August 31, 2015

A beautiful night by the trail


Annual Celebration guests enjoy a tour of the newly completed Thomas Township Trail.

Nearly 275 people gathered on a beautiful evening this past June in Thomas Township at our Annual Celebration. At the event, we honored our outstanding philanthropists and volunteers, celebrated the completion of the Thomas Township Trailhead Pavilion (the 2014 Community Improvement Initiative grant recipient) with a ribbon cutting.

Project completed

Last year, Saginaw Community Foundation awarded Thomas Township Parks & Recreation and Swan Valley High School our $25,000 Community Improvement Initiative Grant for its “Partnership for a Better Today” project.

The recently completed project included safety enhancements on the Thomas Township Trail (including fencing and a solar caution light), clearing overgrown and downed trees at Roethke Park, benches and bike racks were installed on the Thomas Township Trail and construction of Phase One of a new trailhead pavilion. The 2.3 mile paved trail pathway runs north and south crossing Gratiot, O’Hern and Ederer Roads connecting to the Saginaw Valley Rail Trail.
At our annual celebration, members of the McDonald family cut the ribbon at the pavilion, officially opening it for public use. Besides providing shelter for trail users, the pavilion also houses restroom facilities.

Frank N. Andersen Spirit of Philanthropy Award

Herbert J. Spence, III was honored with the Frank N. Andersen Spirit of Philanthropy Award, which was established in 1994 to honor the great philanthropist, Frank N. Andersen.

“The purpose of the award is to honor an individual who has a history of outstanding philanthropic leadership and has demonstrated an extraordinary personal commitment to improving the quality of life for Saginaw County citizens,” said Reneé Johnston, president and CEO of Saginaw Community Foundation. “We also want to encourage and recognize philanthropy in Saginaw County.”

Spence, III, president and CEO of the 122-year old family-owned construction firm Spence Brothers, has tirelessly given back to our community. He has demonstrated leadership by serving on several community boards including Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance (past chair), Covenant HealthCare, City of Saginaw Riverfront Commission and DDA, and Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail to name a few.

Past recipients of this award include Frank N. Andersen, Richard Wolohan, Wally Bronner, Lloyd Yeo, Ted Braun, the Shaheen family, Marty Stark, Sue Pumford, Paul Chaffee, Culli Damuth, Gen. David Hall, Joseph W. Madison, Richard J. Garber and LaMarr Woodley.

Dr. Debasish Mrihda (left), 2015 Dr. Mrihda Foundation Teacher of the Year Award recipient Melissa Fila, Heritage High School (right).

Dr. Debasish Mrihda (left), 2015 Dr. Mrihda Foundation Teacher of the Year Award recipient Melissa Fila, Heritage High School (right).

Dr. Mridha Teacher of the Year Award

Melissa Fila from Heritage High School was recognized with the Dr. Mridha Teacher of the Year Award. The award, offered through the Mridha Foundation Teacher of the Year Endowment Fund held at SCF, grants $750 to the Saginaw Intermediate School District to support the recipient’s educational and professional development.

“If teachers are stimulated, it makes our students even better,” says Dr. Debasish Mridha. “I want to honor teachers who go beyond their duty to inspire and instill wisdom and vision so students can go back into the community and do good.”


Joseph W. Madison Youth Award

Douglas Piper, a student at Freeland High School, was awarded the Joseph W. Madison Youth Award.

“Seven years ago, we thought it would be appropriate to identify and recognize youth in our community for their tremendous efforts to make a difference,” Johnston said. “The Joseph W. Madison Youth Award criteria is based on qualities of outstanding philanthropic spirit, cooperation with others and generosity of time and talent.”

Piper was nominated by Heather Essex, guidance counselor at Freeland High School.

“Doug has accumulated well over 100 hours of community service each year he has been at Freeland High School,” said Essex. “He was not required to complete the hours as a graduation requirement, he truly wanted to help others. Doug has been heavily involved in activities both in and outside of school. He has written grants that have brought our school thousands of dollars to run various programs.”



Congratulations to all of our award honorees and for your commitment to our region.