Otsego Community Foundation 2021 Annual Report

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SO. MUCH. GOOD. Otsego Community Foundation 2021 ANNUAL REPORT
Each spring, the Community Foundation produces an annual report reflecting on the good work from the previous year. We love doing it. It’s a great way to show our gratitude and share the impact of your generosity. THIS YEAR IS DIFFERENT. As we began this process for 2021, our community was devastated by an F3 tornado. Mindful of the needs of our community and our commitment to relief efforts, we made a decision. No traditional 2021 annual report.

Instead, we will use the time saved creating a traditional annual report SUPPORTING THOSE IN NEED.

During the time we would have been editing copy, cropping photos, gathering quotes from donors and impact stories from grantees, we were redirected to disaster philanthropy efforts.

It seems like the right thing to do. We think you’ll agree.

Still . . . we have much news to share and progress to report. No photos, bells or whistles. Just . . . SO. MUCH. GOOD.


Since we last reported, the Community Foundation has made 157 grants, deploying a total of $291,250.73 to support so many worthwhile programs, projects, and initiatives, in 2021. Those charitable dollars are making a real impact. Through purposeful grants, the OCF was able to invest in a variety of programs ranging from temporary comfort to get through the darkest days to long-term solutions providing brighter futures. From supporting those in need, helping kids in our local schools, protecting our great outdoors, investing in mental and physical health, to expanding access to recreational, arts, and cultural activities, and so much more.

Since our inception in 1994, the Community Foundation has disbursed more than $3,053,516, an impressive total in a county of only 25,000 residents.


Realistically, we knew all the challenges of 2020 would not instantly disappear; however, there was a glimmer of hope. We summarized our pandemic efforts with the phrase Give. Recover. Thrive. As we entered 2021, we transitioned into the recovery phase.

As our community navigated recovery, plenty of new challenges presented themselves as organizations sought to return to the new normal. The shutdown was the end for some nonprofits and a new beginning for others as they used the downtime to reevaluate and reenter with efficient and effective ways to deliver their missions. With the generosity of so many fueling our work, we set out to make a difference. We were reminded that the core of our work is the concept of “forever,” which is at times daunting but overall exciting.

While the world has changed in countless ways, your giving spirit hasn’t changed.

Your generosity is more evident now than ever. As 2021 fades into the past and the uncertainty remains, 469 of you chose to make a charitable contribution to the Community Foundation. Your gifts since our last update have totaled $721,968.

We didn’t know how the new normal would influence your giving; through it all, you continued to be a generous partner.

Yet another example of SO. MUCH. GOOD.

Thank you.


With 90 different funds, the Community Foundation offers multiple ways to support the place you call home, providing flexible grant-making dollars to keep Otsego County moving forward. Started by individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits, these funds provide vehicles for doing good in our community.

Central to the future of Otsego County is the Community Fund. When you give to the Community Fund, your gift combines with others, creating a long-term and flexible resource for support. As the endowment grows over time, the Community Foundation’s ability to apply resources where they are needed the most, when they are needed the most increases.

Anyone can have a lasting impact on Otsego County, helping our communities become stronger, healthier, more vibrant, and ready for the future. For a complete list of our funds, go to: www.otsegofoundation.org/give/list-of-funds

FINANCES. to the Community Foundation are stewarded carefully. The endowment is professionally managed to prioritize longterm strategies for growth and stability. Stability is a challenge in a time when the only thing certain about the market is uncertainty. Our diverse investment strategies and diligent oversight practices have supported us through the tough times, helping the Community Foundation grow assets of $7,608,829 through December 31, 2021, compared to assets of $6,361,471 at the same point in 2020. review

our audited financial statements and Federal Form 990, visit us at: www.otsegofoundation.org/learn/#financials


Through it all, our supportive board of directors remained engaged and, in fact, rose to a higher level of governance. We had robust discussions, divided votes, permission to try, understanding, patience, and at times forgiveness when something we tried didn’t go as planned. So often, we highlight the grants and the funds because who really wants to hear the details of a governance or investment meeting? Yet the outcome of these meetings continues our commitment to philanthropic excellence and supports the systems that drive the success of the organization that ultimately makes recovery possible.


Paul Hartmann Board Chair Lisha Ramsdell Board Vice Chair James Camiller Treasurer Cherie Nutter Secretary Grace Blust Barb Brown Bob Courtois Bill Forreider Justine Hees Kaylie McKinley Brandie Meisner Pat Morse Brian Pearson Katy XenakisMakowski STAFF Dana Bensinger Executive Director Amanda Sosa Director of Donor Services Karin Beyer Director of Community Philanthropy Patty Urban Administrative Assistant


Recovery from a global pandemic isn’t a 40 or 365-day program. In fact, we can’t tell you how long we will be in this phase. As your Community Foundation, we believe that recovery is a season and all that we are learning will get us to the next season, which is thriving.

As more and more of you choose to GIVE TODAY and PLAN FOR THE FUTURE, you are HELPING OUR COMMUNITY now, while BUILDING LEGACIES that will last.

Each year, we add new members to our Legacy Society— those of you who commit to supporting the causes you care about through your will or estate plan. We’re grateful.

Because of you, the Community Foundation will be at the intersection of resources and opportunities for years to come.

MOVING FORWARD. As we begin our 28th year, we’re filled with optimism and hope. Your generosity has built a resourceful and forward-thinking Community Foundation that will work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for all people in Otsego County, forever. Here’s what we do: • Gather gifts of all sizes, from a variety of donors • Build permanent charitable funds to serve our area • Address a broad range of local issues and community needs through grantmaking • Help donors carry out their philanthropic goals • Provide guidance and leadership on matters of community concern, encourage civic involvement, invite collaboration, and advocate for the common good This is your Community Foundation. Together, we can do SO. MUCH. GOOD.
316 W Main Street, Gaylord, MI 49735 PO Box 344, Gaylord, MI 49734 (989) 731-0597 info@otsegofoundation.org
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