News and Announcements
This spring, BCCF's Youth Advisory Council decided to adopt a program similar to one they saw being done in Stueben County -- an Intro to Philanthropy Presentation to 5th graders in the county. They piloted the program in three 5th grade classrooms this year to gain feedback and prepare them to offer it on a wider scale in the fall.
The Intro to Philanthropy presentation introduces younger students to philanthropy and provides an overview of the non-profits in our service area. YAC aims to help others recognize the different ways to give back and hopefully inspire younger people to get involved in making a difference early on.
After the presentations, each 5th grade class was given the opportunity to choose a non-profit that would receive a $200 grant from their classroom through YAC's fund held at BCCF. Mr. Coats's class at Lakeland Elementary chose to give their grant to CAPA Council of Branch County. Mrs. Dougan and Mr. Grable's classrooms chose to join together and give $200 to Branch Pride, and $200 to Animal Aid of Branch County!
YAC's goal is to offer this learning opportunity to all 5th grade classrooms in Branch County and Colon in the future!
Our next highlighted scholarship recipient is Payton James!
Payton is a 2020 Union City High School graduate. She has recently completed her second year at Saginaw Valley State University where she is working toward her B.S. in Cellular Biology, Molecular Biology, and Biomedical Sciences. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree she hopes to attend the University of Michigan School of Dentistry to earn a Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS). At Saginaw Valley State she has made either the Presidents or the Deans list all four semesters and is involved in the Health Professions Association (HPA) and the book club.
Say hello to our next scholarship highlight, Allison Miller!
Allison is a 2022 graduate of Coldwater High School and will be attending Purdue University this fall to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian. She is part of the Dean’s Scholars Program within the College of Agriculture and the Honors College at Purdue University. She has also been selected as a Veterinary Scholar, meaning that she is one of only eight to eighteen students that are already accepted into the Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University. Therefore, Allison will be studying on a pre-veterinary medicine track with a major in animal sciences within the College of Agriculture. In high school, Allison has been a part of the Interact Club and the National Honor Society. She also played and was a captain on four varsity sports for multiple years, including volleyball, basketball, soccer, and track. Allison won the “Student of the Year Award for the Math Department” and the “Student of the Year Award for the Spanish Department”. She has also worked at Bronson Veterinary Services over the past three years as a Veterinary Assistant. Allison’s dream is to either operate her own veterinary business or work as a veterinary researcher.
Meet our first highlighted scholarship recipient, Samuel Welch!
Sam is a 2019 Bronson High School graduate and has attended Michigan State University for the past 3 years studying History Education. He has a passion for both education and history, desiring to make a positive impact on the lives of students. He has made the Dean's List each year at MSU and maintains a 3.86 GPA. Alongside academic achievements, he is also involved in the Cross Culture campus ministry at the Lansing Area Church of Christ. He will be a senior this coming semester, and after graduation he has plans to move to Grand Rapids to pursue a teaching career.
The Branch County Community Foundation (BCCF) and the Branch County 4-H Foundation are excited to announce that the Branch County Gifts of Grain fund has received its first grain donations.
With gifts of grain, grain or other commodity crops are gifted to benefit both BCCF and the 4-H Foundation. Gifting grain is a common concept, especially in rural areas enriched with agriculture. BCCF knew there was a chance to create this opportunity for local farmers to donate grain or other commodity crops, but partnering with another organization to make this giving program successful was key. Branch County Gifts of Grain is a community partnership between the Branch County Community Foundation (BCCF) and the Branch County 4-H Foundation.
The first grain donation was made in February 2022 by Austin Hostetler. Austin was involved in 4-H from the time he was 10 until he was 18, and received a scholarship to further his education. Austin knew that the Gifts of Grain program would be an easy way to give back to the community and an organization that made an impact on his life.
“When I heard I could make a donation to the 4-H Foundation and the Community Foundation by giving grain, I knew it would be a good way to give back to both organizations that do great work in the county I grew up in,” said Austin. “I hope that my donation will help give kids the same opportunities I had while I was in 4-H.”
In March of 2022, BCCF and the Branch County 4-H Foundation held an event for local famers to come and learn more about the Gifts of Grain program. Shortly after the event, the fund received its second donation from Oak Prairie Farms.
“It was our pleasure to make a donation to the Gifts of Grain Fund,” said Ron Hostetler. “We enjoy supporting the youth involved in 4-H. 4-H provides the opportunity to gain leadership experience, work ethic, and responsibility which are great building blocks for the future. Along with 4-H, we know the importance of the Branch County Community Foundation. We appreciate all of the work they do for our county and the Colon
community. Gifts of Grain was a great way to support both organizations to better our communities.”
Supporting both BCCF and the Branch County 4-H Foundation helps increase the positive impact in our community. The funding is divided equally between BCCF and the Branch County 4-H Foundation. The support for BCCF allows increased flexible spending to meet emerging needs and make investments in our community. Simultaneously, it allows the Branch County 4-H Foundation to offer increased enrichment and leadership opportunities for the youth in our area. If you are interested in learning more about the Gifts of Grain program or how you can donate grain, visit www.BrCoFoundation.org/gifts-of-grain.
Meet our last 2021 scholarship highlight, Adyn Bower!
Adyn is a 2021 Graduate of Colon High School where she was in Drama Club, Spanish Club, Varsity Club, Key Club, and was a 5 sport athlete for all 4 years. She played volleyball, basketball, softball, track, and rode on the equestrian team for Colon High School. Adyn attended the Branch Area Careers Center Criminal Justice Program for 2 years while in high school and loved every minute of her time there. This sparked her desire to become a Michigan State Trooper upon completion of her college career. Adyn has always been very active in her community. She is a member of the Colon Grange, Mendon United Methodist Church, and the Colon Community Fire and Rescue Department. Her involvement in these organizations has molded her into the community minded individual that she is today. 4H has also played a huge role in the person she has become. She has shown multiple species of livestock at St Joseph County Grange Fair, and Horses at the Branch County Fair for going on 9 years. She is attending Glen Oaks Community College in the fall, pursuing an Associate's Degree in Business while playing on the Viking's Women's Volleyball Team. She plans on transferring to Western Michigan University after Glen Oaks to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Business. Upon completion of her college career, she hopes to be accepted into the Michigan State Police Academy and become an MSP Trooper. Even with her busy schedule and community organizations, Adyn finds time to do things she enjoys such as hunting, fishing, kayaking, and especially spending time with family and her friends.
Congratulations, Adyn, and congratulations to all of our 2021 scholarship recipients! For a full list of this year's recipients, visit the scholarships page on our website!
Our next scholarship highlight is Ciarra Hardy! Ciarra is a 2019 Bronson Jr./Sr. High School graduate. During high school, she was a member of the National Honor Society and a local 4-H group where she took part in many community service projects. Ciarra also played on the girl's varsity tennis team all four years of high school. She participated in the dual enrollment program through Glen Oaks Community College her junior and senior years. In May of 2020, she received her Associate's degree from Glen Oaks. Ciarra now attends Grand Valley State University where she just completed her first year and is majoring in Elementary Education.
Today's Scholarship Highlight is Madison Ratkowski! Madison is a 2021 graduate of Bronson Jr/Sr High School. She participated in many sports at Bronson including volleyball, basketball, softball, and competitive cheer. She has also been involved in 4-H for many years, showing rabbits and starter calves. Her future plans are to become a Registered Nurse. She plans to attend Kellogg Community College for two years and then transfer to Western Michigan University to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Our next scholarship highlight is Nolan Nohr! Nolan is a graduate of Quincy High School, where he enjoyed playing soccer, running hurdles and 4x400 in track, and performing on stage. He started performing as a fourth grader with Tibbits Young Audiences, and continued to grow as an actor in the Quincy Drama Society. He has invested in rural youth ministry by mentoring middle school boys as part of the Lead Team at Crossroads Farm in Reading, MI. Nolan is spending the summer on staff at Hiawatha Youth Camp in the upper peninsula. In August, he is excited to attend Hillsdale College to continue his learning in liberal arts through theatre and public speaking.
Today's scholarship highlight is Kaitlyn Colyer! Kaitlyn is a 2018 Coldwater High School graduate entering her fourth and final year at the University of Michigan. She is studying Organizational Studies with an emphasis on organizational misconduct and minors in Public Policy, Spanish, and Music. Outside of her studies, she is a rank leader of the Michigan Marching Band's piccolo section, Co-President of Ann Arbor's chapter of Take Back the Night, and a color guard performer in the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps. This year, she will pursue an Honors thesis at the intersection of her two interests: organizational misconduct in marching arts ensembles. After college, Kaitlyn hopes to attend law school at Georgetown University to study family law.
BCCF is your local resource for philanthropy. We offer people and businesses of means---no matter how great or how small their person resources---an opportunity to give back. We invest community gifts to build endowments that generate income both now and in the future.