Manistee County Community Foundation receives $15M estate gift

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Manistee County Community Foundation (MCCF) has received a $15 million estate gift from Forest R. Minger, Jr. The landmark gift created two new endowment funds which will greatly benefit the community for years to come.

The Minger Family Endowment Scholarship Fund was established with $2M of the estate gift and will provide scholarships for Manistee County students to attend colleges and universities. Minger had previously established the Manistee County Scholarship Fund at the Foundation during his lifetime, the assets of which have now been added to this new permanent fund.

The donor also directed $13 million to a second endowment, the Minger Family Endowment Fund, to help maintain and improve existing recreational programs and facilities within Manistee County. The fund may also provide support for new programs, facilities and equipment.

The MCCF Board of Directors is in the process of completing a new strategic plan and developing grantmaking strategies to ensure the two new funds will achieve maximum impact for the community. It is anticipated that details related to the grant application guidelines will be announced in early 2018.

Forest R. Minger, Jr.’s lifelong love for the Manistee area began when he first visited the community as a youth with his family. Even when working as a chemist for Dow Chemical, the Midland, Michigan, native was determined to spend every possible minute of his free time fishing and hunting in Manistee County. Minger had previously shared that he had received much joy from his time spent recreating in the area and wanted to give back. He also believed that, while Manistee County has a wealth of natural resources, his gift could provide opportunities that may not otherwise be available in a small community. He felt that he could maximize his impact by leaving his gift to the Manistee County Community Foundation.

“We are deeply grateful to Mr. Minger for his remarkable act of philanthropy and excited about the profound impact that his gift will surely have on Manistee County’s future,” said Laura Heintzelman, President & CEO of the MCCF. “This is a transformational gift for the foundation and our community.”

Community foundations have a long and rich history of receiving and administering permanent funds in support of their communities.

Rob Collier, president and CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations shared, “This incredible gift is a perfect example of why community foundations exist. Without the foresight of the founding board and the leadership that has carried the Manistee County Community Foundation forward over the past 30 years, this may have been a missed opportunity for Manistee County. We congratulate the Foundation and the community on this momentous gift and look forward to following its impact.”

The MCCF will continue to develop its planned giving program during 2017 to help mark its 30th Anniversary.

“We are deeply honored that Mr. Minger entrusted the Foundation with carrying forward his legacy,” offered Brad Hopwood, chairman of the MCCF Board of Directors. “It is our hope that others who care about Manistee County will also consider leaving a gift to the Foundation through their will or estate to help ensure a vibrant community for future generations.”

While this gift dramatically increases the MCCF’s ability to support the pursuit of postsecondary education and provide recreational opportunities, gaps remain in its ability to respond to a broader array of community needs.
The Foundation remains focused on continuing to grow its endowment to provide resources for all areas of life in Manistee County for years to come.