New Foundation to Support Youth Development
in Marquette and Alger Counties
A new foundation aimed at strengthening efforts to care for youth and sustaining youth development activities in Marquette and Alger counties has been officially launched.
The Marquette-Alger Youth Foundation (MAYF) in Marquette, Michigan, established with a $5.4 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), is a charitable and educational organization designed to carry out youth-related programs and make youth-related grants that further the purposes of seven partnering community organizations. It assumes ownership of the Kellogg Youth Initiative Partnerships (KYIP) and builds upon the successful program, which for the past 12 years was operated by the WKKF and has now been transitioned into the community.
The Kellogg Foundation will remain involved as a partnering organization. Other MAYF partners include the Alger Regional Community Foundation, Marquette Community Foundation, Marquette-Alger Intermediate School District, Marquette General Health System, Northern Michigan University, and the United Way of Marquette County. Each of these member organizations will be represented on MAYF’s board of directors and their involvement is expected to strengthen collaboration around community and youth development.
“During the past 10 years, the Kellogg Foundation has worked with many excellent organizations in Marquette and Alger counties,” said Judy Watson Olson, a former KYIP regional director for WKKF who is now president and chief executive officer of MAYF. “One of the reasons for setting up this new entity is to foster cooperation and collaboration among these fine organizations. It will provide more direct community involvement and governance of activities carried out under the Kellogg Youth Initiative Partnerships. Most importantly, we believe it will strengthen the community’s already strong commitment to providing for the needs of youth.”
Tyrone Baines, a WKKF program director, said that transitioning the program into the community will allow it to be sustained for years to come.
“That was always our intention,” Baines said. “Partnering and community decision-making are at the core of what our efforts have been about for the past twelve years. We expect this work to be a lasting force in the community, so it makes sense for the community to climb into the driver’s seat while the Kellogg Foundation continues to provide support.”
Member organizations have helped to select MAYF’s 11-member board of directors, which includes two youths.
“We’re excited to be part of this effort and to have greater community involvement in the administration and operation of the region’s youth programs,” said June Schaefer, superintendent of the Marquette-Alger Intermediate School District who will serve as MAYF’s board chair. “One advantage to having the program operated by the community will be that the community will have a greater say in how grant money is used, and local people will be more involved in the decisions and governance of the organization. This can only mean good things for Marquette and Alger counties.”
MAYF will engage in a range of program activities to promote youth development and strengthen the youth environment. These activities include
Grantmaking to other nonprofit organizations;
Planning, data gathering, assessment, and marketing for community youth development and policy reform efforts;
Capacity building and technical assistance to strengthen core sectors such as schools, agencies, youth development organizations, and faith-based organizations.
Coordination and partnership building;
Leadership development; and
Educational opportunities for youth and adults.
Key strategies for this work include
Increasing the number and quality of positive activities for youth during non-school hours;
Strengthening schools and other institutions that help youth develop positively; and
Building the capacity of adults in families and communities to support the health development of youth.
A major emphasis is being placed on reaching and involving unconnected youth and their families in positive opportunities for growth and healthy development.
Despite the operational changes, the Kellogg Foundation remains committed to supporting the principles and activities of the Kellogg Youth Initiative Partnerships, according to Baines.
The Marquette-Alger Youth Foundation will be located in the offices previously occupied by KYIP at 307 South Front Street in Marquette and at 114 West Superior Street in Munising.
For more information:
Judy Watson Olson