Caring for Our Neighbors and Our Community        

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Dear Friends of the Bay Harbor Foundation,

We are proud to say that the Bay Harbor Foundation has been awarded a score of 96% from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most reliable charity rating organization. Our Executive Director has been volunteering full time and staff has volunteered additional time each week, and we work every day to lower our costs so that our donors can give to the Foundation with confidence, knowing that their generous contributions will be used to make a real and lasting difference.

Families in the Little Traverse Bay Region continue to struggle to make ends meet. The increasingly high costs of food and other basic necessities means that families that were once able to put food on the table are now relying on food pantries to get by. Meanwhile, those same food pantries are struggling to meet the increased demand after three years of high needs. To help ensure that no family has to go hungry in the Little Traverse Bay Community, we are continuing to seek funding to support people compromised by hunger.

In addition to the high cost of food, high fuel prices have meant that for patients in rural areas of Emmet and Charlevoix Counties who require regular treatment for cancer or diabetes are struggling to afford the cost of fuel. Some patients have even had to skip treatments because they didn’t have enough money to cover the cost of fuel. In response, the Bay Harbor Foundation has provided support to the patient assistance funds at our local hospital so that cancer patients can receive the treatment they need.

These and other efforts are meeting immediate needs, and we are also supporting the future of the Little Traverse Bay Community through our undergraduate and vocational scholar programs. These scholarships are available to the children and grandchildren of Bay Harbor employees, as well as the employees themselves. In addition to helping the scholarship recipients themselves, we are also helping Bay Harbor employers find and retain valuable employees by offering these workers and their families the opportunity to earn a college degree, or obtain technical certifications, that will benefit them and improve their quality of life.

Our work succeeds because the generous support of donors like you allows us to serve our community. Please help us continue our work by making a donation to the Bay Harbor Foundation, so that together we can continue to care for our neighbors in the Little Traverse Bay Community.


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