The mission of the M&M Area Community Foundation is to inspire people to provide lasting legacies that enrich our communities. We are committed to helping donors achieve their charitable goals by making the process of giving easier and more efficient.
Communities We Serve
The M&M Area Community Foundation partners with and provides support to charitable organizations whose work benefits the residents of Marinette and Menominee Counties.
Finance & Program Director
Board of Directors
At Large Executive Committee
At Large Executive Committee
Crossing state lines, bridging generations: A brief history of the M&M Area Community Foundation
In the early 1990’s, community leaders recognized the aspiration for a community foundation dedicated to serving Marinette and Menominee Counties. Their interest was fostered by matching grants offered by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) for communities throughout Michigan as well as the guidance and inspiration of Betty Weemes. Betty had dedicated a great deal of her life to promoting the benefits of community foundations and thus served as an invaluable resource. The WKKF, founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. In the early 1990’s, WKKF dedicated a substantial pool of funds to be used solely as matching funds for communities throughout Michigan that were willing to start a local community foundation. These matching grants focused on issues and causes having strong youth involvement. The WKKF grants required a high level of youth involvement with the funds used towards development of a Youth Advisory Committee (YAC).
Several members of the Menominee Rotary Club met to brainstorm and strategize. As a result of their efforts, several additional community leaders joined the core group to lay the ground work to formally organize a local community foundation. The founding Board of Directors were: Dave Higley, Wes Hoffman, Roger Derusha, John Seaborg, Randy Neelis, Don Gehrke Mary Staudenmaier, Katie Jones, John Reinke and Matt Minor.
On August 29, 1994, the “Menominee Area Community Foundation” was formally incorporated as a Michigan Domestic Non-Profit Corporation. To better serve Menominee county as well as Marinette county, on January 24, 1996, the Foundation officially changed its name to M&M Area Community Foundation.
During the first round of WKKF 50% matching funding, the MMACF raised $75,000. The initial local funds that were raised came from multiple sources, but the vast majority of these funds were donated through the generosity of our local banks. During the second round of WKKF matched funding, the MMACF raised $180,000 in qualifying funds.
With the final deadline approaching, the MMACF aggressively sought out as much local funding as possible to provide the Foundation with as large of a base as possible from which to enter the post-WKKF era. With the substantial help of local banks and individuals, the MMACF was successful in raising approximately $1,000,000 of qualifying funds.
By this date, MMACF endowed funding was approaching $2,000,000. Of this amount, approximately $625,000 was Kellogg related and therefore, dedicated specifically to youth related matters.
Sara Lambrecht was hired as the first Executive Director and served in that part-time capacity until the MMACF continued its growth by moving to a full time Executive Director.
Our current Executive Director; Paula Gruszynski has served in her capacity since February 2015.
Our Core Values
- Building Community Leadership: As a leader in promoting philanthropy to strengthen our communities through grants and scholarships, we work in collaboration with individuals and other organizations to mobilize resources to meet their goals and objectives.
- Respect for our Donors: We respect our donors’ desire for privacy or publicity of their gifts and maintain a donor Bill of Rights. We seek their views on the needs of our communities and provide them with flexible gifting and granting opportunities.
- Integrity: We are honest in our dealings with our donors and grant applicants, ensuring that we deliver on our promises to them. Our word is our bond.
- Diversity: We represent the diverse interests of the communities we serve including social, professional, cultural, gender and geographic.
- Guiding Stewardship: We manage financial resources entrusted to us effectively and efficiently, matching the donors’ objectives with the appropriate investment strategy.
- Excellence and Innovation: We find ways to make peoples’ dreams come true by promoting continuous improvement, creativity and leadership to serve our donors and community.
What’s a (YAC)?
YAC stands for Youth Advisory Committee. It is a subcommittee of a Community Foundation with a permanently endowed youth fund composed of youth members ages 12-21 who review and allocate grant dollars to local non-profit youth programming.
- Over 20 years ago, in efforts to increase the giving capacity of Community Foundations and to engage youth in the grant making process, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation sponsored a Youth Challenge for Community Foundations to grow youth endowment funds.
- These endowment funds were to be used exclusively for grants allocated by youth advisory committees for local non-profit youth programming.
- Today, there are over 1,500 young people serving on 86 youth grant making committees, with endowment fund assets exceeding $62 million
- Youth grant makers across the state collectively give $1.5 million in grants per year.
Membership in YAC is open to Marinette and Menominee county youth, ages 12-21, who are interested in serving their community and willing to volunteer their time. Belonging to YAC is good for students and great for the community.
- Youth Advisory Committee members benefit by:
- Participating in a real-life leadership experience
- Learning about the needs of youth in the community
- Understanding the role of non-profit organizations in the community by reviewing grant requests
- Gaining decision-making skills and learning to work as part of a diverse group
- Appreciating the value of service to the community
- Making new friends who attend different schools.
If you are interested in becoming a member of YAC, please contact the Foundation office for more information.