KCF endowment grants $300K during past year

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Jim Vivian, executive director of the Keweenaw Community Foundation, gives an update on KCF activities at its Keweenaw Gold fundraiser dinner Wednesday night.

HOUGHTON — The Keweenaw Community Foundation broke the $8 million mark in funds this year, up about $1.5 million from when Jim Vivian started as executive director, he said at Wednesday’s Keweenaw Community Foundation dinner.

The KCF has more than 80 funds covering a broad range of interest. Last year, it provided more than $300,000 in grants supporting 62 organizations.

The foundation’s Youth Advisory Council has shared more than $27,000 on projects, improving the quality of life for youth in the community, Vivian said.

Nine funds were launched this past year, including the Jack Eberhart Memorial Scholarship for high school students in Houghton and Hancock, and the Old Copper Complex for a group interesting in copper-dating artifacts, which indicate this area might be one of the earliest places in the world where human-made tools were used.

One of the biggest changes this year came with the combination of several Portage Health Foundation funds into the Community Wellness and Outdoor Recreational Fund, Vivian said.

Last year the fund granted more than $51,000 for projects in Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties.

There will be another round of request for proposals for the grant, which will be announced May 25 at the Experience the Keweenaw event.

The KCF is also launching an energy initiative, which will have three components:

•Literacy initiative, which will include a summit in August.

•Efficiency component, where it will work with local non-profits to make their facilities more energy efficient.

•Renewable energy project, which is intended to provide affordable hardware to local residents.

“With that, hopefully, we’ll have a buy-a-panel program, where we can offer solar panels that our community can help purchase for our not-for-profits,” he said.

Small panels served as centerpieces for the tables Wednesday night.

KCF and New Power Tour will have information on their websites about the energy efficiency program and how to sign up for it.