Community foundation honors those committed to ‘giving where you live’

Every year, the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) highlights those making a difference in the community.

This year, nearly 800 community leaders, donors, and nonprofit partners together on Sept. 15 for the annual Celebration of Philanthropy event gathered together in the cavernous shipyard ME Yacht Restoration on Holland's northside.

The festive evening honored those who give where they live and enrich the community through their gifts of time, talent, and treasure.

The evening’s program shared three stories in videos, produced by Dave Purnell/DP Creative Audio & Video, showcasing the power of "giving where you live."

Zeeland Farm Services, a family-owned agricultural company, prioritizes engaging each generation in charitable giving and steadfast commitment to local causes. 

"Charity and giving back to the community in which we all grew up in is extremely important to our family," says ZFS President Cliff Meeuwsen, in a video about why the family's committed to supporting Outdoor Discovery Center, the Critter Barn and farmland preservation.

Women of Color Give, a philanthropic giving collective, created a community for women of color who are historically underrepresented at community decision-making tables and carves out a space to amplify their voices and generate collective power as they reimagine philanthropy to ensure our community is a place where all can thrive. 

"We have grown so much in those three short years. We have a network of about 100 Women of Color leaders in West Michigan. We have over 100 sponsors, donors investors and allies in the community who have also joined us in building this organization. We're going on 15 community partners that we're going to be funding and on top of that our fund has nearly doubled every single year since we launched," says Simone Weithers, who serves on the WOCG board, in a video.

Frank Kraai, a retired schoolteacher and lifelong resident of Holland, recently committed more than $1 million to the creation of an ice skating rink near downtown Holland.

"It's going to bring people together. It's going to permit people of all ages to have fun," says Kraai in a video. "And I want to stress that this isn't a Frank Kraai thing, this is a community thing. We have an opportunity, all of Holland has an opportunity to make that ice rink something special."

Honoring the many individuals, families, organizations, and businesses who give where they live was a natural choice for our event this year, says Mike Goorhouse, President/CEO.

“At the Foundation, we’ve been privileged to have a front row seat for over 70 years as donors direct their charitable resources to local causes, creating positive lasting change in the Holland and Zeeland community. This event was an opportunity for us to celebrate not only the giving spirit of our area but also the varied ways in which that giving spirit shows up in gifts of time and talent as well as treasure," he says. 

The celebratory atmosphere was made possible thanks to 21 restaurant and bar partners who provided a roaming dinner, live music from Vanika Rochette and Friends, and 71 financial sponsors including Legacy sponsor Warner Norcross + Judd.

“We are incredibly grateful for the high level of support for the Celebration of Philanthropy,” says Colleen Hill, Vice President of Development & Donor Services.
“The Foundation is always working to build our Community’s Endowment and help donors achieve their charitable goals; and it’s important to have this opportunity once a year to gather and celebrate the growth of the Community Foundation and all the generous people who recognize the value in investing in local needs, issues, opportunities, neighbors, and neighborhoods.”
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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.