Grants awarded


The Advisory Board of the Community Foundation for Mason County (CFMC) recently approved grant awards to a variety of community organizations in support of projects throughout Mason County. A total of $43,815 was awarded from Unrestricted and Field of Interest Funds through the competitive application process, overseen by numerous volunteer committees.  Fall grant awards are:

  • Caritas Food Pantry - $2,500
  • City of Scottville - $3,000 – police department laptop
  • Friends of Ludington State Park - $9,565 – building an accessible playground
  • Lakeshore Food Club - $5,000 – food pack program
  • Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce  - $3,750 – LEAD Regional Recreation Trails
  • Ludington Area Arts Council - $5,000 – critical heating system upgrades
  • Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association - $2,500 – port holes for Ludington Breakwater Lighthouse
  • Sandcastles Children’s Museum - $5,000 – infant/toddler discovery zone
  • Optimist Club of Ludington - $5,000 – concessions trailer
  • Community Cats TNR - $500 – trap-neuter-return free-roaming cats
  • West Shore Community College - $2,000 – entrepreneurship initiatives

“The generosity of our donors and the excellent work of community nonprofits makes a difference in our community,” said Andrea Large, CFMC executive director. “We look forward to seeing these programs in action.”

Grant applications are accepted twice each year, once in the spring and again in the fall. Nonprofit organizations interested in seeking grant support from the Community Foundation are encouraged visit for additional information about the process. 


WSCC Foundation elects officers


 The West Shore Community College Foundation recently held its annual meeting and elected its board officers. Each officer was elected to a one-year term.

            The board of directors will be led by Mark Sandstedt (chairman), Gary Ferguson (vice chairman), and Dan LaMore (secretary/treasurer).

            Sandstedt stated, “The college’s foundation truly makes a difference in students’ lives by providing scholarships and funding in support of quality academic programming. The college is a leader in driving the region’s economy and I’m honored to help lead an organization that exists to help students succeed, which in turn also drives a healthy local economy.”

            Sandstedt has served on the board for the past four years. Along with his wife, he owns MS Creative Services, a full service marketing agency in Manistee. He is active in the community as president of the Manistee Chippewa 350 Athletic Boosters Club and is a board member of the Industrial Development Corporation.             Ferguson is a retired engineer who was employed for 25 years at Metalworks in Ludington and Fab-Lite in Manistee.  He is active in the community having organized and supervised the Ludington Youth Sailing School, a non-profit school for children. He is also on the Mason County Veterans Endowment Board that serves emergency needs for honorably discharged Mason County veterans and is a frequent Ludington State Park volunteer.

            LaMore is a senior vice president for the Christman Company construction managers which has ten offices throughout the Midwest. The company has completed many projects in Mason, Manistee and Oceana counties. LaMore has homes in Pentwater and Onekama and serves on several voluntary boards including Habitat for Humanity and Mission Development International from Nashville.

            Carolyn Schnepel, of Ludington, and Deborah Smith Olsen, of Baldwin, were reelected to a new term on the board. The remaining board members are Mike Ennis, Tom Paine, Brian Pyrah, Jim Scatena, Ron Steiner, Willie Reed, William Roach, Richard M. Wilson, Jr., and Zelal Umran.

            James Barker stepped down as a board member and the foundation presented a service award to him for his leadership since May 2014. He remains on the college’s board of trustees.  Barker, who is a 1993 alumnus of the college, is the president of Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital.

            The mission of the foundation is to develop and provide resources to advance the college’s mission of serving students and the community.


Friends of Ludington State Park awarded grants toward playground projec


Seeks $15,000 in new donations by Nov. 15 to match $62,727 grant

Friends of Ludington State Park was awarded two grants in recent days towards the family-friendly, accessible playground project proposed for the Hamlin Lake Beach picnic area.

The Community Foundation for Mason County awarded the FLSP project $9,535 to help with purchase of the equipment for the two playscape project.

“We are very thankful for the Community Foundation for Mason County’s generous grant in support of this project and for their hosting a fund within the foundation where the public can donate to the project,” Bob Sasin, FLSP president said. “The foundation’s support is very important to the success of this project.”

GameTime Inc. awarded a $62,727.50 grant towards purchase of the equipment – half the total for equipment if FLSP purchases the equipment by Nov. 15.

In addition to the community foundation’s grant, $30,000 from FLSP and other donations to date, FLSP still needs to raise about $15,000 more by Nov. 15 to be able to match the GameTIme grant.

 “We are looking forward to completing this playground for the community, visitors, and campers to our beautiful State Park,” Sasin said. “This is a matching fund. It is a great opportunity for us to achieve our financial goal in a timely manner. I encourage members of the community and FLSP to participate in any level they deem affordable. Working together we can make this happen.”

In essence, the next $15,000 in donations will allow FLSP to accept the $62,727.50 grant from the Alabama manufacturer of the playground equipment to be used for the park. The money comes from a grant program the company administers nationwide. Sinclair Recreation of Holland, a designer, installer and representative of GameTime, designed the playground with input from FLSP, Mason County accessibility advocates Jamie Spore and Shelby Soberalski and park users. Sinclair assisted FLSP in securing the GameTime grant.

“This is wonderful news for the Friends of Ludington State Park and for the Ludington State Park’s visitors,” James Gallie, Ludington State Park manager, said. “The friends group has put a lot of work towards bringing an accessible playground into the community and these grants will really help make this playground a reality.  We’re so happy for them.”

Friends of Ludington State Park is a 501(c)3 charity and donations are tax deductible.

There are several ways to donate: By mailing a check to Friends of Ludington State Park, P.O. Box 123, Ludington, MI, 49431. Indicate playground on the check in the note area. Donate online through the Community Foundation for Mason County’s website, and under “Give” select Friends of Ludington State Park Playground to donate to the project using a credit card or deliver a donation to the Ludington State Park office during business hours. There’s a donation box at the desk.

Successfully matching the grant also would mean FLSP is about two-thirds of the way to its goal of $200,000. It plans to build the playground in June, 2018.

About $75,000 more will still need to be raised to purchase the poured-in-place surfacing, the fee for supervision of the community volunteer build in June and incidentals. The Michigan Parks and Recreation Division has indicated it will provide significant funding for the surfacing, but has not yet indicated the exact amount.

The Ludington State Park staff will also provide in-kind services in building sidewalks and curbing for the playground, helping reduce the cost of the playground, and will provide some paid staff to help during the volunteer community build, which also kept the cost down.

The playground features two playscapes, one for ages 2 through 5 and one for ages 5 through 12 allowing for interactive play for children of all abilities.  

The current playground near the site consists of a swing set and a slide, about 60 years old. They will remain in place.

To see a video overview of the playground design and to follow the progress of the project and keep up to date of Friends of Ludington State Park doings on the group’s Facebook Page and its website,

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