(Adrian, MI) Over 150 people gathered on April 17, 2018 to learn why the Lenawee Community Foundation says that “Lenawee is first in our hearts, and first in our name”. National Volunteer Week was the perfect time for the Foundation to host its annual meeting honoring the legacies of local individuals, organizations and businesses, while recognizing the work of its donors, volunteers and community partners. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to thank our community members, who work with the Foundation to make Lenawee better,” stated Suann Hammersmith, President & CEO.
“The Lenawee Community Foundation assists individuals, businesses, communities and organizations in achieving their charitable goals for our Lenawee County community,” said Dave Hickman, Chair of the Board of Directors. “We work for the future,” stated Kris Schmidt, Vice Chair of the Board, “like the community savings account – permanently investing donations and utilizing the earnings to address community needs.” Hickman added that the Foundation works in five areas: health, education, culture, civic projects and human services.
Hickman announced that the Board of Directors of the Lenawee Community Foundation included: Kris Schmidt, Vice Chair; James Kapnick, Secretary; Scott Hill, Treasurer; as well as Merri Jo Bales, Dr. Carlton Cook, Frank Dick, Doug Gray, Charles H. Gross, Rick Gurdjian, Jeff Patterson, Dave Pray, Nicole Underwood, Bob Vogel, Joe Williams, and Youth Representatives Janelle Carpenter and Rose Perkins.
Mary and Mark Murray received The Lenawee Leadership Award. The prestigious award began as the Maple Leaf Award in 1953, and was expanded to include all of Lenawee in 2012 when the Lenawee Community Foundation accepted responsibility for the award. The Murrays were honored for their voluntary leadership to the Adrian Rotary Club, Michener Elementary Fluency Friends, the former Lenawee United Way and its successor Lenawee Cares, and St. Mary’s of Good Counsel Catholic Church. Additionally, they were recognized for their entrepreneurship, purchasing and restoring the Adrian Armory, and establishing Launch Lenawee to encourage and strengthen other entrepreneurs. After a presentation by Honorable Margaret M.S. Noe, Hickman stated, “Mary and Mark Murray lead by example and inspire others. They clearly love Lenawee.”
Three additional awards were given, which the Lenawee Community Foundation agreed to continue through the alliance with Lenawee United Way, that established Lenawee Cares as a program of the Foundation. They included the Stubnitz, Community Pillar and Incito Awards.
Jim Hartley was the 37th annual recipient of the Stubnitz Award, honoring his exemplary commitment to Lenawee and volunteerism. He chaired the Lenawee United Way campaign in 2014 and 2015, and the successor Lenawee Cares campaign in 2016. Hartley is an active member of Adrian Morning Rotary, and St. Mary’s of Good Counsel Catholic Church, and serves on the Lenawee Intermediate School District Board of Education. Londa Pickles presented the award, stating, “Jim and community service go hand in hand, and we appreciate his heart to serve others.”
Gleaner Life Insurance Society was honored as the 3rd recipient of the Community Pillar Award for their Gleaner Life Gives program. In two years employee plus the corporate gifts have exceeded $130,000 in partnership with Lenawee Cares. Participation includes 10 employees, who are Pillars Club members giving $1,000 or more, as well as six employees under the age of 40, who are Tomorrow’s Pillars giving at graduated, leadership levels. Doug Gray, who presented the Community Pillar Award, stated “Gleaner Life is truly a pillar of our community in charitable giving and in a myriad of ways.”
Makeisha Black was honored with the 8th Incito Award, which recognizes a person under the age of 40, who has emerged as a community leader and demonstrated commitment to philanthropy. Black’s volunteerism was celebrated through her participation in Zonta of Lenawee and Adrian Kiwanis, as well as Turning Point Church, where she serves as a youth group leader. Her nomination stated, “She is a great role model and has a passion for serving others and changing lives.”
Sara and Dave Herriman, Lenawee Cares campaign co-chairs, reported that $533,000 had been raised, a 30% increase over the first year, and acknowledged the top campaigns: Brazeway, Gleaner Life, Old National Bank, Plastic Omnium, Kapnick Insurance, ProMedica North Region, Clift Buick GMC, Lenawee Intermediate School District, Madison School District, Kemner Iott Benz, Gray Institute, and Gurdjian Insurance Group. They also honored Shelley Hickman for chairing the Pillars Club; Jen Lopez for chairing Tomorrow’s Pillars; and Matt Bell of Bell Automotive for sponsoring the Tomorrow’s Pillars activities.
Doug Gray, Lenawee Cares Advisory Board Chair, reported that in addition to raising funds, the advisory board members conduct the grants process, plus over $35,000 was placed in the health and human services endowment to assure community needs will be met in the future. He noted that 2017 pledges are being collected in 2018 with $154,000 already distributed to nonprofits, and an additional $284,500 that would be paid during 2018.
The Lenawee Community Foundation works 24/7, 365 days a year, through its programs, as well as services for which it provides funding. Foundation programs include Lenawee YOUTH Council, Lenawee Imagination Library, Hunters Helping Lenawee, VOLUNTEER! Lenawee, the Community Resource Guide, Healthy Lenawee 2020 community wellness, and more. The Foundation also serves as a fiduciary for the Lenawee College Access Network, and Weekend Snack Sacks. Grants of $2.2 million last year provided immunizations, shelter from domestic violence, car seats for kids in foster care, counseling, diabetes prevention, transportation for seniors, fresh food for people in need, and much more.
The Lenawee Community Foundation works to assist people in creating legacies and investing in Lenawee. You can donate $30 to send Imagination Library books to a preschool child for a year; volunteer; leave 10% in your will or trust to benefit Lenawee; endow annual gifts to your favorite nonprofits; or make gifts or bequests to your home town. Contact the Foundation for help in making your charitable dreams come true.
Additional information about the Lenawee Community Foundation or any of its programs or services can be obtained by contacting Sue Hammersmith, President & CEO, at (517) 423-1729.
“The Lenawee Community Foundation is truly blessed to work with so many caring, community members, who exemplify that ‘Lenawee is first in our name and first in our hearts,’” stated Hammersmith. “It’s incredibly rewarding to know that our gifts and our legacies work for Lenawee County for good, for ever.”