One of the blessings of living where we do is the work that has gone on for decades by organizations that promote the quality of life we have here and, quite frankly, take for granted.
I write here of the Little Traverse Conservancy, the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation -- all of which sport summer annual meetings and issue their annual reports and all founded locally by forward thinkers who sought to preserve, enhance and expand the things that make this area special.
But their work continues and they charge on -- preserving our precious natural areas, making sure our water remains pristine and supporting any number of community projects utilizing donated funds and investment income.
This is the 20th anniversary of the community foundation where, as their annual report notes, just one drop of financial aid can grow over the years into some very serious money indeed.
The community foundation provided its first grant to the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council for $50 in 1997. Fourteen years later, more than $111,000 has found its way to Tip of the Mitt.
In 1995 a $500 grant went out to the Women's Resource Center with funding now at $160,000 overall for that agency.
In 1993, the Crooked Tree Arts Center received a grant of $2,750 which has now grown to $159,000 in funding.
The first year the foundation handed out grants was 1993, when $16,972 went out the door. Since then, $7.6 million has been distributed including $820,000 for 287 grants this year.
One of the most impressive parts of the foundation is its Youth Advisory Committee, where students from six area schools and a contingent from home schoolers make decisions on providing grants to programs that take aim at the needs of youth.
There are other foundations in the community as well -- the North Central Michigan College Foundation and the Northern Michigan Regional Hospital Foundation come to mind -- that look to fund special needs in narrow areas.
But the community foundation provides funding to a whole host of organizations and agencies which all work hard to make this a better community to live, work and raise children in.
As is the case with all of these organizations, a little drop of money when combined with other little drops turns into effective, strong and financially stable organizations. What one comes away with while perusing the annual reports of these special organizations is the huge cross section of people who are adding their little drops by contributing to their financial well being.
I'm sure they'd be delighted to add your name to the list of contributors and friends of the great things we have here in Northern Michigan.
Just build it already
Another meeting, another round of red herrings about a proposed non-motorized trail along the Boyne City-Charlevoix Road. Really Bob Taylor, the danger of someone going out to their mailbox being hit by a bicyclist or inline skater on a tear?
The Little Traverse Wheelway extending from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs has shown itself to be a huge community asset. Whether it's walkers out for their morning exercise, inline skaters whizzing through their exercise or bicyclists from little ones in follow-along carriers to grandparents, literally thousands of people enjoy the trail annually. Unless it's pouring rain, the trail is in use and busy.
Without any muss or fuss.
Which is why the seemingly never-ending squabbles about the Boyne City-Charlevoix trail seem so odd. The questions and concerns have been asked and answered many times over.
Time to build it.
Kendall P. Stanley is retired editor of the Petoskey News-Review. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.