News & Event
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A new Leadership Council has been formed to collectively focus on workforce housing solutions. The Leadership Council, composed of the area’s top community and business development organizations will work to ensure housing is available for all area workers.
Mike Goorhouse, President of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area and Holly Johnson, President of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation will serve as co-chairs of the newly formed Housing Next Leadership Council. The Council also will include representatives from the West Coast Chamber, Chamber of Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg, United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties, Ottawa County, Lakeshore Advantage and Community SPOKE.
“Affordable housing was already a big problem in our community and it is getting bigger. Recent estimates of the shortage have grown to between 12,000 and 15,000 units, said Goorhouse, co-chair of the Housing Next Leadership Council. “Local businesses, government, and nonprofit organizations are all seeing the lack of affordable housing creating tremendous difficulty in many families’ day to day lives and constraining our overall ability to grow and thrive as a community.”
The Housing Next Leadership Council was formed due to the extensive housing research effort lead by the United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties – Ottawa Housing Next. The Leadership Council’s first order of business will be to hire a director fully focused on workforce housing solutions. This individual will be the champion for workforce housing solutions in our community. The position description for any interested applicants can be on the United Way website: https://www.ottawaunitedway.org/employment. The Council plans to have its new director in place by the end of 2017.
“Lack of affordable housing is both a social and an economic issue, and will require government, business and nonprofits all working together to make significant progress towards a solution,” said Johnson “I can’t remember a time when these eight organizations have collaborated so closely to address a key community priority.” In addition to the Leadership Council, there will be a broader Advisory Board which will have representation from developers, businesses, philanthropy, housing nonprofits, government and residents.
Housing Next has identified four strategies to help our community better access these market-driven solution
In addition to Johnson and Goorhouse, other members of the newly formed Leadership Council include:
Lyn Raymond, Director of the Lakeshore Housing Alliance will serve as liaison from the Leadership Council to the broader Advisory Panel.
“United Way is pleased to transition the leadership on this effort to this Leadership Council, while still keeping all the important members of Ottawa Housing Next informed and engaged,” said Patrick Moran, President of the United Way of Ottawa and Allegan Counties. “This cross sector council is the right group at the right time to increase market driven housing solutions.”
After a detailed application review process, area students were awarded scholarships in varying amounts from 94 different scholarship funds, for a total investment of over $600,000.
Students and their families came to the Yacht Basin Marina to meet the generous donors who made it possible for the students to receive these scholarships.
Mike Goorhouse, Community Foundation President and CEO, congratulated the scholars who he hopes will become future leaders in our community. “We’re honored to partner with your scholarship donors to support your educational journey,” he said.
Stacy Timmerman, Director of Scholarships, thanked the donors for their “continued support of the inspiring and deserving students.” She also addressed the students about the scholarship process. Stacy has spent many hours over the last few months reading through applications and meeting with review committees to determine recipients. “Students, please know that in our extremely competitive scholarship process, you were selected as the right person for your scholarship. We couldn’t be happier for you!” Stacy told them.
Jim Bishop from West Michigan Community Bank, who sponsored the event, shared his story on the many reasons he supports the Community Foundation. He spoke about how he received community foundation scholarships as a student and how that generosity changed his life for the better. It later inspired him to contribute financially and to get involved in board service at the community foundation as an adult. He encouraged each of the students to pay it forward to the next generation with time, talent, and/or treasure whenever they’re able.
The event also featured a student panel where four college students spoke about life in college and how different it can be from high school, some difficulties that come with college, and advice for incoming college freshman.
Stephanie Arndt from Hope College talked about how difficult it was for her to change her major and that she had to overcome her fear of claiming an English major, but it was” the most rewarding thing” she has ever done.
On advice for the scholarship recipients, student Kiannah Vandenberg from Grand Valley State University reminded the student scholars not to be upset or quit if they get a B or C on an assignment or in a course for the first time, as college classes can be very challenging and difficult even for the best students. She also talks about the opportunities of college internships which can give students college credit and experience doing something that they love.
After the panel, the reception lasted another hour with students and donors talking over cupcakes and lemonade and getting pictures taken together.
The Community Foundation is so happy to host this event that allows the students to meet and talk with their scholarship donors. We are so thankful to all of the donors for making such a big impact in the lives of these students. We congratulate these exemplary 2017 scholarship recipients and wish them every success in higher education and beyond.
Outdoor Discovery Center - ecoSystem Education Network
Macatawa Area Coordinating Council - Creating a Green Infrastructure Vision for the Macatawa Watershed
Ladder Homes - Housing Capacity Expansion
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan - Holland/Zeeland Career Training Center
Beacon of Hope - Building Campaign
CFHZ President/CEO Mike Goorhouse is delighted to have Colleen join the staff “Colleen is the perfect fit for this position and I couldn’t be more grateful that she is willing to bring her talents and passion to our organization. With her successful track record of fundraising in this community, her connections with professional advisors and her longstanding personal commitment to our mission, I believe Colleen is going to take the Community Foundation’s development and donor service work to new heights!”
Hill has been involved with the Community Foundation for 10 years and served on the Board and Distribution Committee since 2016. In addition to her service at the Community Foundation, Hill is actively involved in a number of community organizations. She currently chairs the advisory council of Kid's Food Basket – Holland and serves on the board for Center for Women in Transition. Hill was formerly Chair of the Center for Women in Transition’s Forward Together Endowment Campaign, co-chair of the Herrick District Library millage campaign and past board member of the Holland Young Professionals. “It is such an honor to join the amazing team at the Community Foundation. It gives me great joy to know that so many individuals, families and companies have put their faith in the Community Foundation. I consider it a great responsibility to serve and guide donors toward achieving their giving goals.” Hill said. “I have long valued our Community’s Endowment and its ability to respond swiftly to the ever-changing needs of our community and invest strategically in initiatives that will enable our community to thrive today, tomorrow and forever.”
Hill succeeds Ann Query, who served as CFHZ’s part-time Director of Development for the last 18 months. “We couldn’t be more grateful to Ann for helping us out this last year and a half as we finished our campaign and tried to keep up with the increased demand for our services. She has been committed to CFHZ for more than 25 years and her passion for our mission has inspired many to support our work.” says Mike Goorhouse. Prior to joining the staff, Query served on CFHZ’s Board of Trustees for over 15 years, serving as Chair of the Board on two different occasions.
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