Played their cards right: Copper Shores celebrates 10 years

Copper Shores celebrates 10 years

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Attendees converse at the Copper Shores Community Health Foundation’s 10th anniversary gala Saturday.

HOUGHTON — With black tie and roulette wheels, the Copper Shores Community Health Foundation celebrated 10 years with a James Bond-themed gala event at the Rozsa Center Saturday.

While the foundation began 34 years ago as a supporting foundation for the Portage Hospital, it became a conversion foundation 10 ½ years ago when the hospital was sold to a for-profit company.

Executive Director Kevin Store had originally planned to stay with the hospital. After talking with hospital CEO Jim Bogan about the potential it had for the community, he decided to stay on.

The average time to get a foundation going from inception to issuing grants is about 31 months, Store said. Thanks in part to an aggressive 120-day rollout, they were able to do it in just 10.

“We recognized that every grant opportunity was just that — it was an opportunity to do good in our community, and keep us focused on things of importance: access to care, education and training, recreation,” he said. “Pretty much anything that was helping to move our community in the right direction. We made a lot of assumptions, and we took a lot of chances.”

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Copper Shores Community Health Foundation Executive Director Kevin Store talks about the history of the foundation at its 10th-anniversary gala Saturday.

There was the $2.5 million Make a Difference partnership with Michigan Technological University towards their health occupations research and investment, which helped position them for the recently constructed H-STEM building, Store said.

In recent years, the foundation began its Giving Tuesday campaign, which has raised around $2.8 million for local non-profits. It also helped fund and launch the career and technical education at the Copper Country Intermediate School District.

The foundation’s work after the Father’s Day Flood helped grow the foundation’s profile, Store said. Copper Shores funded about $2.2 million in home restoration repair for more than 420 homes.

“We believe that the big issues like the flood helped put us on the map,” he said. “A lot of people knew about the foundation, but they didn’t really know what our motivation was. This gave some clarity and affirmation of our intentions to serve the community in the best way we possibly could — with integrity, hard work and transparency.”

Between grants, scholarships and wages and benefits, the foundation has invested $28 million in the community in the past 10 years, Store said. The 76% of the budget spent on grants and scholarships is also substantially higher than the 51% average.

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Guests play a hand of poker at the James Bond-themed 10th-anniversary gala for the Copper Shores Community Health Foundation at the Rozsa Center Saturday. The gala included games, whiskey tasting, and Bond-inspired hors d’oeuvres.

Before leading the group in a champagne toast, Store also previewed new initiatives coming to the foundation. Copper Shores is considering a wellness campus or some other kind of wellness facility, though construction costs and other factors are complicating the project, Shore said.

The foundation will be providing support for Michigan Tech’s nursing program, which it launched last fall. Copper Shores will also partner with Great Lakes Recovery to expand its women’s residential support in Negaunee.

The departments of Copper Shores also gave presentations on activities, such as the Meals on Wheels and Farm to School programs.

As the speakers gave updates, guests and employees mingled, playing casino games or sampling Bond-inspired hors d’oeuvres.

Guests were also invited to talk with the employees about their roles and why they do what they do.

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Brian Rendel, community counseling and wellness director for Copper Shores Community Health Foundation, discusses its mental health support programs during Copper Shores’ 10th-anniversary gala.

Loraine Hanover was hired by Copper Shores last July as a sexual assault nurse examiner, working with the victim advocacy group. She works on call with victims who need an exam to ensure they get necessary services and that they’re healthy.

Hanover, who returned to the Copper Country 40 years after moving away, was impressed by the breadth of what Copper Shores has done for the area.

“They’re bringing in a lot of education and a lot of services,” she said. “I think it’s just really wonderful for the community together. We’re in a rural area, so it’s impressive that there is so much here that wasn’t when I was a little girl.”


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