were “Downtown Saginaw Facade and Property Improvement Program” – Saginaw Downtown Development Authority; “Mission in the City Curriculum Driven Playground” – Mission in the City; “The College of Medicine at Central Michigan University” – Central Michigan University; “Saginaw to Bay Trail” – Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail Group; “Saginaw Arts and Cultural Loops Project” – Communities Working 2gether; and “Frank N. Andersen Celebration Park – Boulder Climbing Garden” – City of Saginaw.


SCF’s board of directors was asked to select the recipient from the six finalists. They were then divided into six teams. Each team was assigned to research a finalist and present their findings regarding the project to the board as a whole. Board members then voted via secret ballot to determine the community improvement initiative recipient for 2013.


The application process for the 2014 Community Improvement Initiative will open on Jan. 1, 2014. The deadline will be Feb. 1, 2014. Details regarding the application process will be released this fall.


In addition to the community improvement initiative recipient announcement, three awards will be presented. The Dr. Mridha Teacher of the Year Award will be presented to Haley Tylka and the Saginaw Community Foundation Youth Award will be presented to Chrishawna Walker. The Frank N. Andersen Spirit of Philanthropy Award recipient will be announced at the event.


Saginaw Community Foundation also will recognize outgoing board members for their dedication and leadership in helping SCF fulfill its mission. Outgoing board members include Ellen E. Crane, Richard J. Garber, Jimmy E. Greene, Lisa Hall and Kala Karu Ramasamy, M.D.