Rotary Charities Grants over $19,000 to Support Benzie County Merger

Traverse City, Mich. – Rotary Charities of Traverse City announced the recipients of their fall-cycle grants last Wednesday, December 7th, totaling $325,000 in the form of 11 grants- including a $19,290 grant to Benzie Home Health Care to support their merger with the Benzie County Commission on Aging.

“With the recent merge between Benzie County Council on Aging and Benzie Home Care, this grant award will help accomplish the final end result of the merger with the new marketing and technology to establish a strong brand for Benzie Senior Resources” said Douglas Durand, Benzie Senior Resources’ Executive Director. “This grant will move Benzie Senior Resources to the forefront to provide services to the 5,800 older adults in Benzie County. fall2016grant-recipients-121316-1The majority of the funds are committed to developing a new marketing strategy to position the agency as a hub of senior services. This is critical in reaching out to the communities of Benzie County in how Benzie Senior Resources will provide a delivery of services to the older adults that in turn will improve their quality of life, their health and safety, their social support systems, their nutrition, and their ability to stay in their homes.”
The merger was coordinated by a team of consultants from NorthSky Nonprofit Network, a program of Rotary Charities of Traverse City, including Jen Booher, Tim Ervin, and Kate Redman. Of his work with the merger, Tim Ervin said “Folks age 60 or more now have a single agency that provides the services and programs they need, supported by a staff that is cross-trained and efficient in seeing that the senior population — well over 30 percent of the County’s total — is the beneficiary of this organizational consolidation.”

The following grants were awarded during the fall grant cycle:

Benzie Area Christian Neighbors: $20,000
Technology upgrades to better serve their neighbors

Benzie County Government: $15,000
Create and begin implementation of a coordinated, comprehensive economic development strategy based on community-driven priorities

Benzie Home Health Care (Benzie Senior Resources): $19,290
Marketing, branding and website development to support the merger between Benzie Home Health Care and the Benzie Commission on Aging resulting in the creation of a new entity, Benzie Senior Resources, which will serve as a hub for seniors

Big Brothers Big Sisters: $34,410
Enhance and deepen the in-school presence for a data-driven pilot mentoring program with Central Grade School

Communities in Schools Northwest Michigan: $33,460
Build capacity of a proven successful program prior to launching it in other rural districts in our region

Good Samaritan Family Services: $36,500
Construct an addition to the current facility to accommodate the His House program for young fathers

Grow Benzie: $40,950
Enhance the physical site to make it more accessible, build a Benzie Bus shelter and create an edible putt-putt golf course

Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation: $36,015
Offer a fresh fruit and vegetable prescription program in Benzie County, modeled after a successful program in Grand Traverse County, customized for citizens in rural Benzie

Northern Family Intervention Services: $20,000
Create brand, communication strategy and case statements to tell the story of NFIS and its successful program to keep youth in crisis with their families

Peace Ranch: $19,375
Hire administrative and volunteer management support to allow the Executive Director to build partnerships and funding to support the equine therapy program

Safe Harbor: $50,000
Renovation of former warehouse space to accommodate an emergency shelter for homeless individuals that includes wrap around services and connections to lead them to more permanent housing

In addition to the single year grants listed above, the Rotary Charities Board voted to renew multiple year funding to Crooked Tree Arts Center, Grass River Natural Area, Parallel 45 and Stoneshouse/Dann’s House.

Since its inception in the mid-70s, Rotary Charities has distributed more than $56 million in the form of 1,250 grants to organizations and non-profits in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Kalkaska and Antrim counties. The public foundation was formed following the 1976 discovery of oil and natural gas reserves on property owned by the Traverse City Rotary Club. Its purpose over the years has been to distribute interest income generated from the oil and gas royalties to organizations throughout the five-county region of northwest Michigan. More information is available at