The Community Foundation for Muskegon County, or CFFMC, has been an active, unique and important part of the Muskegon County landscape for nearly 60 years. Focused on being for the community and not just in it, this group makes connections and helps pool resources and talent to connect the help available to those that need it.
“We aim to have our finger on the pulse of the community and the work that’s happening here,” says Janelle Mair, CFFMC vice president, programs.
The group holds over 1,200 funds with assets topping $225 million and, combined with its affiliate community foundations in Mason and Oceana counties, awarded over $12.6 million in grants and scholarships in 2018.
Through pooling of donor resources, both in unrestricted and donor-advised funds, as well as grant writing, the CFFMC shapes its decision-making and priorities based on three goals: building an inclusive community, creating hope and opportunity for youth and collaborative decision-making for the common good.
Support for Northern Initiatives Business Loans
This statewide Northern Initiatives program provides business loans to those who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to secure loans from traditional banks. The CFFMC provided a grant to help support this initiative’s expansion in the Lakeshore area and then provided an investment to help the program be successful in Muskegon County.
“Our program-related investment provided them dollars that they could leverage to pull down additional loan dollars to help provide loans to individuals and small businesses that were looking to establish or grow their business but weren’t eligible for traditional bank loans ... thus increasing economic development — with a strong focus on women and individuals of color,” says Mair.
The initiative not only supports local community members’ dreams, it encourages them to stay local and helps drive economic growth and hiring. The ripple effects of encouraging local small businesses have already been vast. Most recently, the program has helped locals Tacitus Bailey- Yabani and Jessica Bailey-Yabani, who will use their loan to open a Ghanaian food truck called Abeshi Fyah Truck.