Local and global: MACF and donor funds reach well beyond Midland

Through the Midland Area Community Foundation, donors can help support development and growth way beyond the boundaries of the city. The Foundation was responsible for over $4 million in annual grants to support volunteer, community and philanthropic efforts in Midland County, but you’ll also find MACF’s impact globally.

As originally reported in the Midland Daily News, a fund held at the Community Foundation provided support for two Midland Public School teachers and a small group to travel to Nepal and help celebrate the re-opening of a school damaged by a 2015 earthquake. Kim McMahan, a Spanish teacher at Adams and Central Park elementary schools and Karen Staley, a sixth grade science and reading teacher at Jefferson Middle School, traveled to Nepal January 11-21.

"It never would have been on my radar in a million years," says Kim McMahan, Spanish teacher at Adams and Central Park elementary schools. "It's one of the defining moments of my life."

The duo attended the opening and dedication ceremony of the Saraswati School in Wana, Nepal, along with fellow Midlanders Dave and Marcia Shannon, who had previously traveled to Nepal and knew the school was in need resulting in damage from a 2015 earthquake.

McMahan and Staley each lead a "culture club" at their schools, aimed at broadening the global understanding of students. The funds provided by MACF came from one of the Foundation’s special interest funds through an individual donor and allowed the teachers to provide their classrooms with a substitute while they took time away.

Other recent donations made by the Midland Area Community Foundation include the Arnold Center’s WeGrow Skill Building Program. WeGrow will train individuals with disabilities different sustainable urban agricultural practices and provide additional employment training.

The Foundation’s $100,000 grant provided by the Community Investment Fund, will help offset the total project cost of $334,000 and will support the creation of a vertical hydroponic farm located in Midland. The initiative will sell organic produce to local restaurants, grocers and residents.

Other donations from the Foundation’s grant making efforts include a new pilot program with MidMichigan Health to treat behavioral health, the replacement of the flood-damaged Sanford Senior Center, and support for Bullock Creek High School Band Boosters to help with the cost of replacing band uniforms for students.