As we begin 2013, it is comforting to know that community giving is very alive and well in Montcalm County.
Many of the county’s residents have suffered through the toughest of times in the last few years but there has been and continues to be a mind-set among the county’s residents that they will come together and do whatever they can to help those in need. Those in need has been broadly defined. It is not just individuals that have benefitted but also includes families, businesses, schools, hospitals, human services organizations, etc. All have been supported by large and small gifts. Organizations such as United Way, Greenville Area Community Foundation, Central Montcalm Community Foundation (CMCF), other county nonprofits as well our numerous churches, local businesses, service organizations and individuals have been generous givers. It has not mattered what the dollar amount has been. What has mattered is that so many have been willing to give what they could to help.
The result of this philanthropic mind-set and support has been, that as we move into the new year, there is renewed hope that we as a county have begun the slow process of recovery. The 2010 census data shows that we were one of the few counties in the state that did not lose population. Sure, our growth rate was less than the previous 10 years but it was still positive. Today, as we start 2013 there continues to be signs of economic growth and improved well-being of our residents — new businesses, expansion of existing businesses, reduced unemployment numbers, to name but a few. However, there is the need for continued philanthropic support to sustain the turnaround that is occurring.
One example of how anyone and everyone can participate at whatever level they feel comfortable is a new initiative of the Central Montcalm Community Foundation (which can be replicated by others) to help our school system’s elementary teachers have the classroom supplies and materials they need to educate our young children. In these times of budget constraints in our school system, such simple items as paper, dry erasers, crayons, glue sticks, binders, spiral notebooks, etc. are not always available. That’s why in the Stanton, Sheridan, Sidney area, you will see collection boxes which have a list of what the needs are and how you can contribute. This is but one small example but one that all of us can participate in at a level we feel comfortable. Already, organizations and individuals are stepping up to assist.
The most important thing is for all of us to continue to do in 2013 what we have in that past and that is to support those still in need at a level that we feel comfortable through existing programs and new initiatives. In doing so, we will help ensure the continued economic growth and well-being of Montcalm County and its citizens.
Franz Mogdis is vice chairman of the Central Montcalm Community Foundation.
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