GHACF celebrates 50 years with activities throughout the year

The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation (GHACF), one of Michigan’s largest public community organizations, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of community engagement activities this year. 
At the Day of Giving Back, more than 50 volunteers donated their time. 
GHACF kicked off the slate of activities with a volunteer event in May centered around giving back to the community.
At the Day of Giving Back, more than 50 volunteers helped maintain gardens, trails, and natural habitats at Ottawa Sands and Duncan Woods and painted the pump house at Grand Haven’s iconic Musical Fountain. On Grand Haven’s beautiful beach at Rosy Mound Natural Area, a group of volunteers cleaned up litter and removed invasive species that put native habitats at risk.
“We look forward to celebrating and honoring our 50th anniversary throughout 2021,” GHACF President Hadley Streng says. “Due to COVID-19 restrictions and safety concerns, we pivoted from one large celebratory event into many smaller-scale but equally impactful activities throughout the year. We feel the events we have scheduled this year are a fitting tribute to the foundation’s impact on the community over the past half-century.”
This summer, the foundation is celebrating its commitment to the Grand Haven area with community activities, some of which include:

Community Book Read: Summer 2021
Every Grand Haven area second-grader will receive a copy of the book Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? Additional copies will be available for purchase at The Bookman. Donated books are sponsored by Shape Corp., a component fund of the GHACF.

Foundational Artwork Exhibit: June 22-July 21
Local artists can submit pieces that spotlight places that have benefited from GHACF to Foundational, where the artwork will be on display and for sale at the Grand Haven Community Center.

Public Sidewalk Chalk Art: June 22-July 21
Draw what makes the community special — in chalk! Post a photo of your sidewalk chalk art to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and tag GHACF for your chance to be featured on the foundation’s accounts. Limited supplies of chalk will be available at the Grand Haven and Spring Lake farmers markets in July, as well as the Spring Lake and Grand Haven public libraries. See for additional locations.

Local Farmers Markets: Summer 2021
Community members are invited to visit the Grand Haven and Spring Lake farmers markets for healthy food programming on Saturdays throughout the summer.

Buy GHACF Local: June through the end of 2021
Local Northwest Ottawa County businesses are selling GHACF-themed items to celebrate the 50th anniversary.

The foundation was founded in 1971 with a $1,200 donation, and in 2020 granted a record $8 million to the community. These donations created positive change across the GHACF’s six core impact areas: Arts & Culture, Diversity & Inclusion, Economic & Community Betterment, Education, Environment, and Health & Human Services.
“While the pandemic challenged our original celebration plans, we were thankful to be able to kick off our milestone year in a way that is truly reflective of what we’re all about at the foundation — giving back to our community,” Streng says.
To learn more about upcoming GHACF events, visit

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.