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Dear Friends of the Bay Harbor Foundation,

We want to thank you! As we reflect on the past 20 years, we are proud to have provided nearly $3,000,000 in grant funds to support the immediate needs of the Little Traverse Bay Region. As the Founders of the Bay Harbor Foundation met on December 20, 2003 it was a critical directive that the newly formed organization display good stewardship of the gifts it received and distributed. To build on this success, we look to you for your continued support as we work to help the local community with immediate needs.

“It’s been an honor for me to watch the Foundation grow over the past years. Our excellent stewardship has resulted in a score of 100% from Charity Navigator on the impact and results of our work in the Community. I am proud to be a part of such an impactful organization.”
    - Jason Allen, Bay Harbor Foundation Chairman

We have provided food for children compromised by hunger, shelter for the homeless, and medication and transportation to support children and families in crisis. This year our generous donors enabled us to support the Safe Families for Children Organization as they provided critical assistance to over fifty families to help them stay together while they worked through crisis situations, including illness and temporary homelessness. In addition to many other immediate needs, we also funded McLaren Northern Michigan cancer patients who desperately needed assistance to cover the cost of medicine and medical equipment.

We have also provided close to $700,000 to help young men and women working in the Bay Harbor Community achieve their dream of a college education. In addition to our undergraduate scholarships, we recently created a vocational scholarship program that provides young and seasoned employees an opportunity to obtain technical certifications that will give them a chance to improve their skills as well as their income. Scholarship recipients are profoundly grateful for the support we provide. We recently heard from one scholar who wrote:

“I am very grateful to have been awarded this scholarship, and to have grown up near and worked in a community like Bay Harbor that puts such a high value on education.”
- Emma Decker, Hope College 2023

We can’t stop now – as the Bay Harbor Foundation continues to grow, we have worked to ensure that not only have your donations made an impact, but they have been highly cost-effective. We have witnessed the results of your generosity, and we want to thank you for every donation over the past 20 years. We hope that you will help us continue our work in the Little Traverse Bay Community. With your support, we can make a difference in the lives of those in need in our region this year and for many more years to come.

Thank you,

Candace Fitzsimons
Executive Director

Our Mission

We are a charitable, nonprofit community organization dedicated to helping our neighbors through donations, grants, programs and professional mentoring. We operate with the highest level of financial integrity and are trusted by both our donors and our recipient organizations.

The Mission of the Bay Harbor Foundation is always foremost in our hearts and minds as we work to improve the quality of life experience in the Little Traverse Bay Region  The Foundation continues to make a difference by strengthening our community one person at a time.  We work diligently to follow the needs of the community, and we take great care to make sure that we are meeting those needs.

 The Bay Harbor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  Our federal identification number is 37-1491024.


In 2003 a group of Bay Harbor property owners, business owners and employees who wanted to make Northern Michigan a better place, came together to address their desire to channel charitable efforts through what would become the Bay Harbor Foundation.

 In 2008, the we created the Bay Harbor Foundation Scholar Program. Since then, we have awarded 331 scholarships totaling more than $680,000. 

207 individual students have benefitted from these scholarships. 82% of our recipients were residents of Emmet and Charlevoix County, and most attended colleges and univestities within Michigan.

In total, the Bay Harbor Foundation has provided nearly $3,000,000 in grants and scholarships to help improve the quality of life for people in the Little Traverse Bay Community.

2023 Board of Directors
Jason Allen, Chairman
Mac Waldorf, Vice Chairman
Rod Phillips, Treasurer
Trish LaPorte, Secretary
 Kathy Abrash David V. Johnson Judy Phillips
Debra Goodman  Scot Morrison James T. Ramer  
 Michael Higgins    Craig Stolzenfels

Bay Harbor Foundation Staff

Candace Fitzimons, Executive Director
Christy Schneider, Administrative Assistant


Our Board Members Share Why They Like Being a Part of the Bay Harbor Foundation


"Being on the Board of the Foundation provides an opportunity to serve the community in which I spend my summer months. Bay Harbor isn’t my primary residence, but I still feel it’s important to support a diverse range of organizations that have a high impact lifting up the Northern Michigan Community."
Mac Waldorf, Vice Chairman


"As residents of Northern Michigan we have always wanted a vehicle to help where we could. The Bay Harbor Foundation has been that vehicle."
Rod Pillips, Treasurer


"It’s so important to give back in Northern Michigan. Working with the Scholar Program has been wonderful, because we are making such a difference for kids working in our Bay Harbor community. I’m excited that we are expanding our scholarship awards and that we’re moving into providing new vocational scholarships. This will also make a difference in the quality of life for people working in the Bay Harbor Community."
Kathy Abrash


"I’ve always enjoyed serving the community, and especially in Northern Michigan there is such a need to give back."
Debi Goodman


"We’re a hands on group dealing on a basic level to help the local community. We’re all involved, all struggling to make a difference. We’re a small organization, with a small Board that is down in the weeds doing the work, and I’m proud of the work we are doing."
Jim Ramer