West Marquette County Health Foundation Partners with West End Schools

Ishpeming- MI – The Western Marquette County Health Foundation is pleased to announce a new partnership with Ishpeming Public Schools, Negaunee Public Schools, NICE Community Schools and Republic/Michigamme School District. This partnership will provide $50,000 in funding for health related programs. In May, the foundation board met with district superintendents to pledge $12,500 to each district for the 2015/2016 academic year. This partnership is expected to become an ongoing annual funding opportunity for the school districts and funding amounts will be determined annually. This support falls outside of the foundation’s normal competitive grant cycle and into an annual level of support for health related initiatives as the district boards of education see fit.

Kori Tossava, treasurer, explains, “As a grant making foundation, we have had many organizations express an interest in working with us for ongoing support of their nonprofit or operations. Many of these are honorable organizations that have a significant participation in our geographic area. However, as a board we met to identify where the best opportunity for this sort of ongoing partnership should be. We believe that partnering with the schools provides the best approach.”

Ron Meyer, president, agreed. “When we (the foundation board) were advocating for more than the original $1M to go the foundation upon the sale of Bell Hospital to LifePoint, it was because of the amazing community support that had been behind building the new hospital less than a decade ago. The community raised $7M toward that building and the foundation received $7M from the sale of it. That coincidence is not lost on us (the community members that make up the board) – so we have to be strong stewards of these funds- we have to make sure it benefits our friends and neighbors. THAT is our priority.”

When the foundation begins to access the investment earning from the income, it will give approximately $150-$200,000 per year for health related initiatives in Western Marquette County. The foundation will continue to offer two competitive grant cycles per year (April 1 and October 1), and the school partnership enhance, not replace, that cycle. Every year, the district boards of education will identify individual priorities; the funds must be used for a new or enhanced health or wellness related programs and must be for the benefit of the general student population.

“It’s a perfect partnership,” Tossava goes on to explain. “We had the opportunity to meet with the superintendents to discuss this idea and got great feedback. We explained that when we look at the foundation’s funding priority of health and wellness programming and geographic priority of the two cities and nine townships that make up Western Marquette County, the obvious choice was to work towards making the youth in those areas healthier. Who better to do that than the organizations and people that spend 180 days with about 3,500 of our kids every year, and every year they each get a new cohort. If we can provide funding to the districts in our region to develop programming that helps our youth become healthier and learn better habits, it feels like we’re getting in on the ground floor and really impacting our community.”

The Western Marquette County Health Foundation was created from the sale of Bell Hospital to LifePoint and prioritizes funding based on programs that serve individuals in a specific geographic area, which is defined as the two cities (Ishpeming & Negaunee) and nine townships (Ishpeming, Negaunee, Ely, Republic, Michigamme, Tilden, Champion, Humboldt, Richmond).

The Foundation is dedicated to providing funding for health and wellness solutions for the communities within Western Marquette County. This includes, but is not limited to, the programs addressing the following Critical Health Indicators of the region (2010).

Chronic Disease Education: Diabetes, Asthma, Arthritis, Cancer, Heart Disease
Mental Health and Social & Emotional Support
Prenatal Health
Health and Wellness
Un-or under-insured, primarily children
Since its transition in 2014, the foundation has approved funding for approximately $100,000 to nonprofits through grants and donations. For more information on Western Marquette County Health Foundation, you may call (906) 204-2395, email info@wmqtcountyhealthfoundation.org, visit cktfqwg5-liquidwebsites.com or their office at 910 US 41 West, Ishpeming, MI 49849.


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