The GHACF has had the distinct honor and privilege of partnering with community over the past 50 years to positively impact lives. In celebration of our anniversary, we are taking look back at what we as a community have accomplished and we are imagining what we can do together over the next 50 years.

Recently, I had a moment to reflect on the foundation’s first four grant recipients and how they have evolved since 1971. The Grand Haven Salvation Army, Greater Ottawa County United Way, Tri-Cities Family YMCA, and the Tri-Cities Historical Museum were among our inaugural grant recipients. Each received a $200 grant.

We spoke with each organization to learn how the foundation’s support has impacted them and their ability to serve the community.

Q: How does it feel to be one of the first grant recipients recognized in 1971?

A: Greg Coil, CEO, Tri-Cities Family YMCA: “The Tri-Cities Family YMCA is honored to be one of the first organizations to receive the foundation’s support 50 years ago. It helped lay the foundation for the Y to provide health, wellness, and child development programs to our community.”

Q: What impact did the funding have on your organization?

A: Julie Bunke, executive director, Tri-Cities Historical Museum: “Without those initial funds, the Tri-Cities Historical Museum would not have been able to move into the train depot at 1 North Harbor Drive so many years ago, which functioned as our loving home for more than 45 years. In that time, we were able to preserve and appreciate our local history with the thousands of people who have visited.”

Q: What types of programs were you able to develop because of the foundation’s support?

A: Patrick Moran, president, Greater Ottawa County United Way: “We’ve been fortunate enough to create programs like Ottawa Housing Next, Community SPOKE, Community Assessment and a community coalition in response to the COVID-19 crisis to ensure everyone has a place to call home.”

Q: How many lives have you impacted because of your work with the foundation?

A: Majors Heather and William Holman, Grand Haven Salvation Army: “As a proud recipient of funding, we have been able to impact the lives of thousands of community members with emergency and transitional shelter, food, utility, rental assistance and so much more. We look forward to a continued partnership with the foundation.”

Q: How has the foundation supported your organization since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic?

A: Greg Coil, CEO, Tri-Cities Family YMCA: “The foundation has continued to serve as a trusted partner, helping provide us the support needed by the community. We have been able to offer quality, affordable childcare to frontline staff and host community food and blood drives—none of which would have been possible without the generous support of the community foundation.”

Our community is stronger because of these four organizations. We thank you all for the generous support of the community foundation, our donors and our supporters over the past 50 years.


Learn more about our 50th Anniversary Celebration at

Watch the video featuring our first four grant recipients: